Students Fighting for Their Rights in Malaysia

by S. Kjær

The Malaysian coalition government Barisan Nasional (BN) is struggling with the nation’s somewhat 40-year-old law, prohibiting students to participate in political parties. Some weeks ago the government tried to comply with the student’s wishes concerning their rights to join in political parties and similar organizations.

The law enacted in 1971 explicitly says that students are prohibited from expressing sympathy, support or opposition to any political party. Malaysia achieved independence from the British Empire in 1957.

Incidents have been documented where Universities have fined and expelled students for having performed political activities. Most students don’t seem to be interested in politics because of risk of getting expelled.

The students aren’t satisfied with the government’s attempt to loosen the grip on the students. By this new amendment it will still be illegal for students who hold political posts to perform political activities on campus. The Universities will also be able to prevent students from joining “unsuitable” organizations. Statistics show that students getting fined or similarly punished are those who obtain the same beliefs as the governmental opposition.

Photo by inseltoffy

Photo source: flickr