Students punished after flawed proceedings, says UM group

UmanyPETALING JAYA: The disciplinary proceeding by Universiti Malaya (UM) that led to suspensions and fines for students who had participated in a rally in August was “full of flaws, biased and unfair”, a student group from UM said today.

Referring to the second disciplinary proceeding on Dec 9, UM Association of New Youth (Umany) criticised the composition of the panel, the ignoring of evidence and the failure to allow a case for the students defence.

“After the first unfair and unclean disciplinary proceeding, UM had just repeated the same unforgivable mistakes from the first proceeding held on Nov 30,” Umany president Kon Hua En said in a statement released today.

He was referring to the one-semester suspension, stern warning and RM400 fine meted out to three of the students, namely Anis Syafiqah Md Yusof, Mohd Luqman Hakim Fazli and Mohamad Luqman Nul Haqim Zul Razali, and the stern warning and RM400 fine (but no suspension) that Suhail Wan Azhar was given.

The four students were previously suspended following their participation in the #TangkapMO1 rally in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 27. But that suspension was lifted pending the disciplinary proceeding.

Two weeks ago, Umany had described the Nov 30 proceeding as being “totally absurd based on the fact that the students were ‘trapped’ into giving information that the university then used to amend the charges on the spot.”

This time, the student group condemned the varsity administration over two key issues – that it was unable to provide any strong evidence and that the proceedings were not independent nor carried out professionally.

“The charges against the four students were very questionable and full of flaws. But UM had no strong evidence to support their accusation. Instead, they only used video clips taken from social media.

“Video clips does not prove that their participation was in a manner ‘detrimental and prejudicial to the interests and good reputation of the university’ or ‘detrimental to public safety’?” Kon said.

The student group argued this rationale was ignored by the panel and worse, witnesses brought in by the accused students were not allowed to give their testimony.

“It was ridiculous when the panel told that one of the witnesses brought by the students was not a credible witness just because the witness was deemed ‘anti-establishment’.

“This shows that the panel is already biased in the way it conducted the proceedings as this implied they had deemed only pro-establishment witnesses as credible,” Kon said.

Attacking the composition of the panel, the Umany president said the three representatives chosen by UM were all inappropriate as they had no background in law.

“Professor Azizah Hamzah from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Nahrizul Adib Kadri is the master of UM 2nd residential college, and Professor Mohamad Suffian Mohamad Annuar, is the master of UM 9th residential college.

“How could a panel who has not practised law or even have some background in law deliver a fair judgment?”

The student group called the whole process “extremely biased and one-sided”, saying it lacked what every fair and just proceeding should have.

“We condemn the university for continuing to trample on students’ basic rights and the spirit of democracy.

“Although the university is trying its best to maliciously suppress the students, we will not retreat, nor will we be afraid,” Kon said reminding the university that the future belongs to the students and that the spirit of democracy will ultimately prevail.