Like any parent, she was obviously proud that her
daughter had done well and wanted to
share her accomplishment with anyone
who cared to listen.
Her daughter must have secured a place
in ITM on her own merit. The scholarship
was presumably given based on her scholastic
and financial positions.
It's unlikely that her father, a
full-time party worker who had
failed in all his political outings, is
financially well-off. Given his
prominence, her friends and ITM
officials would have known about
her family background.
But credit must be given to the
Government and ITM for not discriminating against her.
In all likelihood, she is to share her
father's political inclination but it
would be terribly unjust had she been
denied her scholarship because of her
link with PAS, of which she had no
There are many students, both in local
and foreign universities, who are not
supportive of our government. It is certainly not a recent phenomenon and our government should not be unduly worried.
Even during the 60s, when the Socialist
Club was allowed in Universiti Malaya, it attracted many idealistic students who believed they could change the world.
In recent years, as a result of Islamic revivalism, many supported PAS in our local universities; non Muslims
would support the DAP and Parti Rakyat
But many students switch their political
allegiance when they graduate. Some do
so for selfish and opportunistic
reasons, believing that they would have better
prospects backing Umno, MCA or
Others genuinely believed that it would
be more effective working from within
the system than shouting themselves hoarse from outside.
In this context, not many would agree
with Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz for saying that priority for Mara's education loans would be given to Barisan Nasional supporters.
He had said that in politics, priority must always be given to party
Nazri reportedly said applications from others would only be considered after this was done.
His statement, if correctly reported, is certainly regrettable. One would have thought that loans or scholarships are given out based on meritocracy.
It will be alarming if the child of an
opposition member is penalised as a result
of his parent's political beliefs.
Nazri should be more concerned with
scholarship holders who fail to repay
their loans or the possibility of rich parents getting loans and scholarships for their kids, depriving
those who really need the assistance.
There should be no political consideration because the money belongs to the
A Parti Keadilan Nasional supporter, for example, is also a taxpayer and a
citizen. It is his constitutional right to enjoy the same benefits as a Barisan man.
Nazri's stand is contrary to Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad's recent reminder to Umno members not to
penalise opposition supporters, especially government servants.
The Umno president had argued that Umno
members should try to win them back as
many were former Umno supporters.
Dr Mahathir's advice makes sense as many
Malays turned against the leadership on
a few specific issues, such as the Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim case.
These unhappy citizens turned to PAS
recently simply because it is an alternative
political vehicle to voice their
grievances and nothing more, much less
its radical policies.
With the same principle, the PAS-led
Terengganu government should not stop
Barisan supporters from getting loans
and scholarships. The oil royalties belong to
the people of Terengganu and not
Mentri Besar Hadi Awang.
But Nazri is not entirely wrong. The
Government expects its scholarship holders to concentrate on their studies and not waste their time in street demonstrations.
They should not be used by selfish politicians. If they fail in their examinations, they should realise that their political idols won't lift a finger to help them.
A university dropout is useless to
whatever political cause the student may want to champion later in life.
The Education Ministry should pay more
attention to university lecturers, some
of whom use up public money to pursue
post-graduate studies and then return home
Many of these academic failures, who
have become harsh critics of the
Government, never had to worry about being axed during the recession, unlike
those in the private sector.
Not many of them appreciate government
efforts in restoring the economy, never
having worked in the demanding
environment of the private sector.
It cannot be denied that students should
not be divorced entirely from politics
as the campus must allow
intellectually-stimulating debates and
ideas to flourish.
Neither is politics the monopoly of
The concern of many Malaysians is that a
large segment of our students and lecturers have become too partisan and preoccupied with politics, resulting in neglect for their work.
Those who disagree with their political
views in campus are afraid to express
themselves for fear of being
If a lecturer is paid to teach
chemistry, he should just stick to
it. He shouldn't waste time lecturing students on the purported
evils of the government.
Nazri would probably get a better hearing if he acts against loan takers who can
no longer fulfill the requirements and
criteria because of their political
More importantly, everyone should be
given a chance to contribute to our beloved nation.