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ISU SEMASA is updated on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 9:13 PM

BN MP raps UiTM's rejection of cultural expo, labels it 'undemocratic'


Susan Loone,malaysiakini
12:00am Tue Mar 19th, 2002

A BN member of Parliament today slammed Universiti Teknologi Malaysia for its 'undemocratic' rejection of
a cultural expo organised by students in conjunction with last year's Chinese New Year celebration.

Chang See Ten (BN-Gelang Patah) told he Dewan Rakyat that the move was similar to an "abuse of power".

He added such expos should be encouraged as they were meant to foster unity among the various races on campus.

"I was disappointed to hear that UiTM's administration cancelled the event at the eleventh hour. The excuse given was that the Dewan Sultan Iskandar, where the event was to be held, was reserved for academic activities only," he said.

Chang said public money was used to enhance facilities at universities and the allocation should be used to optimise the benefits and prevent wastage of resources.

"I am not questioning the university's decision to give priority to academic activities but I do not see
any reason for the hall not to be used for other events that can benefit the campus community," he
added.

He also said the university has yet to explain why the hall should be used for academic purposes alone.

"There is proof that after the expo was cancelled the hall was used for a dinner party," Chang said when debating the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's March 11 royal address at the opening of this year's parliament session.

According to the MP, UiTM had issued several letters with conflicting content to the event's organisers.

Initially, the expo was approved by the university. However, a day before the event was to take place, a letter was issued to the organiser, saying the event must be cancelled as the hall was limited to academic activities only.

Chang said the university's manner in handling the matter revealed that it did not respect the rule of
law.

"(It was) as if the university's decision was final and cannot be questioned," he said.

Double standards

Chang queried why the university permitted the hall to be used for a dinner party after it decided to cancel the cultural event.

"This gives people the impression that the university was practising double standards. The students' efforts to promote racial unity is not appreciated or respected.

"The decision to cancel the event is not democratic or transparent. The reasons given are irrational and inappropriate," he stressed.

The MP also expressed concerned that the university's decision would have a negative effect on the students' relationship with the campus administration.

"This may lead to anti-government sentiments among the students," he said.

Chang called for urgent attention to the matter in order to prevent a similar incident from recurring.


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