Activist doesn't regret protest at UM convocation, says would do it again

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019

PETALING JAYA: Student activist Wong Yan Ke said that he conducted his protest against the Vice Chancellor of University Malaya at the convocation to "democratise" and "inspire" his campus.

He said that Datuk Abdul Rahim Hashim had never been held accountable to the students or academicians, and claimed that he was a puppet of the politicians.

"He sullied the name of the university. He wrongly used the university's name for political reasons. Please don't say that I was the one who shamed the university's name," he said.

The press conference was conducted outside the Petaling Jaya police headquarters in heavy rain.

Wong had spent about one hour giving his statement to the police, who were investigating him under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with the intent to provoke a breach of peace.

On Monday (Oct 14), UM lodged a police report against Wong, who staged a solo protest calling for the resignation of the varsity’s vice-chancellor, Datuk Abdul Rahim Hashim.

Many had asked the 23-year-old Wong why he did not choose any other platform or time to protest the actions of the VC, saying that it was not the appropriate time to do so.

To this, Wong asked those who criticised him what was the correct place and location to protest.

"Did the university authorities give me an appropriate platform? We have protested all sorts of issues such as the rise in fees, about buses, Wi-Fi and many others. We have sent letters and memorandums to the office of the VC. They have never replied to us," said Wong, who was accompanied by his legal representative, Asheeq Ali, during questioning.

Wong also said that he wasn't a member of any political party and that his actions were his own doing as many had said that he was a DAP member.

He added that he had taken a picture with former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

"Does that mean I am an Umno member," he said.

When asked about the police report against him, he said the VC was trying to create a culture of fear among the students.

"Many people were against his speech. He is afraid that many others would learn from me to protest against him. He's trying to make sure the voice against him is suppressed," he said, adding that he would do it again, despite the trouble his actions have caused him.

Wong also said that the university did not hand him his certificate and transcripts, although he gave back the graduation gowns.

Asheeq said they would give the university 24 hours to give a notice or a reply to Wong on why they were not giving him his certificate and transcripts.

He added that the matter would be brought to court if the university failed to do so.

Wong had allegedly shouted “Ini Tanah Malaysia” while carrying a placard with the words “Tolak Rasis” (reject racism) and “Undur VC” (step down VC) on stage during his graduation after he received his degree scroll.

He said it was done to protest the vice-chancellor's recent speech at the Malay Dignity Congress in Shah Alam.

He claimed that Abdul Rahim's speech was racially charged and said that he had a right as a graduate to criticise and call for the individual to be courteous.

The Malay Dignity Congress was organised by four public universities – Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) – to discuss and find solutions to problems faced by the Malays.

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