Olitical Participation Is The Activities Conducted Education Essay

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This chapter provides a review of the literature of the factors on participation of undergraduate student in politics. This chapter also discovered the impacts that resulted following student participation in politics. The literature review is constructed based on the previous research or study that has been made by other researcher regarding the participation of undergraduate student in politics.

2.1 Introduction

According to Seyd and Whiteley (2002), political participation is the activities conducted by the individuals that aimed to influence the policies and the government by the act of campaigning, organizing association, organized fund-raising, attend meetings as well as seeking post in politics. Thus, in the context of university student participation in politics, student engages in formal political processes such as voting in campus elections, organized social activities, street protests, demonstration, students rally, community meetings (Fournier, Bernard and Reuchamps, 2008) and also organized public speaking (Saifuddin Abdullah, 2009).

Levine and Cureton (1998a) found that 73% of student believed that they could produce societal change through their participation in politics. As a result, undergraduate student developed a sense of personal responsibility that led them to protest and demonstrate against undue practices. In order to be part of a democratic country, student participates through voting and connecting with political leaders. Students also choose to engage in community services and activities that can reflect their involvement in the politics and as well as become a part of democratic country.

Nowadays, university student organizations have more diverse interests than students in the past. Student organizations are more concerned on the issues of human rights, social justice, and global connectedness when they performed demonstrations. This has caused several changes and amendment in the university policies in order to suit with the needs of university student through the amendment under Section 15 and 16 of University and University Colleges Act (UUCA).

2.2 Factors on Participation of University Student in Politics

Student movements occur without planning and they form demonstration if they felt their interests have been threatened by other party (Keniston, 1967). According to Junaidi Abu Bakar (1993) in his book titled "Mahasiswa, Politik dan Undang-undang" highlights several factors that cited by Sherif and Sherif (1956) in the study of the relationship between the factors of undergraduate student in political and the factors that lead to the implementation of UUCA in the university. The factors such the background of the family, economic, social, cultural, education and religion, the attitudes and values towards political, social, moral and religious, past experience and the characteristics of students oneself had influence undergraduate student to involved in politics. The weaknesses of university administration such as stricter rules imposed on the student, burden of learning, uncomfortable learning conditions, less facilities provided for student also contributor factor that lead student towards politics. However, in this study we emphasized on three factors that have been stressed out by several researchers in their studies in order to be implemented and discovered its reliability in the context of Malaysian undergraduate participation in politics.

2.2.1 Political Influence

Weeramunda (2008) found out that the weaknesses in administration of universities leads student to protests and demonstrate their eager that could lead to violence and indiscipline. Insufficient facilities and poor student welfare in the university also lead to the factor of undergraduate student to involve in politics in and off campus through student associations. Prior to the study conducted by Weeramunda, outside politicians that interfere in any university administration affairs also become the additional contributors towards student participation in politics. Political parties are also having authority in the form of selecting and appointments of several posts in the university as well as its executive or officers. The involvement of politicians in university gives impact either directly or indirectly towards student participation in politics.

Alam Gazi et al. (2011) stated that the students join political parties because the influence of student association and the political party. These situations become clearer when there is limited and insufficient facilities provided in the university. This situation happen because most facilities is only provided for those who joining student association and participate in politics. The author also found that students join political association in campus for the purpose of earning extra money in order to support their studies in the university. The university also encourage student to join the political associations if they want a good grade in academics. The student activity in campus can't be controlled. This is because, there are no specific rules and regulation that restricted or controls the student activities in the university.

With reference to political issue in Malaysia, the Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Noh Omar said that the institutes of higher education (IPT) students need to avoid from becoming the opposition alliances when come to the issue of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN). The statement issued by the opposition leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is to bait and influence the undergraduate student in order to increase support for the opposition party, help to carry out their political agenda and involved in their street protests. He also stated that undergraduate student is easily to be manipulated by the opposition party.

