Several public universities have issued public notices discouraging their students from participating in tomorrow’s People’s Uprising Rally in Kuala Lumpur.
Today Universiti Malaya’s student affairs department posted a notice on their official Facebook saying, “Students are not encouraged to participate in the (People’s Uprising Rally 112).
“It is reminded that this is the semester’s final examinations period, and students need to prioritise this for the sake of their future.
“The excellence, welfare and safety of our students is the university’s priority,” read the posting.
Meanwhile yesterday Sultan Idris Education University (UPSI) posted a notice on their official website telling students to “avoid the rally”.
“The student affairs department and alumni (JHEPA) advises all UPSI undergraduates to avoid involvement in the People’s Uprising Rally… in any of the locations announced by the organisers,” read the terse notice.
Organisers of the People’s Uprising Rally are calling on participants to join seven processions towards Stadium Merdeka before the Saturday rally officially gets underway, including Universiti Malaya mosque.
They also stood their ground today on using Stadium Merdeka, instead of Bukit Jalil Stadium as the police had suggested.
Meanwhile Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah when asked on Twitter to respond to UPSI’s notice, today replied in a tweet, “It is okay to advise, but not to forbid.”
Last April, in a landmark amendment to the Universities and University Colleges Act students were no longer forbidden from participating in politics and holding positions in political parties.
‘UiTM Sabah raided dorms’
Meanwhile a student group from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Sabah has slammed the varsity for being “behind the times” in respecting students’ rights to freedom of assembly, in allegedly trying to hinder participation at Sabah’s concurrent rally.
Hariyadie Karmin, coordinator of the NGO coalition for the rights of Sabahan (Gegar) in a statement today alleged that UiTM authorities had raided students’ rooms in search of materials related to the Himpunan Sabah Bangkit.
“Recently on Jan 10, Gegar received information that two women students’ rooms were raided by five men – three university staff and two volunteer policemen.
“The raid is believed to be aimed at searching for proof of involvement of the students in the Himpunan Sabah Bangkit on Jan 12 and for circulating flyers titled ‘Rights to assembly’ that were slipped under the doors of every hostel in UiTM recently,” she said.
In the raid on the first room, the four occupants were questioned whether they were responsible for circulating the flyers, and whether they were attending the rally tomorrow.
“Before they left, one of the officers warned the students that if any of them attended the rally, they would be expelled,” said Hariyadie.
In the second raid, the officials went through the occupants’ books and files in search of evidence, and allegedly tried to open their cupboard. One officer also allegedly told the occupants that the mastermind behind the flyers was a non-Muslim attempting to instigate UiTM students.
She said the raid left the occupants slightly “traumatised” with the university’s move to send male officers to the women’s dormitory.
She said the university has contravened three universal basic human rights principles that is freedom of expression, of assembly and of privacy.
“The act of raiding the women’s dormitory at night without any prior notice whatsoever constitutes an uncivilised and unethical act,” she said.
While acknowledging the university’s right to enter the student’s premises, she said courtesies should nevertheless be observed so that the student’s privacy is protected.