Malaysian Digest: Why Students Should Not Be Allowed to Join Politics
by Haider Yutim
Thursday, 24 March 2011 09:35
Quite a number of students are involved in politics nowadays even with the implementation of University & University College Act 1971 (AUKU). Some are even members of political parties. This topic has been much debated for some time now and there are different views and thoughts on whether students should be allowed to take part in politics.
Some strongly believe in the idea of allowing the students to be involved and others totally reject it. The implementation AUKU also prohibits students from participating or expressing sympathy or support for any political parties and disallowing them from entering politics. There are quite a number of students who have been charged under the AUKU and there have been calls to amend the Act especially by the Opposition.
A Student’s Job Is to Study
According to Malaysian Umno Youth Exco Member and Chairman of the Umno Youth New Media Unit (UMB), Tun Faisal, students shouldn’t be involved in political parties because the core purpose for a student is to study. He says the priority of every student is to get good grades and equipping themselves with the skills and knowledge they need from their universities. Additionally, students must also gain as much exposure as possible, especially on foreign countries and culture, to help them to use the experience to serve the country better once they join the workforce, or politics for that matter.
According to Tun Faisal, it is best for students to not be involved in political parties. However, there is nothing wrong with being interested in and wanting to understand more about politics as, for youths, it is important to gain knowledge and have aspirations.
As for policies, they have to listen to both sides of the arguments to see the bigger picture. Also, as students, every cause and aspirations that they fight for should be that of their fellow students and not of political parties. But what is most important of all is for one to have an own view and not be easily swayed by political parties’ propagandas. No matter which side you’re on, don’t be pawns. Ideally, the struggle should be for clean politics. Other than that, learning about other aspects of politics like new politics, political engagements, politics of teamwork and politics of compromise would also be useful particularly for those who are dead serious about getting into it once they’re out of school.
Tun Faisal says, so far, he has never heard of any parents who wishes for their children to be involved in politics as they all want their children to focus on their studies.
“Even if I was to be their parent, I won’t allow them to be involved in political parties. For me, they should learn and expose themselves… they can go overseas and get involved with PBB or Unesco activities as long as they get global experience and as long they can enhance their character and their own self, that is a good thing,” said Tun Faisal.
He added that students can also go back to their hometowns and experience the hardships of the folks there or even the struggle of those poor urban people for this would get them in touch with reality. This is way better than getting involved in political parties and being their pawns.
When it comes to mentality and intellectuality, Tun Faisal is fond of the idea of shaping students to become more open-minded yet, at the same time, critical thinkers. For example, he says it would not be a problem for someone to express their views in Biro Tata Negara (BTN) course. He said he has been to BTN courses and often the participants would inquire about things relating to their dissatisfaction with certain government policies. However, after their questions are answered, they would accept the explanation since they are able to make a better rationalization after having knowledge the bigger picture.
“That is why I say listen to both sides, and not just one side. I support the (Umno) Youth chief in that students be given the chance to express their political views. It’s just that, in my personal opinion, students should not be involved in political parties,” said Tun Faisal.
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