Three student activists who distributed leaflets publicising an upcoming forum to discuss the future of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim have drawn the ire of Universiti Malaya (UM) authorities.
The trio, who recently graduated from another university, were surrounded by about 20 security and hostel officials while having their dinner at a stall in the campus on Monday night.
They were grilled on the leafleting and one of them was even allegedly manhandled during the hour-long incident.
According to them, the hostel gates were also shut to prevent them from leaving the premises.
One of the activists managed to called the police using his mobile phone and a patrol car arrived at the scene and took the three to the Pantai police station.
The activists filed a police report claiming that they were detained illegally while the authorities filed a report accusing the three of illegal entry into the campus.
The activists involved are Ooi Tze Min, Ng Yong Jin and Ong Jing Cheng.
The three are part of the secretariat for the Malaysian Youth and Students Democratic Movement (Dema) – a student group which widely considered as ‘anti-establishment’.
‘They told cops to handcuff us’
Recalling the incident, Ooi told Malaysiakini that they went to the 2nd Residential College to promote the ‘916: Will Anwar become the prime minister?’ forum, which is to be held tomorrow.
The speakers at the forum consists of a MCA researcher, a PKR-elected representative and a Chinese youth group leader.
Following this, they had dinner at a nearby stall where a student approached them and requested for a leaflet, which is in Chinese.
According to Ooi, the student then informed the college administration about the matter.
“The college master arrived with two other officers and promptly closed the gates, preventing us from leaving. They also called more people to surround us,” he said, adding that they were treated roughly.
“One of them thumped Ong’s motorcycle and shouted at him, while another grabbed his face and questioned him,” he said.
He said the officers also demanded to see their identity cards and to inspect their bags but they refused. “An officer tried to put his hand into my pocket, but I stopped him,” he added.
Outsiders not allowed into residential colleges
When the police arrived later, Ooi said the university officers had asked them to handcuff the trio but the policemen refused to do so.
The student said he was disappointed with the university administration for refusing to provide more democratic space for students.
“Although the Higher Education Ministry has proposed to amend the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971, the university administration is still stubborn, not willing to give more rights to the students,” he added.
Contacted later, UM deputy vice-chancellor (student and alumni affairs) Azarae Idries confirmed that he received a report from the security office on the matter.
“According to regulations, outsiders are not allowed to enter the residential colleges without prior approval,” he stressed, adding that the college administration has contacted the security officers and police.
He said the university would let the security office and police investigate the matter. He also added that campus security will be tightened.