By Nurhaifa Zakaria
GOMBAK, 6 December 2019: University students were told that the meaning of the student autonomy goes beyond than just claiming their rights but it is about their responsibility towards the society.
Student activist, Ainina Sofia Adnan, said students need to realise that student autonomy does not only limit to claiming their rights but also using that autonomy power to address humanity issues in society.
She said this at a forum titled “Autonomi Mahasiswa: Ke Mana Hala Tujunya?” which was the topic of discussion in “Sembang Kencang 9.0” held yesterday (5 December) at the Richiamo Coffee.
“The autonomy is more than just about claiming freedom, where it is also about the need for us to return to the society and give our hand to them,” Ainina emphasised.
As an activist who developed the alternative school in Sabah (Borneo Komrad), she said that the reason we failed to see the needs of some unfortunate people in society, such as the need to expose them to education, is “because we are staying in a privileged situation.”
Organised by Harmoni IIUM, the programme invited three panellists to discuss the issue. They were Fellow of Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) and a writer Hazman Baharom, cultural activist, poet and writer, Raja Ahmad Aminullah or known as Pak Engku and student activist, Ainina Sofia Adnan.
Sharing the same view, Pak Engku spoke on how previously student’s autonomy was used to help reduce society’s burden. He cited an example where back then, there was a group of students who went to a village and stayed with the villagers for a project called ‘Jamban Curah’.
He said this project had helped to provide villagers with access to the toilet as they did not have any before. “From this project, it can be seen that the motive of the students’ movement at that time was to alleviate or at least to reduce the poverty or difficulties faced by the people,” he said.
In intellectual context, Hazman said, “Autonomy is not the main issue here, but is more on how it is to be used. Autonomy is meaningless without the correct way of usage.” He mentioned the misuse of autonomy as projecting the idea of being dishonest for personal benefit.
Hazman further cited the case of anti-vaccination ideology as a misuse of autonomy, because it is a betrayal towards the knowledge of science.
He explained that everyone who learned science would know that the anti – vaccination ideology is totally false. However, he added, the propagators of the idea still managed to gain attention from the public due to their action in producing a lot of writings which were misleading.
Thus, Hazman suggested, in order to counter this false ideology, the truth and facts are needed instead of using force. “This is because force can raise people’s sympathy towards this kind of group.”
Hazman therefore suggested that students should read and write more to explain the facts so as to counter any misinformation created by those who were trying to propagate the wrong ideas to the public. ***
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