It now appears that Prof Abdul Aziz Bari’s case can be more explosive than the authorities could handle. University students have reawakened to what I believe are the ‘malice’s’ of the authorities that had all the while kept students remote from the happenings and realities of the outside world. Student’s don’t seem to have a voice, nor are the authorities willing to offer a sympathetic ear. Any actions taken by students are deemed a violation of the rules governing student’s code of conduct and behavior. Opposing voices are not welcomed and if there is anything that need to be said, it must be something soothing to the ears of the authorities. Such inhibition not only applies to students, but it would seem to include the academic staff as well as seen in the recent ‘Prof Abdul Aziz Bari saga’.
It is such a pity that university students today are cocooned in their own little kingdom by such inhibitive rules and regulations pertaining to their code of conduct and behavior. Strange though it may seem, our authorities have yet to recognized that university students are no longer kids; rather they are matured adults with enough capacity to think, rationalized and act in their best interest, and in the interest of their fellow students, universities and colleges. And why is it so wrong that they be forbidden to participate in political rallies or even be a member of a political party and to make their voices heard? Do we not recognized that the development of one’s interest and inclination towards politics (or any other interests) should begin early in their life, and by the time they graduate, they are fully prepared to be actively involved in politics or other activities of their interest.
The action taken by students from various universities to rally and protest against the suspension of Prof Abdul Aziz Bari over a professional opinion he made concerning the Selangor Sultan’s statement on the DUMC affair is to me a healthy start to the student’s right to the freedom of expression and assembly. There wasn’t any stone throwing, burning and damaging public property or causing bodily hurt and injuries. Although there were police helicopters flying overhead during the rally, there wasn’t any tear gas or chemical laced water cannons being sprayed at the students. I think, had there been tear gas or water cannon, the situation could turn ugly. Please remember that we are dealing with the youth who are highly inspired, motivated and believe in their cause. They are bound to retaliate riotously when they are intimidated, challenged and abused, like what was seen during the Bersih 2.0rally. Such were the incidences witnessed in most student/youth rallies throughout the world. And having viewed the mass UIA student's rally on video, I have no doubt that the students would have reacted riotously if the police had acted against them.
Youth movements and assemblies today cannot be seen as having a negative impact on the country. Such a perception has to go. On the contrary, I view student’s rights to an assembly and protest as healthy and a sign of student’s maturity at collective expression, active participation, confrontational in purpose and principled in their cause. University students must end up being leaders of society, and not being mere followers. Such like leadership qualities can best be developed while being a university student.
As I have alluded earlier, the Prof Abdul Aziz Bari’s case can be more ‘explosive’ than the authorities could handle. Sure enough, the professor had received a package with a bullet and a life threatening letter from someone that I would call a coward and the scum of the earth. The student’s demands especially with regards to their freedom of expression including that of the academic staffs have yet to be met and if this isn’t done, students have said that a much larger rally will be held. Let’s hear aloud what the Higher Education Minister has got to say about this. Surprisingly, he has remained mute all the while.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION