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Salient. Official Newspaper of Victoria University of Wellington Students Association. Vol 40 No. 11. May 23 1977


Drawing of an angel with armour

The International Student Congress was a tremendous success. It not only promoted friendship and warmth for the 130 people who attended but also an understanding of different cultures, political situations, and particular problems facing overseas students.

Throughout the discussions it was obvious that the issue of most vital concern was that of the recent cutbacks in Malaysian students. It is very easy for New Zealand students to regard the cutbacks as a non-issue, but such a move by the government has serious implications for local students. When the government dictates to the Universities how many Malaysian students it may admit the whole concept of an "open university" becomes threatened. It is only one step removed from cuts in the overall intake of students as part of an economic stringency campaign. Thus it is important for New Zealand students to realise the ramifications of the cutbacks in Malaysian students and to join with them in their efforts against such reductions.

These cutbacks reflect the continuing attempt by the Malaysian and Singaporean authorities to restrict studying abroad regardless of the laws applying in the overseas countries. The smashing of the Malaysian student unions like UMSU in 1975 which led to the flight of student leaders including Hishammuddin Rais is an object lesson of these governments' attitudes to "their" students engaging in political activities.

The fight against the Malaysian government inspired cutbacks is a fight for democratic rights in Malaysia and deserves the support of all students.