Student dialogue off but Najib still going to UKM

PETALING JAYA: Najib Razak has accused the authorities of scuttling a dialogue today between him and students of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), and questioned Education Minister Maszlee Malik’s commitment to allowing free speech on campus.

But it is understood that the former prime minister will still be going to the varsity’s campus in Bangi, where he will join students for Friday prayers at the UKM mosque.

This will be followed by an informal meeting with student representatives at a nearby restaurant.

Najib said the organisers had fulfilled all of the requirements for the programme.

“I was ready with my black shoes to attend the forum as a sign of my support for him. But it’s fine, I understand,” he wrote on his Facebook, in a jibe at Maszlee.

The programme is organised by the UKM Undergraduates Association.

Yesterday, UKM vice-chancellor Mohd Hamdi Abd Shukor said the university management had not been informed about the event.

“I think it was postponed to a more suitable date, not cancelled,” he said, adding that UKM did not require any events organised by students to go through him or the Student Affairs Department.

But Najib questioned his claim.

“They said it was postponed, not cancelled. But it is postponed without any reason or a new date given. That means it is cancelled,” he wrote on Facebook.

Event organiser Muhammad Izzat Ibrahim, who is also deputy president of the UKM Student Representative Council, meanwhile expressed regret that the dialogue had been postponed.

Taking to Facebook as well, he said the application for the programme was done according to university procedure.