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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Condemning UM's intimidation on free speech



LETTER | On Nov 27, 2017, the Integrity Unit of Universiti Malaya's Vice Chancellor’s Office issued a "reminder" poster to the academic staff and students through Siswamail, warning them from making any public statement by any means that speaks ill of the university and government, including social media.
The University of Malaya Association of New Youth (Umany) strongly condemns the prohibition email issued, which violates the fundamental rights and freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed by the Federal Constitution under Article 10.
We are of the opinion that the "reminder" is ridiculous, shameful and trifling. Besides, from a legal viewpoint, the Statutory Board (Statutory Bodies Discipline and Surcharge) Act does not include public universities.


In other words, this regulation cannot be applied to the university. We stand firmly on our fundamental rights and are ready to defend them against these ridiculous laws.
The action from UM is, therefore, a shameful means to instill fear among the students. Umany condemns the actions of the unviersity for two reasons.
UM is defying the right to freedom of speech and expression. The malevolent intention of the university and government to restrict freedom has never been a secret, but a known fact to the public.
However, even though students have debunked the fact that the Statutory Board Act is not applicable to universities, authorities still hold the ultimate trump card - the Sedition Act 1948 and Universities and University Colleges Act 1971, to silence all critics and dissidents who stand up against injustice.
Any laws that oppress basic freedom and rights of the people are detrimental to the development of a free society and must be repeal. The university shall be a "safe place" for students and academics to debate, exchange and disseminate information.
If the university cannot fulfill its basic role, it might as well degrade its status to a kindergarten.
Secondly, UM is attempting to create "white terror." This warning by the university that "any comments on the wrongdoing of the university and government can be charged" shows ill intent. The ultimate goal is to create a culture of fear among students and academicians.
As a result, no one will be able to think and speak freely. The suppression of free speech in the university is a direct threat to academic freedom, independent thinking, and the development of students to their full potential.
In the end, the ruling regime of Umno-BN will be the biggest winner, because they have successfully created a generation of herded sheep characterised by fear, ignorance and selfishness, unable to fight for their own rights.
It is regrettable that the university has forgotten its responsibility – to awaken the young from ignorance and prejudice. Instead, they are choosing to be the puppets of the corrupt regime to fool students and sacrifice the future of Malaysia.
We, as students of the university, shall bear the responsibility to uphold justice.
We will fight and defend our rights against such ridiculous intimidation to prevent the regime from continuing to suppress our dignity and rights.
We shall be the great rolling wheel that shifts Malaysia back onto the right track.
We once again condemn the action of the university and urge UM to retract their intimidation, and demand that the government repeal all restrictions on our fundamental rights.- Mkini

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