If Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) is really meant for the nation’s youth, then it should not look into punishing varsity students who only wish to see a better future for the country.
The spokesperson for youth group Challenger, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, said Mara leaders shouldn’t target students who were fighting for justice and the eradication of corruption.
This came following Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s warning that stern action would be taken against Mara scholars found to have participated in last Saturday’s #TangkapMO1 rally.
“The 2012 amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act permit students to be involved in political movements outside the campus.
“The amendments returned youths’ rights to raise concerns in the interests of the nation, and to express their deep love for the country.
“This is our right which should not be interfered with, or threatened with the possibility of having our scholarships revoked,” said Syed Saddiq in a statement today.
He added that if the government insisted on banning students from demonstrating, then it should be fair by taking action against those who had also participated in last year’s Red Shirts rally.
” Challenger, believes that Mara can act with fairness and openness. The students’ rights have been returned to them, don’t snatch them away with threats.”
Over 2,000 people, mostly youths under the age of 30, participated in the #TangkapMO1 rally, which called on the authorities to pursue “Malaysian Official 1” mentioned in the US Department of Justice report on alleged embezzlement of 1MDB funds.
The organisers had sought permission to gather at Dataran Merdeka, but this was rejected by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), resulting in them gathering on the streets around the square instead.
Both police and the government have declared the rally illegal, and are looking into possibly taking action against the organisers.
Syed Saddiq, who was also present on Saturday, however said the rally was legal as participants abided by the police’s instruction not to enter the square.
“Throughout the peaceful gathering, there was no damage to public properties nor were there any major fights.
“It was a two-hour gathering spent on peaceful demonstration which can increase patriotism.
“If varsity students can be forced to undergo National Civics Bureau courses that can stretch for up to a week, why can’t they demonstrate for two hours?”