Suaram: Why no police action against attackers at UM?

Student activists hold up placards hitting out at former prime minister Najib Razak.

PETALING JAYA: Human rights watchdog Suaram has questioned why the police failed to arrest those who physically attacked student activists at Universiti Malaya, and criticised the home ministry for its silence on the matter.

Suaram said the police were swift to take action against social media users, but were “now seemingly unable or unwilling to act” against those who attacked several university students who held up placards across the road from an event attended by former prime minister Najib Razak.

Several Umno supporters were involved in the melee, including Supreme Council member Lokman Noor Adam, who was seen to have torn up a placard.

Suaram said the inspector-general of police must answer for the continued failure of the police to stop the harassment of activists and human rights defenders, and the home ministry must be held accountable for the failings of the police force and the ministry’s silence in the matter.

The group sounded a warning that Malaysians would lose hope in the police force and the Pakatan Harapan administration in the light of such failures.

The scuffle took place across the road from a restaurant where Najib was speaking at a dialogue on the upper floor. Less than a dozen students held placards condemning Najib. They were attacked by several Umno supporters, including Lokman.

The placards said “Najib tak malu” (Najib not ashamed) and “Mana RM2.6 billion” (Where is the RM2.6 billion), and a placard of a clown resembling the former leader.

Lokman has since defended his actions of tearing up the placards, citing it was “an act which is insulting to Najib”.

Najib later expressed regret over the incident.