On the 20th of November 2016, the Student Representative Council (SRCUTP) of Universiti Teknologi Petronas organized their annual Student Parliament (STUPAR) event. The event was joined by all the HI-COM members of SRCUTP, representatives from all the clubs and special interest groups as well as some independent members in UTP.
The meeting began sharply at 9.00AM with the doa recitations and opening speech by the VIP of the event, Deputy Vice Chancellor Associated Professor Dr. Nor Hisham bin Hamid. In his speech he stressed the importance of having this Student Parliament as an avenue for students and management alike to voice out their grievances and to discuss on how to move the university forward. Following is the (opening) by the speaker of the house in which he lay out the rules, regulations, and the flow of the event.
Once the opening ceremony is completed we were split into 4 groups, each group was given a topic and a problem that was brought up by the students and was given the task to work together and find a solution for the problem. For me, I was sent to the “student development” group, we were sent to a conference room and given the task of finding solutions and suggestions to reduce the burden of academically outstanding students who need more financial aid.
Once the discussion period is over, a representative from each group was chosen to present the problem and their solution on how to overcome said problem, the members will then debate and change the proposal accordingly. The first group that presented their case was the “facilities” group, their group proposed the refurbishment of a new student centre in the V2 foyer and adding more badminton and tennis courts to accommodate the increased number of students using the facilities. One issue that was hotly debated in the parliament was the proposal to remove gender segregation in the gym and swimming pools as a way to reduce congestion and to save the cost of upgrading and increasing the size of said facilities. On one side of the debate, the supporters of the proposal cite the fact that by doing so it could ease the congestion for the gyms as both male and females don’t have to wait to use the facilities. However, the opposition for the proposal brought up the fact of culture and gender sensitivity that necessitates the segregation.
Up next was the “Residential Village” group, in their presentation they proposed to increase the number of washing machines in all villages and to upgrade all existing toilets in the villages. Among the other proposals that they brought up were to add more fridges to v1 and v2 and to add more variety of food in the cafes. Most of the proposals went through without much debate. The next group to present was the “Student Development” group which I was a part of. (One of the solutions for the problem that we were given which was on how to reduce the burden of academically outstanding students who need more financial aid, we proposed to provide financial incentive to students that performed well in terms of academics and extra-curriculum as a form of motivation and to ease the burden for those that need and deserve it. ) / (For the problem of reducing the financial burden of academically outstanding students, we proposed to incentivize academics and extra-curriculum performance. This means to provide financial aid to those who need and deserve it while also motivating the rest to increase their own efforts.)
The final presentation came from SRCUTP themselves with the president of SRCUTP, Mr. Mohammad Naim presenting his proposal to revamp and change the election system for electing the HI-COM’s of the SRC. In his presentation, he mentioned the lukewarm turnout of voters every year. He suggested to change the system to the presidential system of election where the winner will have to create their own HI-COM instead of being chosen by popular vote.
At around 7.00PM all presentations were finally completed. The speaker then read back all the previous proposals and solutions to come up with any final solutions and amendments that were not brought up during the previous debate sessions. Once all solutions were finalized the parliament enters the voting process whereby each member of parliament gets to vote on which of the proposed solutions should be accepted or rejected. Most of the solutions that were brought up went through with a majority, however the members were split on a few issues such as removing the gender segregation in the gym and swimming pool. In the end, the motion was rejected.
At approximately 8.30PM the parliament was finally concluded. All motions that were passed will be sent by SRC to the management department for further discussion before being implemented in the university.