Court dismisses UKM bid to get RM50,000 from student before suit

(From left) Student activist Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi with his lawyers Surendra Ananth (middle) and Vimalan Ramanathan (right) after the High Court’s decision to dismiss UKM’s bid to seek RM50,000 as a security cost from Asheeq.

KUALA LUMPUR: There is no need for student activist Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi to fork out RM50,000 to pay Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia as security costs, before the hearing of his suit against the university.

Asheeq’s lawyer, Surendra Ananth told reporters this after the hearing in chambers before High Court judge Justice S Nantha Balan.

“Today was fixed for hearing of UKM’s application to seek RM50,000 as security costs from Asheeq before the hearing of the main lawsuit next month.

“They are afraid that he will not be able to afford to pay the costs if he loses his case,” he said.

However, the court dismissed UKM’s bid to seek the RM50,000 bond.

Surendra said the judge held that Asheeq’s lawsuit is a public interest litigation and found no tangible evidence to show Asheeq could not afford pay the costs.

“The court also found that UKM’s bid to get the RM50,000 is an attempt to stop him from being heard in court,” he added.

Yesterday, Asheeq in a text message, said he will be holding a press conference to condemn UKM’s action in seeking the RM50,000.

The court today ruled in favour of Asheeq, and also ordered UKM to pay RM3,000 to the law student.

He is suing UKM, the higher education minister and the government over his constitutional rights on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Asheeq is seeking for the court to declare that Section 15(3)(b) of the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) and Regulations 3 and 13 of the UKM (Discipline of Students) Rules 1999 prevents university students from exercising their right to freedom of speech and expression and to assemble peacefully without arms outside campus, under Article 10(1)(a) and (b) of the Federal Constitution.

He is also seeking for a declaration that these provisions contravene the Federal Constitution to the extent that they regulate the conduct of students outside of campus.

On November last year, he was suspended for one semester by UKM and fined RM200 for his involvement in the #TangkapMO1 rally.

The rally was organised by a coalition of students and youth groups calling for the arrest of the person named “MO1” in the United States’ Department of Justice’s civil suit linked to state fund 1MDB. “MO1” is the acronym used in the DoJ’s suit for Malaysian Official Number 1.

Besides Asheeq, four Universiti Malaya (UM) students – Anis Syafiqah Md Yusof, Muhammad Luqman Nul Haqim Zul Razali, Suhail Wan Azahar and Muhammad Luqman Hakim Mohd Fazli – also filed a suit to challenge the constitutionality of the university’s subsidiary legislation.

They were also found guilty of joining the #TangkapMO1 rally.

Surendra said Justice Nantha will hear Asheeq’s lawsuit together with the four UM students’ suit on May 19.