Urgent Appeal on UM Students

URGENT APPEAL
8 October 2009

To all,

Withdraw Disciplinary Charge on Six UM Students Immediately

Saw Yee Fung and five university students from University Malaya (UM) have been charged by university authority under Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) with the reason that inviting “outsiders” to judge a Chinese language debate competition on politics in the country. Those judges were Teresa Kok (Seputeh MP), Wong Nai Chee (MCA central committee member) and political commentator, Koh Kok Wee. They may be expelled, suspended or fined if found guilty.

They were asked to attend an inquiry on 12/10/2009 (Monday), 11.30am to determine if action is to be taken against them for violation of rules and regulations of the university.

We strongly feel that the UUCA charge should be withdrawn because:
a) The six students have done nothing wrong. They were only organizing a debate competition that provides a platform for intellectual discussion on current national issues.
b) Student’s organizations should enjoy autonomy in the campus to organize activities. The university authority should respect the autonomy of students and stop intimidates the university students for any activities.
c) The charges are unreasonable and politically motivated. The university authority intends to suppress student activities and spreading white terror in the campus. This action is against student’s freedom of expression.

Background of the incident:

On 8th September 2009, debate team under University Malaya Chinese Language Society has organized a debate competition on politics in the country. They have invited a few politicians to debate on the recent political development in Malaysia. Those politicians include Victor Gu and Teo Nie Ching. The organizer also invited Teresa Kok (Seputeh MP), Wong Nai Chee (MCA central committee member) and political commentator, Koh Kok Wee to be the judges for the debate competition.

Before the debate competition start, the organizer has been given warning by the Students Affairs Department through telephone. The reason given is that debate is politically oriented. However, the debate competition managed to carry on.

On 7th October 2009, five of the university students that involved in organizing the debate competition and the president of University Malaya Chinese Language Society, Saw Yee Fung were given summon letter. They were asked to attend an inquiry on 12/10/2009 (Monday), 11.30am to determine if action is to be taken against them for violation of rules and regulations of the university.

Violation of student freedom and autonomy

By charging the six students under UUCA is a form of suppression on university student autonomy. University students should be granted the freedom to organize activities that promotes intellectual discussion and critical thinking. The role of university is to provide environment that is conducive for activities to take place. In fact, the university should encourage more activities like this. This will enable more students to understand and participate in the recent national development.

It is also the freedom of university students to choose which guests to invite for an activity. Therefore, when the six students are charged for inviting “outsiders” to judge a Chinese language debate competition, it clearly violated the student autonomy. The ground given by the university authority does not stand because over the years, UM have invited many ministers, politicians and well-known personalities to attend events at UM. This clearly showed that there is double standard in this case.

Moreover, the university authority intends to suppress students with hidden agenda. All the suppressions are politically motivated. This is because after the debate competition has ended for 1 month, the university authority only takes action against the 6 university students. Therefore, we have the reason to believe that the suppression is getting worse especially near to campus election. The purpose of this action is to spread white terror to the students and restrict the freedom enjoyed by the university students.

Demands
Hence, DEMA calls upon authority of UM to withdraw any disciplinary charge from them immediately. DEMA also urges the authority of UM to respect the students autonomy.

What Can You Do?
1. Fax the sample letter below to UM authority immediately.

UM Vice Chancellor’s Office:
No. Fax: 03-7955 2975
Email: pej_nc@um.edu.my

2. Call UM authority to ask about the case and protest towards the UUCA charge on UM students.

UM Deputy Vice Chancellor
(Student Affairs & Alumni)
Associate Professor Datuk Dr. Azarae Hj. Idris
Tel: 03-7967 3201

Released by,
Lim Wei Sin
Malaysia Youth and Student Democratic Movement (DEMA)
Secretary of National Affairs
016-2802251
bushy.lim@gmail.com

Sample Letter

Please state your protest by sending a letter to the Vice Chancellor of University Malaya (UM).

To:
Y. Bhg. Professor Datuk Dr. Ghauth Jasmon
Vice-Chancellor
University of Malaya
50603 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Tel. No.: 03-7967 3213 / 3510 / 03-7956 8400
Fax No.: 03-7955 2975
Email: vc@um.edu.my / ghauth@gmail.com

Withdraw Disciplinary Charge on UM Students Immediately

We/I, ______________________ from ______________________, oppose the action of UM authority for charging six students under Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) with the reason that inviting “outsiders” to judge a Chinese language debate competition.

2. We/I strongly feel that the disciplinary charge should be withdrawn because:
a) The six students have done nothing wrong. They were only organizing a debate competition that provides a platform for intellectual discussion on current national issues.
b) Student’s organizations should enjoy autonomy in the campus to organize activities. The university authority should respect the autonomy of students and stop intimidates the university students for any activities.
c) The charges are unreasonable and politically motivated. The university authority intends to suppress student activities and spreading white terror in the campus. This action is against student’s freedom of expression.

3. By inviting ‘outsiders’ to activities in UM does not poses any threat to the university. In the past, many ministers, politicians and well-known personalities are invited to attend various events organized by university students. What is the ground to charge the six UM students for organizing debate competition as compared to the events mention above.

4. Activities that allow students to participate in intellectual discussion on the country’s current development should be encouraged. Moreover, these types of activities provide a good platform to encourage students to think critically on the current national issues, especially after the 308 political tsunami. The university authority should not prevent students from organizing such activities. The charging of the six students is a retrogression of democracy in UM.

4. We/I urge that UM authority:
a) to withdraw disciplinary charge from the six students immediately and unconditionally.
b) to respect the student autonomy and stop the intimidates on university students.
c) to preserve the freedom of expression of the students as stated in Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 10 of Federal Constitution in Malaysia, and uphold campus democracy.

Yours faithfully,

______________
( )

CC:
Y.B. DATO’ SERI MOHAMED KHALED BIN NORDIN
Menteri Pengajian Tinggi,
Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi,
Aras 7, Blok E3, Parcel E,
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,
62505 PUTRAJAYA.
Tel : +603-8883 5010
Faks : +603-8889 1952
Email : menteri@mohe.gov.my

3 thoughts on “Urgent Appeal on UM Students

  1. i support your guy..
    just fight..

  2. Pingback: 轉載國興〈聲援6名被傳召的馬大學生〉 « 冀竹軒

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