Repeal of AUKU may result in nullification of 20 public universities

Repeal of AUKU may result in nullification of 20 public universities

KUALA LUMPUR,. Repealing the Universities and University Colleges Act (AUKU) 1971 may result in the nullification of the establishment and administration of 20 public universities.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said this was because the Act is the source of authority that binds universities’ accountability to the government and society.

“Based on its structure and content, AUKU is a vital law and still relevant, especially concerning the establishment and administration of universities,” he said when winding up the debate on the Supply Bill 2023 in the Dewan Rakyat, yesterday.

According to him, AUKU has been amended seven times, with the last amendment made in 2019, while in terms of freedom and student political activism, amendments were made twice, in 2012 and 2019.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Khaled said that following many requests, the ministry had agreed to hold an engagement session related to the issue.

He said this was because seven of the 44 sections of the Act dealt with students, so the meetings should be attended by university administrators, academicians, researchers, the National Council of Professors, representatives of parents and stakeholders.

“The ministry never rejected any suggestions for improvements by all parties. The KPT (Ministry of Higher Education) is in the process of amending Section 15 of the AUKU to allow students to manage their accounts and finances,” he said.

In response to a question from Hassan Abdul Karim (PH-Pasir Gudang), who asked for an explanation on whether a new law could be created as AUKU, which was over 50 years old, Khaled said the ministry would not replace an act just because it is old.

“The act was not created to restrict students but because the government had planned to establish Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

“Now we have 20 (public) universities. If there is no AUKU, we have to make one act for one university because it needs a source of authority. We do not want to change the AUKU, we just want to amend it,” Mohamed Khaled said.

At the same time, he said the KPT is forming a special committee comprising figures with experience in higher education, namely the National Review Committee (NRC), to review all national higher education policies. He said the committee would be given three months to submit findings and recommendations for improvements that will serve as a basis for streamlining, reorganising and refocusing the direction and priorities of the country’s higher education sector.

— Bernama

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