Despite its abysmal performance in most public universities, the anti-establishment Pro-Mahasiswa faction has retained its Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) stronghold, sweeping all 26 seats in the fresh student body election held yesterday.

The voting process was done manually, after the electronic voting system displayed anomalous results last Tuesday, forcing the campus authority to annul the end result and hold a fresh election yesterday.

According to Pro-Mahasiswa spokesperson Mohd Hafizuddin M Noor, the faction has tightened its grip on UIA with the increase of three seats, compared with 23 seats it won last year.

Hafizuddin said the election results of the 12 seats in the UIA Kuantan campus were announced by the election committee in each faculty yesterday. Another five seats were kept for international students.

The Pro-Mahasiswa faction was able to defend the three universities in which it won last year - Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and UIA, while the rival group Pro-Aspirasi, which is said to be backed by Umno, scored victories in at least 11 out of 20 public universities.
'IIUM students are neutral'

However, Utusan Malaysia quoted UIA deputy rector Mizan Hitam as saying that the student representatives council of UIA was not controlled by either Pro-Aspirasi or Pro-Mahasiswa.

"I would like to stress again that there is no candidate from any camp in UIA. The students succeeded in maintaining a neutral stance.

"We are proud with this situation. So all 31 winners will form the student representative council and embrace the visions of the university, not the principles of certain parties," Mizan is quoted as saying.

He also announced that the turnout rate was 68.2 percent, which was slightly lower than the 70.5 percent recorded last year.

The campus election was also monitored by the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), which Mizan said was satisfied with the voting process.