PETALING JAYA: Universiti Malaya (UM) has defended its decision to bar an accountancy graduate from attending a convocation ceremony, saying that he posed a threat to public order.
"What we are concerned about are provocation efforts, playing on this seditious agenda that not only threaten the safety of the vice-chancellor, but more so, threaten the peace and public order, especially at UM," said the university.
UM said they had tightened security at its convocation ceremonies after student activist Wong Yan Ke staged a protest, calling for the resignation of the varsity's vice-chancellor, Datuk Abdul Rahim Hashim.
Wong had unveiled a placard saying "Tolak Rasis" (reject racism) and "Undur VC" (step down, VC) and shouted "Ini Tanah Malaysia" (This is Malaysia) on stage after he received his degree scroll.
"As such, university security conducted a security check on a graduate from the Faculty of Business and Accounting who was scheduled to receive his degree at the seventh session of the 59th UM Convocation Ceremony yesterday (Oct 15), on suspicion of interfering with the smoothness and harmony of the ceremony," it said in a statement issued on Wednesday (Oct 16).
UM explained that the graduate was barred by security personnel who found a hidden folded placard on him.
It said the placard contained “provocative words” which showed intent to disrupt the convocation ceremony.
UM did not name the graduate, but said the investigations revealed that he had been using his Facebook account to rally more graduates to stage a protest against the vice-chancellor.
The student concerned, Edan Kon Hua En, 23, has since made multiple posts on Facebook after he was barred from attending the ceremony.
He alleged that he was taken aside and questioned by security guards before entering the hall.
Kon told the guards that he would not be protesting and pleaded with them to allow him to receive his graduation certificate, but was told they were instructed by higher-ups not to let him into the hall.
Kon, a former UM Association of New Youth president, suspected he was barred from the ceremony because he had made a Facebook post in support of Wong's protest.