UM suspends results of controversial campus polls

University Malaya officials agreed to suspend the results of yesterday’s campus polls after day-long negotiations with outraged student activists following this morning’s siege of the administration building.
“The pro-mahasiswa (pro-students) group have reached an agreement with UM vice-chancellor Ghauth Jasmon,” said former student representative council president Mohd Ridzuan Mohammad.
NONEIn general, he said both sides have agreed for a moratorium to be put in place on the election results and to put on hold the formation of a new student representative council pending instructions to the VC from the higher-ups.
The VC also agreed to the appointment of an IT consultant by the pro-students group to test the e-voting system. If it is proven that elements of fraud or abuse exist, he will agree to a re-election.
The university also promised to investigate allegations that deputy vice-chancellor of student affairs (HEP) Azarae Idris misused university funds to quarantine HEP sponsored candidates at a hotel, the night before nomination.
NONEAccording to yesterday’s election results, the pro-aspiration group, said to be favoured by the university adminstration, won 21 seats, four more than the anti-establishment pro-M group.
The two student factions have been fighting a tooth-and-nail battle for the control of the Students Representative Council over the past years with pro-M group winning by one seat in 2008.
The VC has also conceded to the pro-students group’s demand that the polling station be moved to the faculty back from the colleges.
Currently, the representative seats are allocated according to faculty, however students have to cast their votes at polling stations in colleges.
NONEThe pro-students group are alleging that by setting the polling station in colleges, campus authorities will have greater chance to pressure the students to favour one side.
After the announcement of the compromise by Mohd Ridzuan and other representatives, the 200 odd pro-student group supporters marched to Dewan Tunku Canselor to celebrate.
They also smashed a computer as a sign of the protest against the e-voting system and paraded the broken computer around the campus.
War of words erupts
One student also burned a copy of the Malay newspaper Kosmo to protest the newspaper’s report claiming that the pro-aspirasi (pro-aspiration) camp won by 24 seats.
The aggressive moves of the pro-mahasiswa supporters led to a heated argument with their rivals, who were waiting outside the hall.
NONEThe pro-aspirasi group were holding up a banner expressing support to the VC, asking him not to accept the pro-mahasiswa faction’s demands.
Meanwhile, Mohd Ridzuan also alleged that pro-aspirasi representatives from several campuses met with the information chief of a prominent political party to fix the date of campus elections.
He also claimed to have evidence to substantiate his claim.
When pressed further, he admitted the evidence is a photo and conceded that he is not actually sure whether the meeting was to discuss the date of campus elections.