URGENT APPEAL: Lee Song Yong Suspended

URGENT APPEAL

24 November 2007

To all,

Cancellation of The Suspension for One Semester of Lee Song Yong Immediately

Lee Song Yong, second year Computer Science student from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has been suspended for one semester by the Disciplinary Board of UPM on 22 November 2007 after he was found guilty for not cooperating with security guard, questioning the task of security guard and obstructing the security guard from executing his duty, responsibility and functions.

We strongly feel that the penalty should be cancelled because:

  1. Lee Song Yong had given enough cooperation to the security guard by showing his matric card and waiting for the explanation before allowing his bag to be checked
  2. Security guard did not explain the reason/purpose to examine student’s bag. Even police also needs to tell the purpose before any checking.
  3. The officer who acted violently, did not introduce himself and seized Lee’s belongings was not investigated.

Background of the Incident

The incident happened in 22 August 2007, where Lee who is stopped at guard house refused to let his bag to be checked because there was no explanation from the security guard. Three plain clothes officer from Special Task Unit who arrived later grabbed the matric card and notebook from Lee without Lee’s consent. Lee lodged a police report on the same day. Three days later, a complaint has also been made against the security officer at the Security Department.

The campus authority did not take any action against the security guards who had abused his power and did not respect the rights and privacy of the student. Instead the same security guards had accused Lee on 14 November 2007 alleging that he did not cooperate and had challenged the security guard.

Disciplinary Proceedings on 22 November 2007

The first proceedings on 19 November 2007 has been adjourned to 22 November 2007. During the proceedings, the witnesses from Disciplinary Board which comprises of security guards including uniformed officer, special task unit and director of security Major Othman admitted that Lee had shown that he intended to cooperate by showing his matric card and did not attempt to escape. He only refused to allow his bag to be examined until he obtained the security officers’ explanation. The officers themselves had admitted that they did not give any reason when they are checking the bag of the students though it was part of the procedure.

However, Disciplinary Board has decided to impose heavy penalty which is to suspend him for one semester of study and warning was given.

The Power of Security Guard in UPM exceeds that of Police Force

In this case, we have seen that the power of the security guard exceeds that of police which is stated in Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), police can only do checking by giving explanation and follow strict procedures. It was obvious that security guard had abuse his power.

This incident also shows that the campus authority sides the security guard. The suspension shows that they want to create a climate of fear among the students and want the students to obey the limitless power of the security guard.

Despite calls by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) to halt the proceedings due to allegations of human rights infringement, the proceedings went on. The university’s administrative authority still held the proceedings in a hurry and imposes penalty onto Lee.

The Unfair Proceedings

The procedure of the hearing is obviously violating the basic rights of the student. Despite given a short notice to the hearing which make it difficult for Lee to make peparation, he was also denied legal representation by the campus authority. This is a violation of right to counsel which is included in Article 5(3) in Federal Constitution.

Track the record of oppression to students by UPM

This is not the first case of power abuse by security officer happened in UPM. Moreover, this phenomena is not strange for students in UPM, for example, the raid in hostel room of four female students during mid-night time in 2003, student representative Lim Ban Teng and Lua Khang Wei were treated rudely in 2004, proceedings towards 6 students who demanded a free and fair campus election in 2005, violence act of officer and pushing act towards students in the cafeteria of 12th College in UPM on 11 July 2006, and the Yee Yang Yang case where his laptop and belongings was seized without any reason on 14 September 2007.

Demands

DEMA calls upon the campus authority of UPM to cancel the unreasonable punishment towards Lee, state the checking procedure of security guard and take action against the security officers who had abused their power.

UUCA Gives ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Too Much Power

This phenomena is also because of too much power that is given to campus authority under UUCA(University and College University Act). As a result, power abuse of security always happen and shrink the democratic space in university and student rights is not protected. The quality of university worsens as its students restricted in the critical and creative mental development.

This is obviously shown by the position of UPM in the world’s top 200 universities ranking released by Times Higher Education Supplement(THES) two weeks ago. UPM, which never been listed in the top 200, still slipped 72 slots from 292 in 2006 to 364 in 2007.

Hence, DEMA calls upon Higher Education Ministry to abolish UUCA immediately so that campus democracy and academics freedom will be guaranteed. This is also an important step in improving the quality of university that worsens nowadays.

Release by,

Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)

Sample Letter

State your protest by sending a letter to the Vice Chancellor of Universiti Putra Malaysia

To:

Y. B. Dato’ Mustapa bin Mohamed

Menteri Pengajian Tinggi

Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi,

Blok E3, Parcel E,

Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,

62505 Putrajaya, Malaysia

Tel : +603-8883 5010

Faks : +603-8889 1952

Emel : menteri@mohe.gov.my

Cancellation of The Suspension for One Semester of Lee Song Yong Immediately

We/I from ______________________________, oppose to the action of campus authority that imposes one semester suspension penalty to Lee Song Yong, a second year Computer Science student from Universiti Putra Malaysia who stopped at guard house and refused to let his bag to be checked because there is no explanation from the security guard.

2. We strongly feel that the penalty should be cancelled because:

a. Lee Song Yong had given enough cooperation to the security guard by

showing his matric card and waiting for the explanation before allowing

his bag to be checked

  1. Security guard did not explain the reason/purpose to examine student’s bag. Even police also needs to tell the purpose before any checking.

c. The officer who acted violently, did not introduce himself and seized Lee’s

belongings was not investigated.

3. We/I feel that, the punishment towards Lee Song Yong shows that campus

authority sided security officers who abused their power and did not respect the rights and privacy of students. The penalty of suspension has created fear among students and make student have to obey to the limitless power of security guard.

4. We urge that campus authority

a. Cancel the suspension of one semester to Lee Song Yong immediately

b. State the checking procedure of security guard clearly

c. Take action against the security officers that abused their power

Besides that, we also call upon campus authority to stop any action that violates the rights of students in UPM and created a climate of fear among the students in the university. Campus authority should take care of the welfare and safety of the students and not being a threat to them.

Yours faithfully,

__________________

( )

CC:

Prof. Datuk Dr. Nik Mustapha bin R. Abdullah

Naib Canselor UPM

Pejabat Naib Canselor, Canselori UPM

43400 UPM Serdang,

Selangor, Malaysia.

Tel : +603-8946 6001 / 6002

Faks : +603-8948 3244

Emel : nc@putra.upm.edu.my

Please fax or email a copy to DEMA for documentation.

Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)

Tel / Faks : +603-7783 9525

Emel : demamalaysia@gmail.com

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