Students Were Allegedly Asked To Sing A 'Love Najib' Song At The UMNO Anniversary Event
UMNO's anniversary celebration was marred by controversy as students from a public university were allegedly ordered to attend the event
It was a grand occasion as more than 100,000 UMNO members gathered together to celebrate the party's 71st anniversary at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium last night, 11 May.
However, as the sea of red commemorates the party’s founding, there have been claims that about 1,000 students from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) were manipulated into joining the mammoth celebration yesterday.
This was first brought to attention by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman
"We received over 300 reports that students were forced to attend, while some were offered money. Some were threatened with disciplinary action and told they would be marked absent if they chose not to attend," he was quoted as saying by The Malaysian Insight.
He also alleged that tens of thousands of varsity students from public universities across the country were mobilised to attend the programme.
According to media reports, PKR deputy youth chief Dr Afif Bahardin also said that he received a WhatsApp message on the matter, whereby students of Shah Alam UiTM were made to participate in a "voluntary patriotism" programme.
A letter that apparently requested exemption for students who were attending classes to be part of a programme at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium also surfaced on social media
Several memos that are said to be issued by UiTM's management from different campuses to students were also circulating on social media.
The memos state that students were requested to attend a "voluntary patriotism" programme as part of their extracurricular activity.
There were also allegations that students were given a song's lyrics and asked to sing for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak
Syed Saddiq took to Twitter to share an image, saying that UiTM students were given the lyrics and told to memorise and sing it during the event.
"It is appalling that the students were also forced to learn the song 'Sayangi Najib' (Love Najib) to show that Najib Razak had full support of all those who are attending the event," Syed Saddiq told The Malaysian Insight.
According to the post on Twitter, the song's lyrics appear to welcome PM Najib Razak’s arrival at the event.
"We came here in one heart, one soul; My PM, the great leader," read some of the lyrics.
However, UMNO information chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa has denied claims that public university students were being mobilised to make the event "more lively"
Following fierce allegations about UMNO coercing students into attending the celebration event, Annuar has stressed that the birthday bash was "open" to anyone who wants to attend.
"Tonight (11 May) is an open event. Anyone can go. It's an open carnival. No instructions [to UiTM] and no problem. It is a public space."
“If UiTM wants to join, no problem," he told Malay Mail Online yesterday, 11 May.
Meanwhile, former vice-chancellor of UiTM, Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar, said that it is "not wrong" if students were asked to attend the event by UMNO
According to Sahol Hamid, UiTM was created by UMNO for Malays and Bumiputeras and students in the university should learn about the institution and its roots.
"The origins of UiTM should be made known to its students. UiTM is a university for Malays and Bumis (Bumiputeras). UMNO is a Malay party."
"So, it’s logical it (the rally) should be attended by Malay students," he was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today.
Do you think university students should be mobilised to attend political events? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.