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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 9. 1971



This year the Malaysian Students' Association twice held a special general meeting mainly to decide on a new stand that is to reconsider its associate clause which was allegedly discriminatory. The first meeting was called off after the quorum had been challenged. The latest one was held last Saturday, 24.4.71. It was chaired by Miss M. Bryson. To the satisfaction of many it went peacefully.

Several issues were discussed; a few are reported here.

The President of the M.S.A., Mr. Michael Lim, explained that in view of changing circumstances, the Association must reconsider its constitution, particularly the membership clause. An open membership would not only improve the public image of the Association but would also foster relationship between the Malaysian students and the Kiwi students.

On the question of affiliation to the V.U.W.S.A. it was pointed out that this could become necessary as it would be one step further in improving this relationship. Some students argued that it was not a matter of benefits but that it is the right of a group of students at this university to become a part of the larger community. Those present at the MSA meeting unanimously agreed to allow the Association to re-apply for affiliation to the V.U.W.S.A..

The MSA had applied for affiliation once but was rejected on the following grounds

Firstly, the MSA failed to produce the minutes of its inaugural meeting. The minutes were actually lost. This difficulty was overcome when the MSA held a S.G.M. to re-affirm its constitution.

Secondly, the provision allowed by 'associate membership clause' is restrictive. According to the V.U.W.S.A. constitution all affiliated clubs (with a few exceptions such as Faculty clubs) must fully open its membership, and they (the members) must enjoy all the privileges.

Now the MSA has dropped its membership clause, but inserted what has been regarded as a "moral" clause: That the committee members shall as far possible comprise Malaysians and be representative of the various races residing in Malaysia."

The problem here is whether the Stud. Assn. Executive would interpret the clause as open. Here one is never sure.

Perhaps, if the above two problems are solved, the Stud. Assn. Exec. might still feel that the MSA is a government sponsored club, and subject to government pressures. This has been repeatedly denied by the members of the MSA of Wellington. There had been talks about these allegations but nothing has yet been proved in black and white.

At Massey University, an open forum was held to prove the allegation that one Malaysian, Alex Rogers was bribed $1500 and a job promised when he goes home. Alex Rogers himself denied the allegation at the forum. It is interesting to note that both Alex Rogers and the Massey Stud. Assn. President went to see the Malaysian High Commissioner, where Mr. Rogers denied that he was offered any form of bribe at all.

One would imagine that it is time for the V.U.W.S.A. to also consider its stand. An overseas student group has opened its membership, and this initiation must gain high respect. It is now up to the host country to look into the realities of Malaysian problems and to fully welcome the Malaysian group into their wider student community.

The time has come for both sides to come to an agreement for the benefits of all students. So far the Stud. Assn. Executive power has not been challenged. The trust put in the executive by Malaysian students, however small a group they may be, cannot be left untouched for they (the Malaysians) too vote at the end of the year. Their interests must also be considered.

Just before Easter holidays, this year, the A.G.M. of the V.U.W.S.A. managed to pass a motion banning the use of Student Association facilities by the MSA. This move was seen by the MSA as (1) an infringement upon the rights of individuals to associate, and (2) a step to oripple MSA in its activities. If this ban continues then the MSA will not be able to hold cultural shows, dances, etc., and to organise its annual open badminton championship all of which are necessary to foster the spirit of friendship.

At this time when University Students all over the world are fighting to liberate the under-privileged, here right inside us, a substantial number of Malaysian students are denied this right.

The MSA meeting ended with these two motions unanimously carried, and with great applause.

a)"That this association expresses its indignation at the actions of some students in the Campus who have been accusing this association as being run and controlled by the Malaysian Government. That this Association strongly condemns these allegations as groundless and childish."
b)"The members of the MSA of Wellington regret that a motion banning MSA the use of association facilities be passed by the V.U.W.S.A.. It is also regrettable that the N.Z.U.S.A. president, David Cuthbert, should have seconded the motion, contrary to the principles of the right to associate."

1970 President, MSA.