Hornbill Unleashed

November 7, 2014

No regrets, say UM students facing disciplinary board over Anwar rally

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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Eight Universiti Malaya students will appear before a disciplinary board this morning for organising a rally with opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim last week. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, November 7, 2014.ELIZABETH ZACHARIAH

Eight Universiti Malaya students will appear before a disciplinary board this morning for organising a rally with opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim last week

It’s D-day for eight Universiti Malaya students who are scheduled to appear before a disciplinary board this morning for organising a rally with opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim last week.And despite the prospect of being expelled from the institution, they said they did not regret their actions.

The charges against the eight, described as “ridiculous”, range from attending an illegal rally to using a loud hailer.

“I knew what I was getting myself into even before the rally and I am ready to face it,” Universiti Malaya (UM) Undergraduates’ Association (PMUM) vice-president Haw Yu Hong told The Malaysian Insider.

“I have no regrets. I am mentally prepared for what is coming,” he said.

At the end of the nine-hour proceedings today, the students will know their fate – whether it will be a slap on the wrist (a RM200 fine or a warning letter) or a suspension or worse –expulsion.

The “Anwar Ibrahim: 40 Years from UM to jail” rally on October 27 was banned by university authorities, who also ordered a campus lockdown ahead of the event to prevent Anwar from entering the grounds.

A crowd forced open the main gates at its Kuala Lumpur/Bangsar entrance and marched onto the campus grounds. Anwar later entered the campus and addressed some 2,000 students.

Four days later, Haw and seven other students, including PMUM president Fahmi Zainol, were served with disciplinary notices and asked to attend a hearing today.

Fahmi was slapped with nine charges, while UM Pro-Mahasiswa president Safwan Shamsuddin faces three charges and the rest, two each.

Haw said the charges were ridiculous and added that he had very little to do with organising the rally besides contacting the media.

“I was not in the working committee. If I can be charged with standing there, so can the HEP (Student Affairs Division).”

Expressing disappointment in the university, the 22-year-old said his only regret was believing in the university.

“I regret believing in HEP, I regret believing in the university. It is not a democracy but a monarchy, headed by the vice-chancellor,” he said.

If the worst happened and he was expelled, Haw said he might pursue his dreams as a musician or a songwriter.

“I might even continue my studies overseas but in another field,” said the third-year engineering student, adding that his parents, especially his father, have been supportive of his activism.

Despite the threat of expulsion, Khairol Najib Hashim, 22, who is the president of the Persatuan Mahasiswa Islam Universiti Malaya (PMIUM), also said he was not afraid to face the disciplinary board.

“In fact, we have become braver and bolder after receiving the letter. I am ready to face whatever the outcome of the proceedings,” he said.

The third-year Islamic Political Science student, who is facing two charges, said his parents were initially worried about him but after he had explained his position and the struggles of the students, they became supportive.

“They understand now. They know why we are doing this and why we are in this position. I told them that the Universities and University Colleges Act (AUKU) was unconstitutional and we had to fight it,” he added.

“We shouldn’t have received these disciplinary letters. It goes against our rights as students under the constitution.”

Third-year law student Abraham Au, who is also facing two charges, said if he was expelled, he would use his case to appeal for a judicial review of AUKU.

“I will appeal to the minister (against the expulsion) and then go for judicial review,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

“It would be a good way to scrap the disciplinary rules on a constitutional basis.”

Au said the accusations thrown at all eight students were unfair as they had not crossed any legal boundaries.

“PMUM supports academic freedom. And this was an academic discourse but it had to be within legal constraints. I felt that we did not cross any legal boundaries.”

Like Khairol’s parents, Au revealed that his parents could not have been more supportive after they were told of the students’ struggles in activism on campus.

“We are advocating for the future generation, for academic freedom and more. This will not deter us.”


1 Comment »

  1. These students are the true hope and future leaders of our beloved nation. They stood up for justice, good governance and a corrupt free government. We must support them .

    Comment by Awaken Dayak — November 9, 2014 @ 12:37 PM | Reply

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