Research conducted by Bernard Fournier (2008) on Youth Political Interest, Political Participation and Civic Education in French-Speaking Belgium. The researcher shows that in 2007, two-thirds of the respondents have involved in different forms of participation which is 40% students belong to a sports association, 15% involve in youth movement like scouts or guides, 25% in cultural association and 8% involve in an association for defending human rights. The statistics shows that only the minority of student that has high interest in politics. The participation of politics only involved the minority number. Students become the members of political parties or carry out the political manifesto for the purpose of defending human rights, the interest of organizations and the political parties. This study emphasized that participation of student in politics only joined by the minority of students.

According to Danielle Resnick and Daniela Casale (2011), the minority of students in campus describe the participation of undergraduate student in politics as a democratic practice in the country. They also believe that participate in protesting, demonstrations or political manifestos are the formal activities of undergraduate student in campus. The undergraduate student are said much more likely to be an active democratic citizens through the participation in politics. With reference to this condition, its totally leads to an increasing number of student participation in politics.

According to Spaiser (2011) in one research titled Young People's Political Participation on the Internet in Germany: Empowered Ethnic Minority Groups has shows clearly that minority groups are even more politically active on the participation of politics in the internet rather than the majority group of Germans. The minority group seems to become more politically interest in terms of education and socio-economic status. This study also shows the significant differences between the different minority groups.

2.2.2 Peer Influence

According to research conducted by Mathew (1994) on Political Socialization of Student Organization in Kerala with reference to Mahatma Gandhi University, he stated that the campus conditions provide the background for student's political activities. The family background and socio economic status become factors that attract student in politics when come into contact with their friends in the college (Cited in Lipset and Altbach, 1969). Mathew (1994) also emphasis the political instability, influence from political parties, peer group basis, student organizational and the involvement of minority student lead towards participation of university student's in politics. Excessive demand by the university towards student also influences them to participate in politics. Examination system that is not standardized in the university leads them to become more aggressive. Students also easily influence by their friend to join student organizations and involved in political activities. Students feel that the organizational life is full with sense of commitment, purpose, and high intimacy among the student that attract them to joined student organizations. On the other hand, other students also feel that they have a responsibility to take part in both in politics and academic roles in university.

The study conducted by Weidman (2006) on Socialization of Students in Higher Education College focus on the environment in the institutions, the institutions of learning, the individual characteristics of the undergraduate student and the experiences that undergraduate student have while entering university. The university environment also had influence student to involve in politics. The size of higher education institution, type of control and authority possess to administrate the welfare of student, and mission and resources also can influence the student to be involved in politics. The environment in the university such as the academic level, social, cultural practices and political climate that conducted by the faculty or student organizations of the campus may also influence the participation of undergraduate student in politics. Thus, this study stressed out the importance of the peer group as mediator or influencer that can influence the decision and the action of undergraduate student in the institutions, influence the decision of student organizations, the administrative of institutions, and also can influence undergraduate student to participate in politics. Peer groups come from the minority of undergraduate student that have their on characteristics to serve as a locus of personal, behavioral, and structural influences in the institutions in order to influence undergraduate student to involve in political party.

According to research done by Greene and Homana (2005), undergraduate student participation in democratic government and social organizations are necessary in civic participation of politics and to sustained democracy in the country. This civic participation includes trust, goodwill and fellowship among the student in the university by sharing similar norms and values. These norms and values make them easy to interact with one another and supporting them in term of economic and political structures. The study shows that the integration of student in higher learning institutions can develop a political will and civic participation among undergraduate student especially those who surrounded by peers and mentors that encouraged them to participate. Thus, the undergraduate can participate in politics, elected their chosen representatives and can become a member of their selected political parties. The university plays an important role in the involvement of undergraduate student in political party which in addition can help undergraduate student to develop their self-efficacy, instrumentality, and build social capital. Most of students hold the status of adolescence.

