PETALING JAYA: Universiti Malaya's (UM) disciplinary board suspended three students on Thursday after finding them guilty of tarnishing the institution's image by desecrating photographs of national leaders.
In a statement issued by its International & Corporate Affairs office yesterday, UM said the students were also cautioned and fined RM200 each.
The three are Mohd Syahid Mohd Zaini, Muhammad Safwan Anang @ Talib and Haziq Abdullah Abd Aziz.
“A student disciplinary committee comprising three senior university academics found that the students had tarnished UM's name,” it said.
(The students had hung funeral garlands on the portraits of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.)
Former UM student representative council president Mohd Syahid said the act of hanging funeral garlands on Najib's and Mohamed Khaled's portraits was merely symbolic.
“This was just a symbolic gesture to show our dissatisfaction. We have sent memoranda and had discussions with the authorities before this, but we were not heard.
“What we did was well within our rights under the Constitution,” he said.
Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Sharom, who represented the three student activists in a disciplinary hearing at the university on Wednesday, confirmed the punishment meted out by the board.
The three students were part of an anti-National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) demonstration held on April 14, where students called on the authorities to abolish the student loan scheme and provide free tertiary education.
The students had also carried a mock tombstone during the protest.
Mohd Syahid said the students would appeal the decision in two week's time.
UM vice-chancellor Prof Tan Sri Dr Ghauth Jasmon is currently in Britain and in a response to a text message on Thursday said he did not have details of the disciplinary proceedings.
Deputy vice-chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni) Prof Datuk Dr Rohana Yusof could not be reached for comment as she too was away.