THE STAR, 18 Dec : A large group of university students took part in a march and handed over two memoranda to Suhakam and the Government, demanding, among others, the abolition of the controversial University and University Colleges Act (UUCA).
Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) chairman Ahmad Syukri Abdul Razab, who led the procession yesterday, said the students wanted to send a message to the Government that they would not put up with restrictions to academic freedom that had been “worsening of late”.
“Lecturers have even been restricted from voicing out academic views. This Act also restricts students from involving themselves in the country's democratic system,” he claimed, adding that around 500 students from all over the country had participated in the rally.
They marched from Suhakam's office at Jalan Sultan Ismail to the Umno headquarters at Menara Datuk Onn where they handed over the second memorandum to Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah at about 4pm.
Police aided the movement by helping to direct traffic and clear the way for the march.
Ahmad Syukri praised the actions of the police, saying it showed Malaysians were mature enough to hold peaceful street demonstrations.
The students also lowered a flag bearing the Prime Minister's image at Menara Datuk Onn and raised the SMM flag during the afternoon protest.
Ahmad Syukri said the memoranda contained six demands, including abolishing the UUCA, Educational Institutions (Discipline) Act 1976 (Act 174) and Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996 (Act 555); allowing university students the freedom to speak out and manage campus elections, societies and activities; and to participate in politics.