Students Involved in Politics: The Sketch of Malaysia’s Future

Students’ involvement in politics has been in much debate as of recent times. In fact, many parties have also come forward to respond to these issues. Some of them see the importance of students to be involved in politics and some also see it as affecting students’ learning and the development of the country. However in my view, the involvement of students in politics at this time is very important due to a number of important factors as it involves the future of the country. Mature and holistic discussion of this issue is expected and should not be politicized by certain parties as it involves the national interest.

Firstly, I view student involvement in politics as the harmonization of the system of democracy as practiced in Malaysia. The democratic system in Malaysia is actually very helpful in the management and administration of the country. For example, the implementation of the election system for choosing leaders of the future. Democracy and freedom in terms of giving opinions, having a political party, and moving should not be questioned. In fact, every citizen who reaches the age of majority is allowed to cast ballots in the ballot box on polling day, which is also termed here as “day to politicize”. If you see the background of the students, majority of them are aged 21 years and above and are eligible to vote to support any political party. This is in accordance with Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which recognizes the freedom of speech to all people. Furthermore, this also coincides with the mature democratic principle. As such, in this case, where is the logic in blocking political participation by the students as when even to express support, sympathy and opposition is also banned, while at the same time they are allowed to develop at the time of the General Elections? So, what is the relevance of today's students learning the theory of democracy, freedom of speech, freedom to vote, responsibility to establish the nation and the likes if they are not allowed to adapt to it practically? Thus, I see no problem will exist if the government allows students’ involvement in politics as the system of democracy itself expects citizens of Malaysia to contribute and play a role in determining the future of the country, including students themselves. This democratic system should be practiced and deeply understood by all parties. Prohibition of students in politics seems to deny democracy and citizenship rights as a Malaysian in implementing the freedom to be in a political party.
There is no doubt that the term democracy itself should not be understood literally only, by allowing people to practice whatever they want without any restrictions. However, such restrictions should also be reasonable to be applied. Judge Dato’ Gopal Sri Ram, in his recent statement said that the restriction for the purpose of education should be only of the reasonable restriction. In this context, it is clear that sanctioning students to engage in politics itself is viewed as unreasonable because the sanctions imposed are politically aimed and for the interests of some political parties. Obviously, these restrictions are 'mala fide' in nature.

Secondly, students are the intellectuals and the main products of the country to produce an advanced, competitive and world class country. Students should be fully mobilised for the country’s interest. Blocking students from being involved in politics is detrimental to the country when these intellectual assets are not used to the fullest in determining the pattern and sketch of Malaysia’s future. I believe that these intellectual assets are able to give and contribute the advantage they have if the government allows them to be in politics. How unfair if only certain people are allowed to engage in politics, such as farmers, mechanics and “mat rempit”, while the students do not have the opportunity to participate in politics. As a citizen who is concerned about the future of Malaysia, I think this matter should be thought about more critically by the regulatory bodies.

In addition, I see students’ involvement in politics give many benefits and added values to the students themselves. This is because politics is a useful training ground for the students before they get off at the community platform and actively involved in the global arena. Involvement in politics means to build skills of self-esteem of a student. Balance in dividing time between studying and politics will give an advantage and a positive challenge to this group. Thus, if viewed in a broad and comprehensive scope, a student involved in politics is a student who is skilled, competent and courageous in facing challenges.

Teaching and learning of Political Science in universities is as if without any benefit to the development of the country if the government restricts and prohibits students from being involved in politics. Facts of the case that we see is that when Political Science students learn about politics and the country’s administrative system, but unfortunately, they are not allowed to participate in politics. The question that must be considered is the extent to which knowledge learned in class can be applied in their lives if the ban continues. This situation seems to be class-knowledge oriented which only emphasizes the theory without practicality.

