The Malaysian government has warned its students studying abroad not to participate in the Bersih rally, urging them to 'digest the full meaning of clauses written in their scholarship agreements.
In a harshly worded e-mail issued on April 26, Public Service Department (PSD) education and training adviser Mohd Nazrol Marzuke warned students that their scholarships were at stake if they were found to have breached the clauses 5.4 and 5.5 of their federal scholarship agreement.
Mohd Nazrol’s e-mail was sent out to students studying in the US, but it apparently mirrors numerous verbal threats that were reportedly issued over the past few days to students in several countries including the UK.
He said students risked “very serious peril” if they rallied calling for free and fair elections in Malaysia.
In the e-mail (below), Mohd Nazrol drew the udents’ attention to clauses 5.4 and 5.5 of the Federal Scholarship Agreement, urging them to “digest the full meaning of the fine-written clauses” .
“Please think and use your wisdom carefully before making any rash action that could adversely affect your own self, sponsoring department and the nation in general. Refrain yourself from joining, conspiring or contributing in whatever ways to any activities that may be considered detrimental to the stakes of the government and the nation,” Mohd Nazrol wrote.
Posting a copy of Mohd Nazrol’s letter on its portal, Sarawak Report said: “The content of the advisory message from the Malaysian government had forced many of the students to wear masks so that they can take part in the peaceful demonstrations without being identified by the dozens of Malaysian Special Branch officers, who are expected to be monitoring and photographing the rally.”
Suaram slams intimidation of students
Meanwhile, Suaram in London has criticised the government for intimidating students and other demonstrators.
“Suaram wants the police and the government to stop harassing the people from practising their fundamental liberties. We urge the government to look into the demands of the Bersih 2.0 instead of clamping down on their freedom of expression and assembly.
“If the Prime Minister Najib [Tun Razak] is sincere in listening to the people and practising the slogan “People First”, then he should not curb people’s rights and freedoms.
“We call on the government, as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, to end the intimidation and threats immediately and to adopt the core principles of human rights in all laws and policies,” it said in a statement yesterday.