Think tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU) holds the decision of Barisan Nasional (BN) to exploit university students as election machinery as an unfortunate decision that belittles the wisdom of university students to decide whether they themselves want to actively participate in the elections or otherwise.
BN announced that they will mobilize thousands of students from institutions of higher education in the effort to distribute fliers, campaigning for BN as well as explaining the policies of the Government and BN’s manifesto. The university students will also be involved in ensuring the security of places in Putrajaya, Shah Alam, Gombak, Gelang Patah as well as Pekan.
First of all, prior to the 13th General Election (GE13), BN has repeatedly urged and advised the university students to stay from politics as well the election.
Secondly, every single time there are students who voiced out against the policies of the government, actions of the government as well as campaigning on their own behalf or supposedly acting in assisting the opposition, they are beaten, bullied, vilified, insulted by not just the government, but also by BN and the supporters of BN.
Then why are there a double standard for university students who support and help BN and university students who voice out against the government and BN? BN mobilizes thousands of students to assist in the election campaign of BN. In other words, BN is forcing the university students to leave their classes just for the sake of helping BN to achieve its political objectives. On the other hand, we have university students so vilified by BN as they are said to be supporting the opposition, whom let’s not forget are doing so not by force of any other parties but by volunteer to voice out their opinions as well as their political standpoints.
An education is where the university students are faced with facts from all parties and decide their own theories in accordance to their own understanding and not by spoonfeeding by one party and forced to accept without question what is fed.
That is the definition of the mobilization of university students made into the government and BN’s machinery. BN has the responsibility to explain why university students are forced to be BN’s election machinery. Just as the explanation behind the qualifications and reason why university students are made into security guards in the abovementioned places.
The police have and will mobilize thousands of officers to ensure the safety of Malaysians nationwide during this election season as well on the election day itself. BN is seen gambling away the lives of of the university students by making them into security guards of the BN.
If BN wishes to expose university students to the election process, why must BN, the government and supporters of BN prior to this so insult and ridicule the university students who speak out dan campaign against the government and BN? This double standard is a reflection of the desperation faced by BN in their effort to steal the GE13 victory in which the freedom of choice and reason of university students are rejected to be replaced by forced indoctrination on university students instead.
Hence, KPRU urges BN to not puppet university students as political pawns in this run up to GE13. BN must provide the freedom to the university students to decide either to voluntarily participate or not in the election process and at the same time avoid prejudice against those university students who chose to campaign on behalf of the student’s union or the opposition.