According to Furman & Buhrmeiister (1992) as cited by Christine Schmid (2012) in his research titled 'the value "social responsibility" as a motivating factor for adolescents' readiness to participate in different types of political actions, and its socialization in parent and peer contexts', during adolescence, the action become more widens and peers become more prominent persons in adolescents' social networks as the other contexts like friendships, school, leisure time activities and mass media may become the influential part in life. It is a well-known phenomenon that adolescents is tends to choose friends who share the same interests and attitudes. According to Schmid (2012), the value social responsibility of adolescents and that of their friends was assessed independently, which allows an unbiased view of adolescents with their friends. Only attitudes or values that are of a particular relevance or saliency in the everyday interactions between adolescents and their friends may become a subject for similarity.

2.2.3 Student Organizations

Rosas M., (2010) stated that the student organization or student body are part of the legal organization in the universities and colleges. The increases in number of higher learning institutions have increase the opportunity of undergraduate student to enrolled universities or colleges and engage with student body. Undergraduate student had more opportunities to become members of several student body or organizations within their institutions. Colleges and universities became centers where undergraduate student could meet and exchange ideas. Undergraduate student were also encouraged to question the action of the institutions, government and any parties whom they believe is right and seek meaningful professions in their life. In this study student organizations are the secondary groups that work as an agent of political parties. The involvement of undergraduate student as a secondary group developed oneself to become apprenticeship that has good relationships in the political world. In the context of political participation the members of the group equip themselves with the skill, information, and predispositions that are necessary for it.

Knudson (1999) as cited in Mckinney (2009) stated that most students will only involved in campus organizations after being encouraged by friends. Many students come to college want to involve in something because they were involved in certain organization and club since they were in school. There are several example of student organization in UiTM which are:

Student Representative Council (MPP)

Student Representative Council or in summary SRC (MPP) is the main representative body of students at the MARA University of Technology and was established in accordance with the provisions of Section 7 of Part 3 of Laws of Malaysia Act 1974 of the Education Institutions (Discipline) Regulations 1976. The member selection of the MPP is of the student's voice in campus election held once a year. Student representative Council 2011/12 UiTM Shah Alam Session consist of 52 members of the committee that the participation of 26 faculties in UiTM Shah Alam, including the two satellite campuses which is Puncak Perdana and Puncak Alam. All the selective members are students who have been entrusted to represent students of their faculties and to bring the more generic UiTM Shah Alam. The council is headed by the President or widely known as Yang Dipertua (YDP) that assisted by Vice President or known as Naib Yang Dipertua (NYDP) and also by the Executive council of other MPP and Exco. In addition to that, the MPP has also been accounted for as a representative to the international UiTM Shah Alam as an ambassador. Various activities, sports, academics as well as get involve with local government bodies, state and federal directly or indirectly, including quasi-governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations (www.mpp.uitm.edu).

Secretariat of Undergraduate Faculty (SMF)

Secretariat of Undergraduate Faculty (SMF) is an organization that established under the Student Affairs of UiTM and Student Representative Council (MPP). The MPP is the advisor of this organization. The establishment of this organization is for the purpose of catering the need and welfare of the students at the faculty level. Any matters regarding to welfare of students is the main concern of MPP and as Secretariat can also become the 'back-bone' of MPP, welfare of students is also SMF's concern. Students can refer to the SMF for getting information regarding to college, house rental or scholarship and SMF have to take responsibility by referring students to the sources. SMF is also indirectly give a hand to the MPP in carrying out an activity either at the faculty or university levels (www.law.uitm.edu.my).

Gabungan Mahasiswa UiTM Semalaysia (GAMUS)

Gabungan Mahasiswa UiTM Semalaysia (GAMUS) is unregistered student association in UiTM which established under tagline "Penyebar Idealisme Mahasiswa UiTM Seluruh Malaysia". This student organization functions to spread the current information about UiTM and providing opinions towards any restructuring of UiTM as well as its administrative matters and voicing out students interest for better structure of UiTM (www.gamusofficial.blogspot.com).

