Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The banners are up, security suddenly tightened, posters and articles trading accusations filled the walls of faculties. All these can only mean one thing...the campus election is around the corner.
Once again, the fight is on between the pro-aspirasi and pro-mahasiswa factions.
Although, student bodies are prohibited from being affiliated with any political parties, it's little secret that one faction is pro-establishment (pro-aspirasi) while the other is anti-establishment (pro-mahasiswa)
Student politics are a reflection of national politics, no matter how the authorities try to conceal it.
Perhaps mirroring the political situation outside of campus, the odds are heavily stacked against the opposition in the campus polls as well. The authorities are known to throw their backing behind pro-aspirasi candidates to ensure their victory.
During my 1st year, all Chinese students were made to attend a gathering to listen to some talk by the representatives of the Chinese student committee. We were told specifically not to vote for the pro-mahasiswa or 'green faction'
If they came to power, the Chinese students will suffer. There will be strict enforcements on our attire & entertainment will be forbidden (except nasyid performances). Our campus will be turned into a Taliban approved learning centre!
Those possibilities alone are enough to make us gullible 1st year students make the 'right choices'.
And for those of us who live in residential colleges, rumours that we will be kick out of college if we voted for the 'wrong' candidates will be passed around every year.
College authorities made it clear that they support the pro-aspirasi candidates. More intimidating is the fact that the ballot paper is marked with a serial number traceable to our names.
Doesn't matter whether those rumours are true or false, the majority wouldn't want to take the risk.
Nobody really cares about student politics anyway. Student activism is severely curtailed in Malaysia unlike their counterparts in other countries, where they are influential in initiating political, social & economic changes.
But here, the candidates are reduced to fighting over petty issues like prices of food in cafetaria and the bus schedule.
I hope I do not get into trouble for my rantings. Did I not mentioned that threats and intimidations aside, the campus elections are 100% clean & fair. And I promise that when election comes, I will do the 'right thing'