STUDENT ACTIVISM SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED – FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.
HAKAM is dismayed that university authorities of University of Malaya and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia have taken action to issue show cause letters to the students namely, Anis Shafiqah binti Mohd Yunos and Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi for participating at the #TangkapMO1 rally held on 27thAugust 2017. Even more surprising is that the show cause letters were issued only two months after the event.
The #TangkapMO1 rally was initiated and led by youth leaders and participated by mostly youths who have courageously taken the stand to protest against the largest financial scandal which has rocked our nation. The scandal has been touted as the “world’s biggest financial scandal” and involved 1MDB and the official known as MO1. This case had been highlighted by our own Members of Parliament and numerous civil society organisations for the past two years. Investigations by law enforcement agencies from no less than 9 foreign countries are in progress. Newspapers and the media worldwide has published extensively on this plunder of our nation’s resources.
#TangkapMO1 rally was just another expression of the nation’s outrage. #TangkapMO1 rally was just a call by the youths of this nation to Malaysian authorities to address this concern with as much, if not more, vigor than has been conducted by foreign agencies.
To punish those who participated in the #TangkapMO1 rally is ridiculous. Those students especially the organisers are our nation’s leaders of today- true heroes.
Taking disciplinary action against these students who have expressed their outrage and fear for what is happening in our country may be construed as an act of abuse of powers by the university authorities and the issuance of show cause letters two months later as acts in terroram – to stifle the freedom of expression and to deter students from participating in legitimate democratic process. One can’t help but notice that the show cause letters were issued only after Bersih2.0 had announced 19th November 19th as the date for the rally for Bersih 5.
HAKAM lauds the participation of youths in the democratic process as part of the exercise of their citizenry. The voice of Malaysian youths should be given due public space without any threats from the authorities as their freedom of expression is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.
HAKAM calls for the respective University authorities to withdraw the said show cause letters and respect the students’ right to freedom of expression and assembly.
Issued on behalf of HAKAM Executive Committee