1. It has been reported that following a directive from the Ministry of Higher Education at least two private universities (Monash University Malaysia and Curtin University Sarawak) have issued warning notices to their students that disciplinary action will be taken for participation in any “illegal” assembly. The notices were sent 4 days before the Bersih5 protest.
2. These threats of disciplinary action put undue pressure on students who wish to participate at Bersih5. The issuance of the notices by the universities may be perceived an abuse of powers by the university authorities to stifle freedom of expression and to curtail student activism and participation in what is clearly a legitimate democratic process.
3. HAKAM calls for those in authority either at the Ministry of Higher Education or at the respective universities to retract their warning notices and to stop any form of threat or harassment of students in their legitimate right to expression and freedom of assembly. The labelling of public rallies as “illegal” assembly must stop.
4. The university is a place where students should be encouraged to give voice to their thoughts on national issues and embolden to act on the same. The voice of Malaysian youths should be given due public space without any threats from university authorities.
5. HAKAM commends university students who have decided to participate at Bersih5 as part of the exercise of their citizenry notwithstanding the threats issued by their universities. We will stand with you in the event any action is taken against you.
Issued on behalf of the HAKAM Executive Committee