Thursday, June 23, 2011

ulasan ahmad abdullah tentang mesej VC UiTM dan BERSIH 2.0

UiTM students, please heed this fatherly message — Ahmad Abdullah

June 23, 2011
JUNE 23 — This is the message that was given by the current vice-chancellor of UiTM on his Facebook page (Datuk Prof Ir Dr Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar) to the UiTM students in view of the planned Bersih 2.0 demonstration:
“Saya ingin beri nasihat kpd anak2 sekalian.JANGAN TERLIBAT DALAM SEBARANG PERHIMPUNAN. Anasir2 ingin merosakan negara kira. Ini negara kita. Ini Tanah persekutuan Tanah Melayu. Mereka hendakan negara kita hancur supaya Melayu hancur. Jangan cepat pengaruh dgn org manis mulut utk merosak org Melayu. Perhimpunan yg dirancangkan akan membawa hancuran negara Tanah Melayu. JANGAN MELAYU LAWAN MELAYU. Awas anak sekalian.”
Firstly, “jangan terlibat dalam sebarang perhimpunan”. The message here is that the students should avoid any public demonstrations. Not only that this message seeks to severely stunt the democratic spirit of the students, this message has also directly or indirectly ignored the objectives of the planned Bersih 2.0 demonstration. For those who have not read the objectives or are incapable of comprehension, these are the objectives of the said demonstration:
1. clean the electoral roll (because there are A LOT of dubious names registered on the electoral roll, giving rise to the wonderful and uniquely Malaysian phenomenon of “phantom voters”)
2. reform the postal ballot (because the use of postal ballots is fraught with transparency issues in which any superior officer could simply order his subordinates to vote for one particular party)
3. use of indelible ink (to safeguard the electoral process from “phantom voters”, and something that had actually been planned by the government in the 2008 elections but discarded at the 11th hour)
4. minimum 21 days campaign period (to give a fair chance to every candidate , and that the opportunity to canvass and campaign for votes should be fairly shared by ALL candidates)
5. free and fair access to the media (that RTM should not be used as a tool by the BN candidates, since it is paid by taxpayers, regardless of political affiliations)
6. strengthen public institutions (there have been MANY PROVEN reports of the sorry state of our public institutions, such as the police force, the prosecution department being used as tools by the ruling elite)
7. stop corruption (is there any sane person here who still believe that corruption is not a serious problem in Malaysia, or that the MACC has done a damned good job????)
8. stop dirty politics (from gerrymandering, to the import of phantom voters, to the intimidation and violence perpetrated on candidates of the opposition, can we hold our heads high and believe that the system is clean? Ironically, this country proclaims Islam as its religion)
So, there you go, those are the demands in the Bersih demonstration. Now, only an idiot would take issue with any of these demands. Question, is the current vice-chancellor of UiTM an idiot? I thought as a professor (assuming that he had obtained his professorship bona fide as opposed to the custom of ampu/bodek in the local varsities) , he would have acknowledged the nature and entitlements in the democratic process. That it is not enough to simply just go out and vote. That the citizens’ right to participate in the affairs of the country does not stop after exercising their right to vote.
Since most of the students are registered or potential voters, why must their right to participate in the democratic process be stunted? Or does the V-C paternalistically think that political activities would be too taxing on the students, and therefore it is better for them to be involved in lightweight activities such as sports and singing? 
If so, then the V-C would not be the only one to make such an erroneous assumption, especially after one notices that the activities during the One Million Youth Gathering in Putrajaya recently were of the same mould. The V-C needs to be informed that not all students in UiTM would enjoy attending the SimpliSiti concert (scheduled at UiTM Shah Alam on July 9) since there are students who enjoy different interests such as national politics.
Secondly, “Anasir2 ingin merosakan negara kira”. On the nature of public demonstrations, even UiTM has had its share of it when on August 12, 2008 a massive crowd of UiTM Shah Alam students marched to the Selangor State SUK building to protest against the mentri besar. 
Yet, until today no action has been taken against any one of the protesters. Funnily enough, someone had inquired on the V-C’s Facebook whether the students would be allowed to participate in the demonstration if it is about defending UiTM from opening its door to the non-Bumiputeras. 
