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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Students were questioned for less than 2 hours, says UTM

The Universiti Teknologi Malaysia campus in Kuala Lumpur where the protest against the special fees took place in April.
PETALING JAYA: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has denied claims that it questioned three students nonstop for six hours for organising a protest, saying it interviewed them for less than one hour and 40 minutes.
Gabungan Pembebasan Akademik (GPA) had said the questioning of the trio from the MJIIT Voices group by the university’s Kuala Lumpur’s management went on throughout the night on Wednesday, which was during exam week.
MJIIT Voices is a students’ group from the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT), a faculty under UTM established in 2010 by the Malaysian and Japanese governments.
In a statement today, UTM’s corporate office from its main campus in Johor said the university followed protocol and interviewed the students based on a time frame that was set by them.
It said each interview lasted one hour and 40 minutes, including time for breaking fast.
“Claims that the students were interviewed for six hours nonstop are not true,” the statement said.
UTM also said it has no intention of taking disciplinary action against the trio.
In December, MJIIT urged UTM to remove special fees of RM2,855 imposed on top of the RM1,200 semester fee, claiming that close to 600 first- to third-year students who enrolled in the faculty from 2016 to 2018 were affected.
The group said new students had to pay almost RM5,000, excluding hostel fees, at the start of the semester.
In April, about 200 students protested against the hike in special fees in front of the UTM KL campus, which UTM tried to stop.
Gabungan Pembebasan Akademik claimed three of the protest organisers were investigated for six hours from 5pm on Wednesday. They were the same students who managed to hand over a memorandum to the UTM pro vice-chancellor on the day of the protest.
The group alleged that this was “unwarranted” and carried out on purpose by the “polis bantuan” (auxiliary police) against “basic principles of human rights” and student freedom.
In response, UTM said it followed its existing provisions by carrying out interviews to gather information. It said this followed the revocation of the police permit for the protest.
Following the protest, it said the university’s “safety section” was asked to gather further information.
“The interview sessions are in accordance with regular university rules when there occurs an incident that does not follow university rules,” it said.
GPA said there was no need for a permit and it only needed a formal notice to the police 10 days before the day of the protest.
It also claimed that one of the students was manhandled by the police when the protest was about to start. - FMT

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