Students of Monash University Malaya could face disciplinary action if they were found attending or arrested at any "illegal gathering", the university said.
The email warning sent to students by registrar Susheela Nair yesterday came days before the Bersih 5 rally in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching this Saturday
"You are advised not to participate in any illegal gathering/related activity which contravenes Malaysian laws.
"Any student found to be participating in such gathering/activity or who is arrested by authorities for doing so may be subjected to disciplinary proceedings," she said in the email sighted by Malaysiakini.
The email did not specify any gatherings, but stated there had been numerous "illegal gatherings... without approvals from the authorities" recently.
Calls to the university and Nair were unanswered. Malaysiakini has emailed the university for comment.
Some Monash University Malaysia students were taken aback by the warning.
"I was surprised because Monash has always been outspoken about human rights and equality.
"I didn't expect them to caution us against gatherings which fight for our basic democratic rights," one student told Malaysiakini on condition of anonymity.
Yesterday, University Kebangsaan Malaysia suspendedstudent Asheeq Ali for participation in the Tangkap MO1 rally in Kuala Lumpur in August.
The Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 did away for the need for police permits for gatherings.
However, organisers needed to give 10 days' notice to venue owners and the authorities.
Bersih said it would adhere to the Kuala Lumpur City Hall's decision to bar it from gathering at Dataran Merdeka, and would gather near the historical square instead.
The rally is to demand for clean elections, clean government, empowerment of Sabah and Sarawak, the strengthening of Parliament and the right to dissent.
The red-shirts anti-Bersih group said it would hound the electoral watchdog wherever they might gather.
Police said it is prepared for possible clashes and will use its latest crowd control weapon - pepperballs - if need be, in accordance to the law.
National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) said the right to peacefully assemble is protected under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.
However, its chairperson Razali Ismail said those holding counter-rallies to "intimidate" others from peacefully assembling are not protected under the Federal Constitution.- Mkini