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05 Januari 2011

Aku dan Politik Hari Ini

Politik dalam sukan? Hancur.
Politik dalam universiti? Pun hancur.
Politik di Selangor? Sultan pun dah pening kepala...

Keep politicians out of universities

THE Unisel students’ body has called for a distinguished academician to be appointed as their chancellor as opposed to a politician. Kudos to the students. Academia is for academicians. Any self-respecting individual would and should probably know by now that as universities are crucial grounds for preparing our next generation of leaders, students need to be free from the influence of politicians. One wonders why students in other universities have not followed the footsteps of Unisel, unless the direction of their students’ union is determined by higher ups in the university.

Having real academicians as chancellors, as opposed to politicians-masquerading-as-academicians, would be a breath of fresh air in our universities. It would certainly be lovely to have a university in which decisions are made and rendered on merit rather than on the political expediency of some individuals. The decision maker, if a political animal, may hunker for greater rewards and personal glory, or could be controlled and manipulated by politicians outside the university.

It would certainly be a tragedy if, for instance, the chancellor or the vice-chancellor were to vilify a lecturer as a “pengkhianat bangsa” (“traitor to the race”) and transfer the lecturer to a remote place, just to secure his own political survival. It would even be a greater tragedy if the chancellor or vice-chancellor were to attempt to score some political goodwill from his political masters by following the demands made by some politicians to transfer any academician to remote places.

Any low-ranking politician must realise that he is “expendable” and that in the game of politics, he could be sacrificed by his political masters. It is the spirit of academia that should and must be championed in universities.

Those who pretend to care about the academic standards of our universities but in reality, are only interested in their personal political glory have no business to be in academia. On the other hand, it would not be fair to generalise all politicians as unscrupulous animals who only care about their own personal agenda.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, speaking to students at UiTM Terengganu in 2009, urged them to enroll in institutions which are also open to non-Malays so that they could directly compete with each other.

Kota Kinabalu.

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