UTM - Apologise for the banned CNY exhibition and  lift all restrictions inhibiting free and responsible student activism

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The Star  reported today that the Universiti Technologi Malaysia (UTM) authorities are to meet students tomorrow to clear the controversy over the cancelled Chinese New Year exhibition which was supposed to be held at its campus two weeks ago.

An UTM spokesman said the university was not against the holding of the exhibition but felt it would be more appropriate to hold it in June to coincide with an event where all races could participate.

It is most ridiculous for the UTM authorities to suggest the holding of a Chinese New Year function in June some five months later. It is like suggesting that a Christmas celebration be held in the month of April or August!  Why donít they suggest that the CNY exhibition be held next year?

The UTM should admit its mistake and make a straightforward apology to the student organisers as well as giving an undertaking of full support for all cultural programmes and activities by the students in the future.

In the event, the CNY exhibition which was initially scheduled for Feb. 13 and 14 at the UTM campus was held at the Southern College in Johore Bahru some 13 km away from UTM - which is a great shame to the UTM authorities.

The UTM authorities have a long record of high-handedness and insensitivity to  student activities for various cultural,  linguistic and  religious activities reflective of Malaysiaís rich diversity of cultures, languages and religions.

What the UTM authorities should do tomorrow is to announce a new policy of campus democracy and be the first local university to lift all  restrictions and regulations inhibiting free and responsible student activism as well as set up an effective mechanism whereby the mountain of student complaints against the university administration could be attended to immediately.

Alternatively, the UTM authorities should encourage the students to post their complaints against the administration on the internet and develop a mechanism to deal with them without any undue delay.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman