Students paid RM10 to attend PM’s ceramah
Ajinder Kaur

29 March: About 500 students of the Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) College in Setapak were given RM10 each by the campus administration to attend Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s meet-the-people session in Gombak yesterday.

One of the students who spoke on condition of anonymity to malaysiakini today said that the college’s Student Affairs Department had called on its students to attend the event.

He said that there were posters on campus urging students to participate. He added that he decided to go to the function after he was encouraged by his friends.

“We were only told that it was a PM’s ceramah (talk). We were not given any other information. On the day of the function, about 500 students gathered at the college grounds.

“Twelve buses then took us to Gombak. During the journey, two staff from the Student Affairs Department distributed sealed brown envelopes with RM10 in it and T-shirts with the prime minister’s photo on it to all the students,” he said.

He added that none of the students enquired about the money and the T-shirts while on board of the buses. Asked if the students were told to wear the T-shirts, he said “no”.

“But I feel that this is some kind of bribery for us to support the government. We are students and are not supposed to be involved in politics. What is the reason for the college to ask us to go to the ceramah?” he said.

Political speech

Yesterday, Mahathir gave a political speech to about 10,000 people at a rally in Kampung Mulia, Km-4, Jalan Gombak.

The event was organised by the Listeners, Viewers and Readers Group established by the Information Ministry to foster rapport between the government and the people.

At the function, Mahathir lambasted the opposition for allegedly seeking to overthrow the government by staging street demonstrations.

“By continuing campaigns right after the 1999 general elections, the opposition is dividing the people, especially by giving their khutbah (sermons) in the mosques to influence the Muslims,” he told the crowd.

He also took PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat to task for visiting former pig farmers in Bukit Pelanduk - the epicentre of the 1999 Nipah virus outbreak - two weeks ago.

He lamented the fact that PAS has refused to work with Umno as the party claims it is working for national unity, not Malay unity.