Malaysia will lift a decades-old ban on university students joining political parties. Bills to amend three laws were tabled for the first reading in Parliament on Monday. The move was part of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s social transformation plan announced last year to allow greater civil liberties to the people. Malaysia’s higher education minister, Khalid Nordin, tabled three bills in parliament on Monday to amend three laws, namely the education and colleges acts, private higher education as well as education institutions acts, basically to allow students to join political parties. But they cannot stand for election or take parts in any unlawful or illegal assemblies.
Some university students who joined civil society and took part in unlawful assemblies recently had their scholarships stripped by the state government. Meanwhile, a lot of undergraduates said they welcomed the law amendments although reactions were still quite mixed up there. A student said: “Undergraduates are more knowledgeable and farsighted, why can’t we join politics? It’s our right!” mAnother said: “Students should have the rights to decide the future of the country.” Also sharing similar sentiments, a student said: “I think we are too young because if we were studying here, after graduating, it’s okay.” Some parents were skeptical that this might affect their children’s studies in universities.