November 1st, 2009 by Press Office
I was a member of the USM Mandarin debate team 20 years ago. I was among the best during that time.
Few years ago, I noticed that there is a great interests in debate among the Chinese speaking university students. Many students like to get involve in organising the debate competition or participate in the debate, and most of the times, these debates were sponsored by, or widely publicised by the Chinese newspapers.
I am pleased and encouraged that the interests of many of these universities’ debaters have not subsided even after they graduated as they are still actively propagating debate and coach their juniors.
Recently, one of the member of the Chinese language society of University of Malaya invited me to be one of the judges of an interesting debate competition on Sept 8th. The participants in this competition were former university debators who have been graduated. Among them, some have become media professionals, one of them is Teo Nie Ching, MP for Serdang, and one of them is the former MCA candidate in Damansara Utama.
The topic of the debate was “BN and PR, which one has more headache?” The teams then outlined a series of “headches” faced by both BN and PR, and we heard lots of laughter and clapping as everyone enjoyed themselves. It was very entertaining. And of course, my ISA detention and MACC investigation on PR leaders have been raised by both teams.
The judges were me, Ng Nai Chee (MCA Central Committee member and former MP) and Koh Kok Wai (journalist cum DJ in 988 station). The two Chairpersons were Ms Lee Xiao Hui (NTV7 newscasters) and Dr Lim You Quan.
At the end of the performance, both the judging panel and the audience decided to give victory to the team with Teo Nie Ching that took the stance on “BN has more headaches than PR”.
Few weeks later, I was shocked to read in papers that the students who invited me to be a judge were in hot soup as they were accused by the Students Affairs Department (HEP) of University of Malaya of having gone against the rules of the university because they have invited ‘outsiders’ which included me to attend the Chinese language society’s function, and they will be asked to attend a disciplinary hearing.
My God, how can the University authority punish them just because they invited politicians like me to attend a society’s function? I thought the Universities and Colleges Act has been amended and gave more rooms to university students to participate or organise activities?
May be due to public pressures, the hearing of the disciplinary board has been postponed twice. The students seem quite brave in facing the HEP.
Well, if disciplinary action being carried out against the students who invited me to campus, it will be a real mockery to the freedom of academic and freedom of speech in university campus. I believe the university authority’s draconian move will only encourage the students to be closer to the Pakatan Rakyat.
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