UUCA court decision to be brought to Cabinet

The Appeals Court decision on Section 15(5)(a) of the University and University Colleges Act (UUCA) 1971 will be brought to the attention of the Cabinet before a decision is made whether to file an appeal to the Federal Court, said Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

“We respect the court’s decision but under the legal process, we still have another avenue to appeal. The Cabinet will decide whether to file an appeal or not,” he told reporters after opening Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Veterinary Medicine Faculty Complex today.

The Court of Appeal, in a landmark majority 2-1 decision yesterday, ruled that Section 15 (5)(a) of the UUCA which restricts students from expressing support or opposing any political party, was unconstitutional.

The panel headed by Justice Low Hop Bing held that the provision was unreasonable and violated the constitutional right to freedom of speech.

Elaborating further, Mohamed Khaled said it must be understood why the section was included in the UUCA, which prohibits students from becoming members of any political parties.

He said some people held the view that university students intellectual development could be boosted if they joined political parties but this was not necessarily the case as they could attain the same without doing so.

He said it was only after much discussions with the academic fraternity that the section was included in the act.

“However, if we want give priority to the right to associate over educating students, if that is what is wanted, I have no problems (with that),” he said.

– Bernama