KOTA KINABALU: A group of activists, including Universiti Malaya student leader Fahmi Zainol, were verbally abused as a planned gathering at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) fizzled out.
The gathering had been scheduled for 8pm outside the UMS main gate but dozens of police personnel, including a light strike force team, were seen surrounding the area at that time.
The event dubbed as Mahasiswa Bangkit (scholars arise) had been touted as the venue for Fahmi and other activists to speak out against recent university elections.
At about 9.15pm, security personnel noticed Fahmi and several other activists standing near the gate.
A UMS officer immediately questioned the group about their planned gathering and repeatedly asked them if they had permit to hold the event.
Fahmi and the other activists, however, remained silent.
A group of about 10 youths suddenly approached to the activists began shouting at them.
The youths claiming to be from nearby Kampung Sepanggar, told Fahmi that their activism was not welcome in Sabah.
"This is Sabah, we are united here. Don't bring your chaos from the peninsula to our state," shouted one of the youths as police and university security personnel kept both groups apart.
Among those keeping an eye on the situation was Kota Kinabalu police chief Asst Comm M. Chandra.
Officials then took Fahmi and the other activists into a guardhouse where UMS vice chancellor Datuk Dr Mohd Harun Abdullah spoke to them briefly.
The activists were kept at the guardhouse until 10.05pm before they were allowed to leave the UMS campus.
Fahmi and seven other students activists had been detained by police at about noon Sunday when they tried to hold a public talk at the weekly Gaya Street fair in the downtown area here.
The group was released at about 3.45 pm after police recorded their statements.