One detained after demo seeking support for UM's VC, apology from Wong (updated)

  • Nation
  • Friday, 25 Oct 2019

PETALING JAYA: Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Se-Malaysia (Gamis) is insisting that Universiti Malaya (UM) engineering graduate Wong Yan Ke issue a public apology over his solo protest against UM’s vice-chancellor during the university’s recent convocation.

Gamis president Muhammad Ikhwan Nasyriq Salahin said the group held a peaceful demonstration at UM’s Kuala Lumpur gate after Friday (Oct 25) prayers to show support for UM vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Abdul Rahim Hashim.

They also demanded that Wong issue a public apology to the university and Rahim.

“We are hoping for strict action to be taken against Wong.

"If there isn't any action taken, his behaviour will set an example for others,” he told The Star.

Wong, 23, the former UM Association of New Youth president, brought a placard into the university’s Dewan Tunku Canselor during the convocation ceremony on Oct 14 calling for Rahim to resign and chanted slogans.

The solo demonstration is believed to have been targeted at the vice-chancellor who, Wong alleged, made racial remarks at the Kongres Maruah Melayu (Malay Dignity Congress) on Oct 6. Subsequently, Rahim also refused to meet with student representatives to discuss the issues.

Ikhwan, who is currently pursuing Islamic Economy at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), said the demonstration attracted about 500 people.

“All of us came from different universities around Malaysia, some came from as far as Perak.

“Students who came for the protest expressed their utmost disappointment at Wong's actions which disrespected the convocation and Rahim, ” he said.

Despite the turnout, he said he was disappointed with UM’s security officers, as well as police officers, whom he accused of “not being cooperative”.

“One of our members has been held at by the police," said Ikhwan.

Rahim, who Gamis invited to join in on the demonstration, did not turn up.

UM declined to comment on the demonstration.

When contacted, Wong said he would not budge but continue to take a firm stand.

“I was just exercising my right as a student to criticise our vice-chancellor as he is no longer suitable for this position,” said Wong.

It is learnt that the 27-year old female Gamis member has been released and that she was taken in by the police for documentation purposes at the Pantai police station.

On Wednesday (Oct 23), Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the ministry would not interfere in the matter of Wong’s protest.

The ministry, he said, respected the university’s autonomy and believed that it would be able to handle the issue.

“I have already told my deputy (Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching) that we will not get involved in this. The mediation process will only be done if both parties agree to it.

“So for the time being, we leave it to UM because we believe in the autonomy and we do not want political interference. We will let them manage it themselves," said Maszlee.

Related stories:

The lost dignity of universities and academia

UM must act now to prevent further tensions developing

Courageous convocation protest has rightfully shamed UM's VC

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