GEORGE TOWN, June 12 – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim emphasized the importance of providing students with the space to express their views and criticisms in order to enhance the standards and quality of universities. During the Temu Anwar@USM program held at Dewan Syed Putra, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Anwar revealed that he had discussed this matter with the Minister of Higher Education, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, and planned to convene a meeting with the vice-chancellors of all universities to further deliberate on the subject.

Anwar highlighted the significance of equipping higher education students with knowledge to facilitate sound assessments and critical thinking. He expressed the country’s aspirations for a young generation characterized by charisma, determination, confidence, courage, goals, and a clear sense of purpose in life. Anwar emphasized that students should transcend narrow racial boundaries and avoid religious extremism that fosters hatred within communities.

While acknowledging the constitutional provisions regarding the position of Islam and the special rights of Malays and Malay rulers, Anwar cautioned against sowing the seeds of hatred on these grounds. He stressed that acceptance of these principles should not serve as a basis for animosity, as individuals of all ethnicities and backgrounds possess inherent rights. Anwar urged young people to stand up and defend the nation’s deeply cherished values.

Turning to the role of leaders, Anwar underscored the importance of extensive reading to broaden one’s perspective and effectively serve the people. He cited the ongoing polemic surrounding Kedah’s claim over Penang, noting that the historical facts explaining the situation are readily available in numerous books. Anwar emphasized that true intelligence and wisdom require leaders to read extensively, drawing knowledge from hundreds of sources rather than relying on a single publication.

Anwar cautioned against the dangers of having limited knowledge, asserting that reading extensively can transform an ordinary person into a knowledgeable individual and a public intellectual. He urged aspiring leaders not to engage in superficial conversations but instead utilize knowledge to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives, particularly given the challenges of the current world.

The call for students to express their opinions and criticisms, coupled with a commitment to reading and knowledge acquisition, reflects Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s vision for empowering the youth and fostering an intellectually vibrant society. By promoting open dialogue and informed leadership, the aim is to elevate the standards and development of universities while safeguarding the core values of the nation.

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