PETALING JAYA: The Public Service Department (PSD) should not revoke the scholarships of students who are critical of the Government, said Gerakan.
Its vice-president Datuk Dr Dominic Lau said the move was not only “vindictive and vengeful” but also against the spirit of education and political transformation advocated by the Government.
“It is excessive and contrary to policy. There are other ways to discourage students from distributing fake information.
“Besides, some students could be victims of circumstances. They should not be punished inconsiderately by authorities for false criticism against the Government,” he said in a statement.
Zainal reasoned that scholarships were awarded to outstanding students for them to focus on their studies, instead of spreading inaccurate information to tarnish the Government’s reputation.
Dr Lau said PSD should operate in line with the Government’s aspiration and public demand for greater political freedom for students.
“An amendment to the Universities and University Colleges Act in 2012 allows university students to hold positions in both political parties and campus organisations.
“This is the Government’s effort to strike a balance between political freedom and education, so there is no reason for PSD to act in a manner that makes the Government look as if it is going back on its word,” he added.
MIC Youth secretary Arvind Krishnan said PSD should allow constructive criticism from students instead of punishing them.
“We are a democratic country and constructive criticism should be allowed. When conveyed in the correct manner, it will not lead to a nation’s downfall,” he said.
He also called on PSD to look at constructive criticism from students on bursaries positively and to use it for future nation-building plans