Up to the time of this writing, it went unanswered and unacknowledged. Since the current V-C is probably trying to show that he is as Malay or probably even more Malay than the previous disastrous V-C, one must remind him of the massive demonstration that the Malays had in protesting against the Malay Sultans’ agreement to the creation of the Malayan Union in the 1940s, thus proving that demonstrations have been used by the Malays to demand for the good things in life.
Thirdly, “Ini Tanah persekutuan Tanah Melayu”. This was followed later with “...membawa hancuran negara Tanah Melayu”. Maybe the V-C is too caught up or probably is enamoured by the wisdom/reputation of the learned Perkasa self-proclaimed historian, Prof Dr Ramlah Adam, who, having left University Malaya and the Mara College in Malacca, has been taken in as a professor in UiTM. 
But that is certainly not an excuse to feign ignorance that the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu does not exist any longer. Any primary school student would be able to tell him that we are now in Persekutuan Malaysia. Or is this subconsciously a message that the peninsula only views Sabah and Sarawak as “tanah jajahan” (colonies)? 
When one of his Facebook fan club members admonished him to use “Malaysia” instead of “Tanah Melayu”, the V-C replied “dont worry. I dont mean that way. Its just for the present issue only. Dont be sensitive. Im for all”. 
With due respect, the issue concerning elections tainted with irregularities is not only relevant for the peninsula. In fact, the elections that had been carried out in Sabah and Sarawak were also tainted with irregularities, the famous one being the High Court judge in an election petition case in Sabah who complained that he had been ordered to decide in a specific way by his superiors. 
Of course, having just seen the unbelievable abuses of power during the recent state election in Sarawak recently, a reasonable person would have concluded that it is also a problem in Sarawak.
Fourthly, “JANGAN MELAYU LAWAN MELAYU”. Does this mean that all Malays are duty bound to just accept and follow blindly any directives/policies made by their (Malay) leaders? Clearly, this is premised upon the presumption that the Malay leaders are perfect, hence to go against them would be treasonous behaviour. 
I would have thought that this feudal mindset has no place in this modern and democratic world in which the leaders must always be answerable to the people whom they lead. It is strange that in the midst of plans and policies to train local university students to become better than what they are now, you have a V-C who insists that the students must not fight for social change. It is even stranger that it had been just a few weeks ago that the deputy minister for higher education had commented that local university students are deficient in critical thinking. 
Probably the V-C is just trying to curry favour with the minister, whose views on students activism is at odds with his own deputy’s. But trying to protect your own position as a V-C at the expense of the development of the students, or to rephrase, using the students as a tool to maintain a grip on the V-C’s seat, is definitely an unethical and immoral thing to do, even haram for Muslims.  
Furthermore, it is unworthy for a vice-chancellor to pander to the politicians by perpetuating this siege mentality of “us” against “them” and trying to inculcate this retarded mentality among the students. It is and should be clear to all that there are some among the Malays themselves who are guilty of using the rhetoric of race in order to protect their own interest.
The V-C himself should be aware of countless examples in academia in which some Malay academicians, out of fear and envy, have striven to sabotage and cause the downfall of other Malay academicians. He himself has been accused of such things when he replaced the old V-C, Tan Sri Prof Dr Ibrahim Abu Shah.
I would advise the present V-C, Datuk Prof Ir Dr Sahol Hamid, to watch a snippet of the debate between Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah and Tan Sri Prof Dr Ibrahim Abu Shah on the issue of whether university students should be allowed to take part in politics, which is easily obtained on Youtube.
This is important so as not to subject the UiTM community through another national humiliation regarding the quality (or lack thereof) of its top person.
* Ahmad bin Abdullah reads The Malaysian Insider.

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