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DAP man warns 'conservative' student groups will bring back axed campus concert guidelines

Raub MP Chow Yu Hui calls for a full revocation of the guidelines, saying the restrictions on attire and gender mixing are against students' freedom.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
Raub MP Chow Yu Hui.
Raub MP Chow Yu Hui.

A DAP MP has rejected a set of guidelines for concerts on campus, saying the restrictions on performers' attire and male-female physical contact will curtail students' freedom.

Raub MP Chow Yu Hui said although the government had since said that universities were free to come up with their own guidelines, it was likely that the proposals would be adopted by student unions whom he said were leaning towards conservatism.

"Apart from that, given the conservative influence over many student unions, why would they reject conservative guidelines?" he asked.

Chow said the guidelines' recommendations on gender-segregated seating, attire restrictions for artists, and physical contact between male and female performers were a cause for concern.

He said the "Malaysia Madani" concept should foster "diversity and progress", and warned that creating "unnecessary guidelines" for campus concerts would "ultimately harm the government's loyal support".

"Many Pakatan Harapan leaders were once student activists oppressed by UUCA," he said, referring to the Universities and University Colleges Act. "Therefore, they should not burden current students with similar restrictions."

The new guidelines were to have been released by the Department of Higher Education, but Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin later said that they had not been approved.

He said universities should instead engage student unions and representative councils to draw up rules for allowing concerts on campus.

A leaked draft of the guidelines among others stated that organisers must separate seating areas for male and female spectators, as well as those with families. 

"Every organisation of activities and programmes in the form of concerts must obtain approval from the student representative council or student union committee beforehand," the document said. 

Concert organisers are also responsible for ensuring that dance performances are "not offensive", the music genre is appropriate, and the song lyrics do not touch on community sensitivities, according to the document.