KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — A small group of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) students gathered outside Parliament building here this afternoon demanding a meeting with the education minister ahead of the tabling of Budget 2020.
The students numbering about 20 were from the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT), a faculty under UTM established in 2010 by the Malaysian and Japanese governments.
They held up banners printed with messages stating “UTM Liar” and “Stop fee hike”, drawing attention from passing MPs and civil servants entering the compound.
Tan Chen Siong who acted as spokesman of the group calling itself MJIIT Voices told reporters the students that fees for their programme had nearly doubled since last December from RM325 to RM700 per semester.
They also demanded Education Minister Maszlee Malik change UTM Vice-Chancellor Datuk Abdul Wahid Omar for allegedly failing to meet them to resolve their concerns.
“Two months ago, we did not have enough time in meeting with Maszlee to discuss about the matter. Since then there is nothing officially done between us and the Ministry of Education.
“The MJIIT issue is just a start to all the other fee hikes that is now going on in UTM and all other universities in Malaysia,” Tan said.
Last December, MJIIT urged UTM to remove the “special fees” imposed in addition to its basic semester fees, claiming these affected close to 600 students comprising first- to third-year students who enrolled in the faculty from 2016 to 2018.
In April, they took to protesting the hike in special fees in front of the UTM KL campus in the city centre, according to GPA spokesman Syazwani Mahmud. Some 200 people gathered and UTM tried to stop the protest.
In a statement in May, GPA said the three students were investigated from 5pm to 11pm on Wednesday.
These were the same students who managed to pass a memorandum to the UTM pro-vice-chancellor on the day of the protest in April.