UKM suspends, fines student who joined #TangkapMO1 rally

Peaceful-Assembly-Act-(2012),-Asheeq-Ali,-#TangkapMO1,-UKM,-illegal-rallyPETALING JAYA: Student activist Asheeq Ali has questioned Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s (UKM) decision to suspend him for taking part in the #TangkapMO1 rally last August.

Speaking to FMT, the third-year law student said he received the one-semester suspension after he was found guilty in a hearing with the university’s disciplinary board on Tuesday.

He was also fined RM200.

According to Asheeq, the board’s reasoning was that he had embarrassed the university and that he had committed an offence under the Peaceful Assembly Act (2012) by participating in an illegal rally.

“I am not satisfied with the verdict as they didn’t even take into account my defence.

“Besides, I told them earlier on that the university and my lawyer were supposed to meet in the Kuala Lumpur High Court come this Dec 1, for an injunction that I filed to stop them from taking disciplinary action against me.

“But they went on with the hearing anyway,” added Asheeq when contacted by FMT.

When asked as to the defence he provided to the board at the hearing, Asheeq said he told them that he had in no way embarrassed the university as his participation was in his capacity as a Malaysian citizen.

“I never once mentioned UKM’s name in my speech (during the rally).

“And as for the second reason, I told them that although I was investigated by the police, I was never charged in court. Only the court can decide if my participation was illegal.”

He also said the board’s action came following a letter issued by Dang Wangi police, which had yet to officially bring him to court for being one of the co-organisers of the Aug 27 rally.

Asheeq would now appeal the decision and if unsuccessful, he would pursue a legal recourse.

“I am two-thirds done with my current semester and this suspension means I would miss my exam which is taking place next month. Because of that, I’m going to have to re-do the required assignments and tests.”

Asheeq was not the first student to be punished for organising the rally.

Last month, student coalition Kesatuan Mahasiswa Malaysia’s chairperson Anis Syafiqah and three other students were issued show-cause letters by Universiti Malaya for this reason.

#TangkapMO1 was held to push the police into investigating and subsequently arresting the mysterious Malaysian Official One (MO1) named in the US’ Department of Justice’s (DoJ) civil forfeiture suit.

The suit alleged that billions of dollars were embezzled from state-owned 1MDB, a case which the DoJ labelled to be the biggest kleptocracy incident it has ever dealt with.