2.3 Impacts towards Participation of University Student in Politics

2.3.1 Positive impacts towards university student

According to Mathew (1994), also found that the influence of politics in university has developed student awareness and interest to join the activities conducted by the student organizations and university. The student organizations are said to have influence on other students to involve in political matters in prior to protect their interests and right in a democratic country. The activities conducted by the student organizations in the university has enable student to distinguish their right as a student in the university. Student organizations in university have become a mediator to assist and encourage undergraduate to participate in the politics as well as making decision in the administration and management of university include the decision on the educational matters. In addition, the privileges and facilities provided by the university were said to support the student activities and student is given permission to participate in university student organization.

According to Rosas (2010), student are given opportunities to participate and people in the political arena may motivate them through their involvement in politics such as to increase the student development, develop good cooperation among student and the political party to work with each others, and developing civic responsibility among student. However, this opportunity is requiring the freedom in decision making process for their community and society as a whole. Participation in political activities also may encounter new social situations as people may motivate them to learn about values, attitudes, and philosophy in life. Students that have high political influence are said to likely involve in various activities for certain party and they also tend to use authority to voice out their interest and right in term of writing a letters to newspapers for certain issues as well as election of certain officials, conducting public speaking and boycotting. The student participation in politics had influence the political activities and society in the country. Thus, the participation of undergraduate student in politics had developed student knowledge, foster humanitarianism and developed strong interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. Political activities like demonstrations may also acquire a set of skills through their involvement in demonstrations. This includes the leadership skill through leading the rally and the sense of humanitarianism and knowledge in current issues.

2.3.2 Negative impacts towards university student

According to Alam Gazi et al. (2011), the participation of student in politics may also give negative impact in several aspects. In the study shown that student participation in politics have no respect for both of their parents, lecturer and other authority. In democratic country, as a student they have their right to voice out their demand and need. Even the demand made by the student may change the social structures and social relations in the country, some demands sometimes lead them to violence and irregular behavior. Moreover, students were not only given a wider knowledge when they enrolled in the university, but the knowledge also gaining through the influence of political party in the institution. Thus, through their enrollment and influence from politics, student holds an ideology and believes of democracy and socialism to justify their claims and used any other means to voice out their claims no matter how even they have to use violence. The students that participate in politics are also said to neglect their studies in university and they used their time to involve in demonstration and other activities to demonstrate political issues. However, most of the issues demonstrated by the student is not related or did not bring any positive consequences for them. Political parties have been successfully exploiting the normal life of students in campus by spreading an ideology and manifesto of the parties especially during the general election. The political parties also have said are using students as their tools to get support as the student involvement will create extra benefit for certain political party. The ideology and influence of the party have lead student to work as a tool of the political party by conducting demonstration and carry out their manifesto. The involvement of students in politics is also known as the hijackers of the 'ballot paper'. They also force and influence other people to contribute vote to their party in favor. Students are also said to force and threatening the lecturers to provide them with the examination questions and also tends to commit plagiarism in their assignment. The situations become worsen when the university authorities cannot take any action on student discipline due to their connection with the political party. It become more critical when other people that have more capability and qualification in politics felt insecure when the position is filled by the student and the competition in the job market also increase because of the existence of politics in the process of applying job.

Mathew (1994) has highlight several opinions expressed regarding the indiscipline and irresponsible behavior of undergraduate students as the result of their involvement in politics. Following to this political involvement problem, the society keep blaming the political parties due to their influence in student life which caused dramatic changes of student behavior, attitudes and the management of the institutions. He stated delayed in management and inadequate response from the authorities of university in managing the student welfare has encouraged student toward strikes. Thus, the attitude of the students can cause violence and vandalism. However, the reason for indiscipline and irresponsible behavior of undergraduate students as the result of their involvement in politics would be vary among campus, the faculty and the issue that student uphold. Even though the reasons vary the method and the nature of the student struggle remain the same among campus. In addition, the involvement of student in politics has result them to become uncontrolled and immoral and student also seems to have no longer respect toward their lecturer and the authority. Other reason that been stressed out in this study following the indiscipline of college student is lack of maturity. Student political activism becomes dangerous when they make use of unconstitutional means to achieve their interests. They sometimes find it difficult to communicate with the university authorities as the university is bureaucratic institutions and the establishment of various student bodies are become a 'watch dog' for the institution with the purposed to control and restrict the student activities in campus.

