Allied Aeronautics Training Centre (AATC) Student Arrests – Let’s put some Matters in Perspective

by S.Arutchelvan

  1. Today seven students from the Allied Aeronautics Training Centre (AATC) and PSM activist Sharan Raj were arrested. According to police these arrests were under Section 186- Obstruction. We would definitely argue that these protests should be allowed by the principles of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, guaranteed in Article 10 of the Constitution. The police should be more tactful as it seems that they were acting on the interests of the college.
  2. The students said they went to the police station to lodge a report before seeking justice from their management. However, they were turned away by the police because their system was down. The Police should have taken responsibility and handled the matter better.
  3. The core issue is that the AATC initially promised all their students that they would receive PTPK loans to settle their education fees. However later they tried to coerce the students to take up personal loans from Affin Bank to pay the dues instead. These personal loans would be at 8% interest. This is the problem with private colleges who lure students with false promises they are unable to keep. So the students end up being victims.
  4. The Students then organised themselves and 164 students out of 182 formed a Student Union and wrote a letter to the management expressing their unhappiness. And what did the Management do? They expelled the President and the Secretary of the Union. Isn’t this Union Busting?
  5. Though many students could not afford to pay the fees, the management zeroed in on expelling the two student leaders. This itself shows how rather than resolving the issues, they have gone witch-hunting.
  6. Next, some people tried to put in a racial twist by asking Maszlee to resign. Then others said that this college is under the Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR) under M.Kulasegaran. Actually the biggest problem is neo-liberal policies: making profit out of private education. PSM is disappointed that such an issues affecting students of all races can be twisted to have a racial agenda.
  7. The management also tried to portray PSM activist Sharan Raj as an outside instigator trying to use the students. Again why would student seek PSM help if everything was OK?
  8. Again and again. more and more people are really feeling disappointed with the state of affairs and are seeking PSM help. We are also surprised why they have not gone to seek justice from the big parties in the country. PSM is overwhelmed with work but our role has always been to empower the people to fight for their rights. If people call this opportunism, let it be.
  9. We are happy not to stir up racial or religious sentiments to gain support. Every issue needs to be viewed objectively, based on facts, truth and justice.
  10. We are happy that all the eight arrested have been released. We thank PSM supporters and lawyers as well as the brave students who stood in solidarity outside. We hope the police would change focus. Rather than investigating the victims, instead go after those who cheated these poor students seeking an education and a future.

    National Deputy Chairperson of PSM

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