KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — The Dewan Negara today passed the Universities and University Colleges (Amendment) Bill 2023, which aims to enhance governance, activity management and student discipline within higher education institutions.

The Bill was passed with a majority of votes in favour, after 18 members of the Senate participated in the debate.

Among topics frequently brought up and discussed by members of the Senate relate to student disciplinary committees, financial management by student organisations and the duration of the Student Representative Council (MPP) elections.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir when winding-up the debate emphasised the government’s duty to fulfil the aspirations of undergraduates and students seeking change in the management of student organisations within the current context.

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He said, this time, the amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act (AUKU) are focused on the governance of public universities, with only 16 per cent or seven sections out of a total of 44 sections involving student issues.

“I want to emphasise that these amendments were not made unilaterally. They were not only proposed by the government without involving other parties, especially our students. The government remains committed to elevating the dignity of our students,” he told the Dewan Negara.

The amendments to the AUKU Bill have undergone eight revisions since 1971.

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Zambry noted that the amendments to the Financial Management Regulations in the bill aim to offer guidance to the MPP and student bodies for effective financial management.

“These regulations are not restrictive, they aim to educate students on proper financial management for MPP and associations, ensuring transparency and accuracy,” he said.

He added that MPP and student bodies are allowed to open accounts with any licenced financial institution approved by Bank Negara and their financial management would undergo audits by certified individuals or firm. — Bernama