Therefore, I expect the government especially the Ministry of Higher Education to reconsider all the prohibitions for students’ involvement in politics. Discussion and acceptance of opinions from all parties including the opinion of the student leaders should be taken into account. Some things that need to be taken into account by the government in this issue include reviewing the relevance of AUKU in Article 15 in monitoring the movement of students. This is because AUKU gives a big impact towards the students’ movement and development itself. AUKU causes students to be scared, rigid, not competitive and also not daring to voice out their opinions. A very clear example, AUKU causes students to be afraid to register as voters for the next general election. This reality will have a negative impact to the country in determining the top leadership in the future. In fact, according to Mohamad Suhaimi al-Maniri, the existence of AUKU also causes students to no longer be independent to fight for the concept of 'with the people' as pioneered by their colleagues before the act had taken effect. Students after the act are as though imprisoned at campuses with their own lives. I think it is not possible for the country to produce a world-class human capital if many of the students’ movements are bound, including prohibition of involvement in politics. Students’ involvement in politics does not mean opposing political leaders that we have today.

Muhammad Firwan Norliza
Students’ Representative Council 2009/2010
International Islamic University Malaysia

Majlis Perundingan Pelajar Kebangsaan (MPPK)

The main objective of the Majlis Perundingan Pelajar Kebangsaan (MPPK) is to discuss issues of national students. International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) was represented by four SRC excos, most notably Muhammad Firwan Norliza (President), Mohd Ayob Aklil (Vice President 1), Hidayatul Karimah Mahyuddin (Secretary General) and Muhammad Syazwan Suhaimi (Treasurer). Group 5 was lead by the President of the SRC IIUM proposed by the bro. Syahir (UM) and supported by the bro. Hadi (UMK).

Group 5 which included a total of 37 MPP nationwide and a proposed 14 recommendations agreed with the "Voice of Students at Level Delegation of the Parliament". Before the five present discussion paper, the President suggested that the SRC IIUM extended discussion for the time given by the management is very short while to discuss issues and proposals that involve national issue and requires discussion and debate as well. SRC IIUM president also urged the management to present the issues that were raised at the last MPPK and submit the proposals are still pending proposals that have been approved. In addition, SRC IIUM President asked that the previous proposals have been approved to be implemented properly. This is because, the average motion tabled by a group of up to four proposals that are quite similar and consequential (after getting feedback from former MPP 2008/2009). Among them is the issue of student cards and discounts to transport problems and issues of social and moral development in rural areas (Sabah and Sarawak).

There are also issues a very interesting debate. Among them are the discount airfares and issues of national defense. Group 5 and 6 also agree to proposed "Student representatives in Parliament" (group 6 suggest that the Senator used the term) in order to solve the problems arise. This is to ensure voice of the student's to be heard, recognized the role of students and student issues resolved in a way that student-oriented. Although this motion requires a deeply detailed, but it is a good beginning towards an independent student. Any suggestions, ideas or comments can be raised on this entry. Thank you from me.

Students’ Representative Council 2009/2010
International Islamic University Malaysia

Memorandum : Objection On Actions Affecting The Good Relations Between Malaysia-Indonesia

On Friday, 3rd September 2010 at Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, 233, Jalan Tun Razak, 50400, Kuala Lumpur, a representative from Students’ Representative Council 2009/2010 session, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM SRC 09/10) had handed down the memorandum regarding to the said title to the Ambassador of Republic Indonesia, Da'i Bachtiar. The content of the memorandum as follows:


Recently the issue of the Malaysia-Indonesia relations seems to be highlighted back, as if intending to open a long and bitter history between Malaysia and Indonesia. It began when about 600 people participated in the demonstration shouting, "ganyang Malaysia" to protest what they claimed invasion of the Malaysian authorities in the waters bordering the two countries, near Bintan, Riau Islands on August 13, 2010.

Since the August, 13 incident, a number of demonstrations organized by small groups have damaged the name plaques of the Embassy of Malaysia, climbed the gate and barrier gate, and then stood on it. The incident exacerbated when human waste was thrown into the Malaysian Embassy here by protesters from the group who named themselves as “Benteng Demokrasi Rakyat (Bendera).

