Jawapan Tepat UKM

4 July, 1999

Political debate not anti-govt, says university

PETALING JAYA -- A Malaysian university has denied claims that the political debate at its campus where Umno
Youth representatives were booed by the crowd was manipulated to incite hatred against the government.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs, Prof Datuk Dr Wan Hashim Wan
Teh, said the debate was just an academic exercise to allow students to debate intellectually.

"It was definitely not meant as an anti-government activity. We wanted to give our students the chance to debate and
hear our politicians debate in an academic environment," he said.

"It is better that students have this chance to express their views here via a debate than to go the streets and destroy

The debate, Students' Involvement In Politics, took place on June 15 at the university's campus in Bangi, with
representatives from Umno, the opposition Parti Islam, Parti Keadilan Nasional and a student group.

Umno Youth executive committee member, Mr Zein Isma Ismail, who took part in the debate, alleged that many
lecturers applauded when their representatives were jeered by the crowd.

He also accused the university of not doing its duty to ensure that students stay away from political and unhealthy

Commenting on the allegation, Dr Wan Hashim said: "We are open-minded and feel that a debate like this, provided
that it is carried out properly, is good."

"In fact, the university was very particular and careful in the selection of speakers for the debate," he added.

"There were several opposition speakers who were proposed, but were rejected by us as we felt that they might be
too extreme." --The Star/Asia News Network