Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase has cautioned government against being in a haste to pass the Public Universities Bill (PUB).

Muntaka Mubarak said passing the Bill without making necessary amendments won’t augur well for the country.

“This is not the right time to pass this Bill because it is going to agitate all of us and get people to take entrenched positions,” he said.

This follows the presentation of the Bill to house again barely two weeks to the dissolution of the current parliament even after various criticism from stakeholders.

Concerns have been raised by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) on the legality of the Bill and its attendant negative effects on public tertiary education in Ghana.

The Minority Chief Whip has argued that it is necessary to halt processes involved in the passage of the Bill to prevent a spillover into the next parliament which will not feature most of the current MPs.

“If we start two weeks to our new Parliament, with these kind of walk outs, there will be spill over and it will not be good for the next [Parliament]. So I encouraged the Minister that this is not the time for the Bill.

“Yes now, they [NPP] may have majority but you may end up having to vote on every clause and that will require the presence of all the Members to come and vote and move on and when that happens, you’re going to have a Bill that clearly shows huge division and doesn’t augur well for our country,” he added.

He further stated that there are sections of the Bill that undermines academic freedom, adding that broader stakeholder engagements must be held to resolve outstanding the issues against the Bill.

“The first Bill was going to affect academic independence. When this second one came, though I have not had the opportunity to read all of it, I’ve read a section of it. And I continue to see that in the case of the councils and its compositions it can affect academic independence

“That challenge can be resolved when it gets to the floor of Parliament. We [MPs] can argue to change the composition so that we will make the composition such that the UTAG and the already organised groups will be more than those that government can appoint,” Mr Mubarack said.

He further noted that “let’s do it at a time that we can all soberly reflect, having had a lot of discussions and some compromises with the academic side so that when we are moving forward we are moving forward with a Bill that is largely agreed by them so that it can be faster and easier.

‘But in its current form and with all these confusions, any attempt to say that we are going to do it on the floor will generate unnecessary heat in the house and that will not be good for the house,” he stated.