However, Students’ Representative Council 2009/2010 session, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM SRC 09/10) views the issue from another angle, from a more rational perspective rather than the emotional side. Malaysia and Indonesia have a very long standing relationship. What more Malaysia and Indonesia are neighbors and under the umbrella of ASEAN. These two countries have established variety of understandings and agreements, since time immemorial. Another value that has to be seen is the brotherhood of Islam and the same Malay roots we share, which should be the strength for the two countries to remain united.

In International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) itself, students from Indonesia are a group that represents most international students. It cannot be denied that the relations between Malaysian students and students from Indonesia are in a good condition and it can be said that we cooperate well in various activities.

We, the SRC, representing the students of IIUM will try our best to control all forms of action and provocation from occurring in the Garden of Knowledge and Virtue IIUM, so that it does not worsen the relationship between the two countries.

We believe the incident was only created by certain people of Indonesia and there is possibility that it involves a third party who has tried to disturb the good relationship between Malaysia and Indonesia in the effort of mutually helping each other for the sake of the development of both countries.

However, we, IIUM SRC 09/10 urge for:

1) The Government of Indonesia to take immediate and firm action against any individual or group involved in ongoing efforts to worsen the differences between the two countries through either the physical or cyber attack. It is hoped that the Indonesian government is able to do a more thorough investigation to find out who exactly is behind this said problem.

2) Media in Indonesia and Malaysia should be more careful and transparent in dealing with issues regarding this problem and try to avoid any sensation. If it is not handled wisely, it is feared that it would lead to greater problems as well as being detrimental to both countries.

3) Both countries should resolve the problem by prioritizing the Islamic brotherhood and the fact that the people from Malaysia and Indonesia come from the same root. The approach of diplomacy and discussion should always be applied.

4) Malaysian students studying in Indonesia are guaranteed good security, and safeguarded from any interference which will interfere with their concentration on learning.

5) Students from Malaysia and Indonesia whom are taught the value of knowledge and professionalism will take a role in explaining these issues to the community and they should be together invited to voluntarily participate in finding solutions to this issue.


If we look back to what extent the relations that Malaysia and Indonesia have built over the years, we are not willing to let this good relationship to be affected. Therefore, we as the representatives of the students of International Islamic University Malaysia urge the Indonesian government to seriously address this issue and deal with them wisely before they become more serious. Hopefully this conflict will not be able to threaten the Malaysia-Indonesia relations, but it is ardently hoped that it can be the cause of closer relations in the future.

Here are some pictures taken during the delivery of the memorandum:

Kindly visits the President's blog, click here. Thank you.

Down to Earth : Mahallah Bilal

On 26 July 2010, SRC has organized Down To Earth where for this DTE session, it was held at Mahallah Bilal. The DTE started at 9.15pm. The purpose of this DTE is to collect survey and complaint about the facilities especially at Mahallah Bilal.

Majority of resident of this mahallah complaint regarding wireless service whereas some of them are not able to connect to the connection. This is not good for them especially when they need to use the internet for assignment or research purpose. There are some students requests for washing machine allocate at each block. Students also comment about students that do not care about the environment around the mahallah. The resident of the mahallah also comment about wild dogs around the mahallah. Security issues also arise by the students.

For cafeteria, some students complaint that there no variety of food especially international food and the price not reasonable. The residents of Mahallah Bilal has suggest the management to provide more parking lot for students and improve the facilities such as water cooler, washing machine, kiosk, cafeteria, badminton and basketball court and others. INSYAALLAH, further action will be taken by us.

Here are some pictures taken during the DTE : Mahallah Bilal.

Down to Earth : Mahallah Asiah

On 26 July 2010, Welfare Secretariat of Students’ Representative Council (SRC) 2009/2010 has organized Down to Earth (DTE) to Mahallah Asiah in collaboration with other secretariats of Students’ Representative Council (SRC) 2009/2010. This DTE session was the first DTE for academic year 2010/2011. First and foremost, the purpose of this session is to collect data regarding welfare issues at this mahallah by conducting a survey to every room in every block in Mahallah Asiah. By conducting this survey, we can see that there are many complaints and suggestions which need to be highlighted and to be taken into actions from the administration.

For instance:
1. Many students were dissatisfied with the price of foods which for them were expensive and unaffordable.2. Other than that, many students complaints about wireless connection which was so slow
3. Many students reported on problems regarding pre-registration (add and drop session)
4. A lot of complaints redarding inadequacy of bus services which cannot accommodate a large number of students.

Despite complaints, many students also make suggestions. They suggested:

1. The administration should provide rooftop along the walkway from Mahallah Asiah to other mahallahs which for them is necessary due to the weather.
2. Besides, they also suggested that the respective authority should offer more sections for students who were unable to add their subjects
3. The administration also should upgrade the wireless connection for the benefit each and every students here.

Here are some pictures taken during the DTE : Mahallah Asiah.

21st Century Undergraduates: Facing Challenges and the Current Reality

Undergraduates are the generation hoped to inherit the country’s leadership in the future. Undergraduates are considered to be those who are knowledgeable and suitable in facing current trials and tribulations. The 21st century needs undergraduates who are excellent in all aspects including academic and self-personality. Hedonism, identity crisis and clashes of thoughts are the challenges and current problems that needed to be faced by undergraduates of the 21st century. As such, preparation from the view point of academic excellence only is insufficient to give birth to quality and international undergraduates.

Idealism, activism, and intellectualism are the major key factors for undergraduates in realizing the government’s intention to give birth to first class graduates. These three elements are the pre-conditions to form 21st century undergraduates who are full of self-personality and importance to the country and society. In this modern era, intellectualism and the appreciation process of knowledge through idealism should be expanded in activities that can stimulate analytical and critical thinking to make way for new ideas which are more practical for the self and society’s betterment. Strength in thinking and intellect may be able to ward off attacks of thinking that can destroy the society.

In line with the government’s intention as lined in the core strategies of the 10th Malaysia Plan which is to grow and maintain a world class human capital, I view that the undergraduates are the main targets to achieve and realize this strategy. In this context, I am in the opinion that undergraduates should view this matter in a wider context, inclusive of all aspects in their lives during campus life. Undergraduates’ involvement in clubs, societies, and NGO’s is important to ensure undergraduates who are more open, active and competitive. Focus in academic learning per se will give birth to passive, rigid, fatigue-ridden and uncompetitive undergraduates. This matter should be manipulated as best as possible because campus life is the training ground useful in preparing undergraduates to face real challenges and to live in a community.

Other than that, I hope that the undergraduates of the 21st century are the undergraduates having the nature and mentality as a thinker for religious, country, race and ummah problems. If the history of movements and power of undergraduates in India and Indonesia were to be highlighted, it is seen how they were one of the factors contributing towards the development in their countries. As such, I view that the power in the undergraduates is actually big and can be maximized for the interest of religion, country and race.

Nevertheless, if viewed from the reality of undergraduates in Malaysia, I am a bit aggrieved and disappointed when undergraduates which are those that are being said as the intellects, involved in crimes and social problems. The involvement of undergraduates in crime and social problem is always being reported by the media. Every day this problem increases and I think that this situation is worrisome and a loss to the country. It is to be remembered that in passionately pursuing the mission to make universities and undergraduates of Malaysia as world class, we should not disregard these kinds of problems. There is no use in only being excellent academically but failing in other aspects. As such, a balance in all aspects is very much needed.

As undergraduates, I want to invite all undergraduates in Malaysia to be big hearted in facing challenges and the current reality. I think that it is time undergraduates should have idealism, and be brave and mature in all matters for creating and maintaining a world-class human capital because undergraduates are the agents to change religion, race and country’s future.

Muhammad Firwan Norliza
Students’ Representative Council 2009/2010
International Islamic University Malaysia