TO say that great curiosity surrounds the soon-to-be implemented contract of good behaviour for students, titled "Aku Janji", is an overstatement.
Perhaps blase would best describe the sentiment of public university students YouthQuake spoke to in the past week.
Aku Janji is a contract between a university and its students via the Education Ministry. It was originally introduced by the Cabinet for civil servants.
Come the new semester intake in May 2002, some 200,000 undergraduates from first year to final year will have to sign this Government-approved contract.
All university staff and academics are required to sign Aku Janji by April.
In this contract, derived from Statutory Bodies (Discipline and Surcharge) Act 2000, the undersigned are expected:
i) to always be loyal to the King, country and the Government,
ii) to not forsake one's obligation to (name of university) for one's well-being.
iii) to not introduce external influence or pressure to support or promote one's goal or that of another officer's with regard to (name of university).
iv) to not act in any way as to raise legitimate suspicion that one will allow one's interests to clash with one's obligation to (name of university).
For university students, however, the Aku Janji would be based on the University and University College Act.
Thus far, students claimed they have not been briefed about Aku Janji by their respective universities. What little they do know is restricted to what's been highlighted in the media.
So what is Aku Janji all about?
" Aku Janji is a generic document fostering personal commitment to invite people to maintain and promote personal accountability in a particular organisation, for instance, in a university," said Professor Datuk Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid, dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Services at Universiti Tun Abdul Razak. " Aku Janji is akin to the professional code of ethics. Students are not yet professionals. The contract will initiate them towards the mind of a professional," he said. "A student is supposed to study, master his discipline and then become a professional. Why should they go out and demonstrate before they are grounded in knowledge?" he added.
Malaysia will require all university students and teachers to sign a pledge of loyalty to the government and the king before classes resume in May, Malaysia's Bernama news agency said.
``The agreement requires them to, among others, be loyal to the king, government and university, and to heed orders,'' Malaysia's New Straits Times newspaper quoted Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad as saying. They must also pledge they won't behave in a way that may be construed as disobeying orders, Bernama said yesterday.
The pledge will ensure there are no anti-government activities on campus and stop the ``poisoning of the minds'' of students, the British Broadcasting Corp cited Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as saying.
Malaysia moved against opposition activity since the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the U.S. destroyed the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon. It detained at least 47 suspected Islamic militants as part of the crackdown. It also ordered 950,000 civil servants to sign a similar loyalty pledge to the government, Bernama said.
The main opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia, known as PAS, said earlier this month Mahathir's government was using the Sept. 11 attacks to crack down on the party, the BBC cited PAS Vice President Mustafa Ali as saying.
A recent government political television commercial showing images of PAS leaders interspersed with a woman being killed by Islamic militants was an attempt to link it to Muslim militants, he said.
Islam is the established religion in Malaysia. About 60 percent of the Southeast Asian country's 23 million people are Muslim.