Abdullah should intervene and stop University of Malaya from taking disciplinary action against students who took part in a "constructive engagement" and handed him  memoranda last week

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): Last Friday, 8th October 1999, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi won kudos when he walked up to student protestors after his speech at  the University of Malaya on its 50th anniversary celebrations, accepted two memoranda from student leaders and promised to look into their demands.

Abdullah promised that he would read the memoranda and would invite student representatives to meet him for discussions. He told reporters that  his encounter with the students was a "constructive engagement" and that  it was  "all right" for students to approach him in that manner to present their views.

I do not know whether Abdullah has read the two student memoranda or invited student representatives to meet him for discussions, but I would urge him to keep alive his "constructive engagement" with university students.

Instead of helping the Deputy Prime Minister in his "constructive engagement" initiative, the  University of Malaya Senate has instituted disciplinary proceedings against students who took part in the "constructive engagement" with the Deputy Prime Minister last week.

A Malaysian National Council of Students representative, Stephen Doss, for instance, has been summoned to appear before the University of Malaya Senate on Thursday, 21st October 1999  on multiple charges of breach of university student disciplinary regulations - including the handing over of memoranda to the Deputy Prime Minister.

It makes utter nonsense of Abdullah’s new opening of "constructive engagement" with university  students, his assurance that the students’ conduct in approaching him last week to present their views was "all right" and that he would even invite student representatives to meet him for discussions when these students are subsequently hauled before the University of Malaya Senate for punishment for breach of  student discipline for the very same action.

I call on Abdullah not to allow the ember of  his "constructive engagement" with university students to die out so quickly and he should personally  intervene to stop the  University of Malaya Senate from instituting  disciplinary actions against student protestors during his visit to University of Malaya last week.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong