Higher Education Ministry does not control activities in universities

03 Apr 2023 03:31pm
Mohamed Khaled (third from right) during his work visit to USM on Monday.
Mohamed Khaled (third from right) during his work visit to USM on Monday.

GEORGETOWN - The Higher Education Ministry will not control activities in universities, including allowing political activities on campus.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the ministry does not intend to use educational policing to control every matter and activity carried out by a university in this country.

However, he said the establishment of a political branch in the university is not allowed at all.

"It has been emphasised that the ministry is not interested in educational policing. It needs to be understood that the ministry doesn't want to control the university's activities, including allowing political activities.

"I am not the police to guard the university. However, the establishment of a political branch in a university is not allowed," he said after a working visit at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) today.

He said all political parties can enter the university, but they must comply with the guidelines set by the university.

"Political parties can enter (the university) with the university's approval. Just don't set up a branch. Perhaps he wanted to enter the university grounds to attend a ceremony or because a minister was present, then that's allowed.

"You can hold a programme but get approval. If you want to enter someone's house, you surely have to ask the host's permission. Follow the guidelines set by the university," he said.

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Khaled said his ministry allows political activities in universities in an effort to produce strong-minded graduates.

"You can enter, but don't set up a political party branch because the ministry wants students to graduate and become knowledgeable, but we also want them to be strong-minded.

"We don't want the students to be obsessed with a single ideology from the beginning. We want to develop a scholarly university.

"For instance, if the society outside is toxic, so we depend on universities to correct it," he said.

Previously, the ministry said it did not prevent any political party, including politicians, from organising programmes at public universities.

Khaled, however, said the matter is subject to the university's approval.

His comments were in response to Ikatan Demokratik Malaysia (Muda) president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who was denied entry to attend the #JelajahMansuhAUKU dialogue session at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

In the meantime, Khaled urged USM to review the Accelerated Programme for Excellence (APEX) agenda to continue becoming a pioneer university in achieving excellence.

USM is the first APEX university in Malaysia, and this year is its 15th year as an APEX university.