2.3.3 Positive impact towards university

Persson (2003) stated that university is the institution or place that helps to develop student academic, increase self performance and confident level, innovative and goal oriented. The involvement of student in politics in the university have influence student decision making in preserving their welfare through student organization and student bodies especially in the development, management and administration of university. Thus, the university could improve the facilities as to increase student welfare and as well as to become the better education institutions. He also indicates that student participation in politics able to influence decision-making in the administration of university which gives significance for both student and the institution. The student voice are very important in preserving welfare of student and smoothing the university administration especially in the issues relating with student welfare and the student affairs, society, education and learning issues. However, student decision are still absent in the matters of university finances, employment of staff and student admission requirements. The study also highlighted the education systems in United State, Canada and Africa have suggested the important of student participation in administration of university especially in the matters related to student academic and performance and the development of university are important to ensure the harmonious and integrity among student and university. Therefore, the involvement of student in politics in the administration of university in term of decision making is important to preserve the harmonious and peaceful life of student and university.

2.3.4 Negative impact towards university

Alam Gazi et al. (2011) also stated that the student involvement in politics in Bangladesh has resulting to the establishment of Police Camp in order to control the student movement and activities especially on strike which always occur in campus. The involvement of student in politics has increase the number of demonstrations in the campus and violence has become the foreseeable feature of such demonstrations. He also stated that students have destroyed many public properties and facilities inside and outside the campus. The political activities of students have encouraged criminal behavior in the campus.

Mathew (1994) stated when the university is politicized, corruption increase and the appointments to posts are made not on the basis of merit but inappropriate considerations which are through his or her position or influence in politics. The post of the Pro-Chancellor in university also appointed based on his or her merit in politics. The participation of student in politics has resulting several demonstrations which bringing disruptive inside and outside campus. Excessive demonstrations also have disrupted the educational process in campus. The author also said that the aims and purpose of the involvement of student in politics are doubtful because their purpose is not to protect student interests but to keep their party politics alive in the campus. In this research, Mathew also stated that political activities of the students have encouraged criminals on the campus. The criminal and anti-social activities aid student organizations to win in campus elections by terrorizing their opponents. Student politics has led a large number of agitations in the campus and violence has become the foreseeable feature of such agitations. As another impact of political participation, the educational institutions have becoming the recruiting centre where the student organization has become the recruiting agents of political parties. The student organization plays role in conducting propaganda and manifestos for the party in favor and promoting membership for other student to join and support those party.

With reference to the research done by Saifuddin Abdullah (2009), the conditions of the university also give impact towards the student movement. The rules and regulations that imposed towards undergraduate student are loosened and not stringent compared to the rules and regulations imposed on high school student. Thus, it gives undergraduate student the time and opportunity to involve in politics, carried out demonstrations and political manifesto. The involvement of students in politics has become a problematic issue towards Malaysian government when the undergraduate student movements become socialist and show their support to the opposition party especially during the general election. In year 1960s until 1970s, the involvement of student in politics in Malaysia has leads to several devastating demonstrations and damaging of many public properties and facilities inside and outside the campus. During that time, many demonstrations lead by student activist and student organization such as PBMUM, PMIUM, PKPM, PKPIM and many others are mostly from the University Malaya. University Malaya was the first university built in Malaysia in 1961.

2.4 Astin's Theory of Involvement Input-Environment-Output (I-E-O) Model

According to Astin's theory model (1999) of involvement stated that students learn more when they are involving in both academic and social aspects of the college experience. The participative student is person that gives considerable energy to academics, spending much time in university, participates actively in student organizations and activities, and often interacts with the faculty. On the other hand, unparticipative students are more often to neglect their focus on studies, do not spend much time in the university, does not involves in an extracurricular activities, and rarely initiate or have a low contact with faculty or other students.

