University Malaya: drop the charges against #TangkapMO1 students

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Tan Sri Professor Dato’ Dr. Mohd. Amin Jalaludin, four students from the University of Malaya (UM) are facing a disciplinary panel set up by the University of Malaya because of their participation in a rally on the 27th of August 2016 calling for the arrest of “Malaysian Official 1” (“MO1”). The on-going scandal involving “MO1” and Malaysia’s state fund IMDB puts into question the integrity of government institutions in Malaysia, and public debate is needed now more than ever to ensure transparency and justice in Malaysian federal governance. The four students from UM – Ms. Anis Syafiqah Binti Md Yusof, Mr. Muhammad Luqman Nul Haqim Bin Zul Razali, Mr. Muhammad Luqman Hakim Bin Mohd Fazli, and Mr. Suhail Wan Azahar – have participated in this much-needed public debate by attending a peaceful public rally named “TangkapMO1”. The purpose of the rally is to call upon the Malaysian government to respond to the scandal a just and fair manner, in accordance with the rule of law. Through their participation, the four students from UM have shown exemplary courage and leadership.

Worryingly, UM has responded by summoning Anis Syafiqah, Muhammad Luqman Nul Haqim, Muhammad Luqman Hakim Bin Mohd Fazli, and  Suhail Wan Azahar to a disciplinary hearing. UM is accusing these four students of acting in a manner that is detrimental and prejudicial to the interest and good reputation of the University of Malaya, and that is detrimental too to public safety, morals, and civility. Finally, UM is accusing the four students of violating the university’s regulations. If found guilty of any of the charges that have been put forward, the students face one or more of the following penalties: a warning, a fine of no more than RM 200, a ban on entering certain parts of the university for a determinate period of time, suspension from the university for a determinate period of time, or expulsion from the university.

Dear VC, we urge you to reconsider UM’s response to the actions of these four students. Universities play a vital role within society in fostering the democratic values of justice, independence of thought, and impartiality in public debate. They do this by providing education to the citizens of a country— education that helps to cultivate these values—as well as by serving as a platform for much-needed debate in a healthy democracy. In this vein, the #TangkapMO1 rally organised by student groups is something to be welcomed by university authorities everywhere in Malaysia. Far from tarring the image and good reputation of the University of Malaya, the brave actions of Anis Syafiqah, Muhammad Luqman Nul Haqim, Muhammad Luqman Hakim, and Suhail Wan Azahar have enhanced the standing of the university. Their actions demonstrate that the University of Malaya is capable of producing citizens who are civic-minded and engaged, who are able to think critically and independently, and who value justice and transparency. The matter about which they have rallied is by no means trivial: it goes right to the heart of the integrity of public institutions in Malaysia. The actions of these four students are driven by the search for truth, a value that embodies the spirit of learning, and they have done this in a peaceful and intelligent manner.

In moving to penalise these students for their pursuit of the truth, the authorities of the University of Malaya are threatening to impede the call for truth and for justice – and it is this action, rather than the original political activism demonstrated by the students, that will be most damaging to the university’s reputation. The University of Malaya’s present action is morally indefensible and goes against the true spirit of education. We therefore call upon the University of Malaya to drop the charges being put forward against the four students and to adopt a position of neutrality in the on-going public debate.

 

We thank you.

This petition will be delivered to:
  • Vice-Chancellor Tan Sri Professor Dato’ Dr. Mohd. Amin Jalaludin
  • UM Legal Officer
    Ms. Nur Syazwani binti Rosli

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