The importance of the Students’ Declaration

by Arveent Kathirtchelvan

The TN50 mechanism seems to be in full swing. Most recently, Khairy Jamaluddin has made rounds in the UK in a series of town hall meetings to gather input from students there on their ideas to build a better nation. This is a commendable act. For too long the important decisions to make policies were left to the older generation and those in power. This has led to policies that have gone further and further away from the needs on the ground, growing more polarised to attract votes in a nation gripped with increasing identity politics.

With this said, however, it is also important to note the timing of these meetings. The 14th General Election is just beyond the horizon and the cynical may believe that whatever seemingly progressive act done by politicians is only to entice more votes, especially from fence-sitters. Many times good policy changes are suggested to government officials but do not translate to good policies due to lack of political will. How, then, do we generate said political will that leads to proactive leadership?

Rather than running town halls and advocating for proper avenues to channel ideas to government officials what we should be focusing on is inculcating an open environment such that difficult conversations could be had by anybody at any time. This is because there’s always a fear of repercussions when addressing government officials face-to-face, what acts such as the Sedition Act and generally authoritarian policies. Even the sanctity of a neutral internet is challenged with the MCMC being more and more controlling. In such a restricted environment, what is engagement if not an empty showcase?

Do not get this twisted, this is not a diatribe against the government or the ruling party, all politicians in Malaysia are guilty of top-down politics. There are just more examples with the current government as there are actual laws that may be enforced against individuals breaking them.

This is why steps like the Declaration on Students’ Rights to Freedom of Speech, Assembly and Association are of utmost importance. In the UK, Malaysian students are coming together to establish a document that outlines the boundaries of these rights in a manner which will take into consideration the input of a large variety of Malaysian students in the UK. The first draft of this and its summary have just been published here and here respectively.

Continue reading “The importance of the Students’ Declaration”

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The long and frustrating week with Najib’s ‘portrait’. (Final Story)

This is the third and final part of a series of stories for the #followthewhisper campaign. These stories may be exceptionally long, so why don’t you get a cup of coffee, relax and read at your own pace.

by Cassandra Chung

 

In the corner of Queen’s Medical Centre

About two years ago, in May 2015, I had to sit for the most horrendous paper of my undergraduate degree: Land Law. Despite having done all the past year questions and memorising journal articles and my lecture notes front to back, I barely passed that paper. This particularly part of my undergraduate is a part I don’t particularly enjoy recalling. However, if anything good came out of having to drag myself to the Land Law exam, it was what I saw outside the exam hall. At just over one metre tall on the wall of famous alumni, there it was: a portrait of Dato’ Seri Najib Razak. Alumnus of Nottingham, Prime Minister (PM) of Malaysia.

Continue reading “The long and frustrating week with Najib’s ‘portrait’. (Final Story)”

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The long and frustrating week with Najib’s ‘portrait’. (Story #2)

This is the second part of a series of stories for the #followthewhisper campaign. Stories #2 and #3 are exceptionally long, so why don’t you get a cup of coffee, relax and read at your own pace.

by Cia Yee

Prologue

I’m not surprised if the mention of Nottingham draws the occasional blank look of unfamiliarity from most Malaysians.

If you follow up your mention of Nottingham with Robin Hood, you might you see a slight tinkle of genuine curiosity in their eyes. If you mention that our current Prime Minister studied there, you might see a glimpse of surprise.

Nottingham has a place in my heart but when you think of must-see vacation spots, it’s hard to say that the city of Nottingham would ever come to mind as one.

It isn’t a Cambridge or an Oxford, but to be honest, it doesn’t need to be. It’s a curious city with its own unique history that often gets taken for granted, but then again isn’t that applicable to many places around the world?

It can get miserably cold here during winter and the city definitely isn’t as vibrant as London or Manchester, but there’s just something about it.

Something about those geese you see crossing the road on campus. Something about that paranoid squirrel that scurries away (or if you are in the Sutton Bonnington campus, a rabbit!).

Just something about all that shade of green or orange that if you take a moment to look, just takes your breath away.

Literally take it away, as you walk for 30 minutes uphill to the other side of campus just for one class.

Continue reading “The long and frustrating week with Najib’s ‘portrait’. (Story #2)”

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The long and frustrating week with Najib’s ‘portrait’. (Story #1)

This is the first part of a series of stories for the #followthewhisper campaign. Stories #2 and #3 are exceptionally long, so why don’t you get a cup of coffee, relax and read at your own pace.

by Izat

On the 9th of March, 2016, a Facebook post by Cassandra Chung created a storm none of us anticipated.

The petition, now infamous among the Nottingham Malaysian Society members, called for the “portrait” of our Prime Minister, Najib Razak, to be taken down. It’s not exactly a portrait though. It’s just an unflattering candid picture of him among other notable alumni. In all honesty, I have never seen that photo with my own eyes all my life. Even till this day. So I guess you can get the hint of how much I actually cared for this whole saga.

The story didn’t start for me on the 9th of March itself though. It started a few months earlier.

Continue reading “The long and frustrating week with Najib’s ‘portrait’. (Story #1)”

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