The "Input-Process-Output" Astin model is where the student is developed by the faculty and by university programs. This theory emphasized that the student plays the significant role in determining their own degree of involvement whether high or low in university, classroom, extracurricular activities and any other social activities. Astin states that the degree of the student's involvement will reflect the level of student learning and their self-development. The involvement requires student to invest their time and energy in academic, relationships and any activities which related to the campus and student's interests and goals, as well as the students are giving their commitments towards the activities conducted. According to Astin (1999), the theory of involvement has given beneficial for the educational approaches because it really concentrating on the motivation and students behavior in the university.

Thus, by referring to Astin's Theory, the characteristic of undergraduate student will be use as an Input (I). The characteristics of undergraduate student are obtained through the demographic data in our questionnaire. Through the data that we obtained, we can find out student detail and information and their experiences involving student organization in the university, student interest in politics and other information that reliable. The factors used in this study such as the political influence, peer influence and student organizations that signify the Environment (E) in which motivate participation of undergraduate student in politics in the implementation of Universities and University College Act (UUCA) 2012. Thus, these factors can be identified through student knowledge and their interest that motivated student in politics in Malaysia.

The Output (O) in Astin's Theory signify the outcomes or the impact whether student participation in politics gives positive or negative impact towards undergraduate student oneself and higher institution of learning. The impacts are based on participation of undergraduate student in politics in the implementation of Universities and University College Act (UUCA) 2012. After conducting the questionnaire, the data will be collected using a set of question survey and will be analyzed based on the data collection. Thus, we can discover the impacts of undergraduate student participation in Malaysian politics. Through the data, we will be able to develop the recommendation in order to improve or lessen the impacts that might arise regarding political participation towards undergraduate student oneself and higher institution of learning.

Figure 2.4: Astin's I-E-O Model

2.5 Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework in this study has been divided into two main categories which is independent variable and dependent variable. Independent variable consists of the factor for this study. The factors used in this study of Malaysian undergraduate student participation in politics such as political influence, peer influence and student organizations. The impact is based on participation of undergraduate student in politics in the implementation of Universities and University College Act (UUCA) 2012 which will be obtained through the questionnaire. The impact emphasized on the implementation of UUCA in undergraduate student oneself and higher institution of learning.



Political Influence

Peer Influence

Student Organizations




Individual/Student oneself

Higher Institution of Learning

Figure 2.5: Conceptual Framework

Source: Own research

2.6 Hypothesis

The framework expects that factors participation of undergraduate student in politics by obtain the perception of undergraduate students towards the implementation of Universities and University College Act (UUCA) 2012 can be determine based on three factors. There are such (1) political influence, which describes the pressure from outside political parties towards undergraduate student participation in politics; (2) peer influence, which describes the influencers that motivate student to engage in politics; and (3) student organizations, which describes the authority used to influence participation of student in politics.

First factor is political influence. The political influence can motivate the undergraduate students to participate in politics. Undergraduates is said to be easily influenced by the politics as they are now highly exposed with the political publications and activities related to politics. There is also the implication of the student political participation towards individual and higher learning institution. The relationship between political influence factors and both implication will be determine.

H1: There is the relationship between political influence and the participation impacts towards individual and higher learning institution.

Second factor is peer influence. The peer influence can motivate the student to participate in politics and the implication that arise. The peer may influence student behavior and attitude. The students are tends to follow the behavior of their peers especially if they are the members in a group. For any view, opinion or belief about politics by the peers said to become an attraction for students to participate in politics. The influence of peers is said to have relationship with the both implications which is individual and higher institution of learning implications.

H2: There is the positive relationship between peer influence and the participation impacts towards individual and higher learning institution.

Third factor is student organization. Student organization also can influence students to be participative in politics and the implication that arise. Student organization becomes the mediator between the student and higher institution of learning. Student organizations help in open the opportunities for the student to become members of their preferred parties. Student organizations have their own interest to be pursued as they play their role as student representatives. So that, all the associations established or organized by students have their own pursued interest and students that have the same interest with them tend to directly or indirectly participate in student organization activities.

H3: There is the relationship between student organization and the participation impacts towards individual and higher learning institution.