MALAYSIA: Ministry calls for student parliaments

If the new academic calendar indicated that 2011 would be full of surprises, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin's New Year's address did little to change the notion. The minister's call for universities to establish students' parliaments highlighted the ministry's commitment to come good on last year's amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act, writes Richard Lim for The Star.

Student activism is sometimes viewed negatively by the authorities. However, instead of keeping 'dissent' in check, the ministry is now legitimising an avenue for students to make themselves heard. "I encourage the students' parliament concept," said Mohamed Khaled in his speech to ministry staff members last week at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre. "I hope that such parliaments will be established in all public universities, and subsequently, at the national level."

The new announcements are part of the ministry's transition to the second phase of the National Higher Education Strategic Plan. The phase involves strengthening the higher education landscape and universities are set to enjoy a freer hand in proceedings. Mohamed Khaled said that all research universities were expected to get full autonomy by 2015 and a sixth research university would be identified by then.
Full report on The Star site