PETALING JAYA: A human rights lawyer says he is appalled by the stance taken by a private university to bar its students from taking part in rallies and demanded that the university explain itself.
Lawyers for Liberty head Eric Paulsen was referring to the Monash University Malaysia’s warning to its students that they will be punished if found to have participated in illegal rallies.
Paulsen said that it was “shocking” for a private university to take such a “hardline” stance similar to public universities.
“Monash is a private university and are not beholden to the government, nor should it support government policies in such a partisan way.
“I’m not exactly sure why it has come up with this kind of stance and it’s the first time I’ve heard of such a case.”
Paulsen questioned how the campus in Malaysia could come up with such a policy when it would “clearly” be incoherent with the policies in its main campus in Australia.
“I think Monash should explain why it has come up with such a directive and whether this is consistent with Monash Australia’s policies. Such a policy cannot exist in Australia.”
He said that since Monash had programmes on Law, Social Sciences and Public Policies, there would have been modules on human rights and human liberties.
“So, I’m concerned about what Monash students are being taught.
“Is it saying that students are subjected to oppressive laws in certain oppressive countries and that students shouldn’t practise their human rights? Because that’s what Monash seems to be saying.”
Bersih 2.0 is organising a fifth Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur this Saturday.
Police have announced that Bersih 2.0 has no permit to organise the gathering.
Monash was reported to have sent emails to students, advising them not to participate in any illegal gathering or related activity which contravenes Malaysian laws.
“Any student found to be participating in such gathering/activity or who is arrested by the authorities for doing so may be subjected to disciplinary proceedings,” it warned.