PUTRAJAYA: All university vice-chancellors should condemn the thuggish behaviour of a group of individuals who attacked undergraduate students last Friday, said Education Minister Maszlee Malik.
In a statement issued today, he said university authorities should not be afraid of stating the truth in line with the stature of a university.
“It is not right for university authorities to project an unclear stand and take the safe route when students are attacked by irresponsible parties.
“This took place a few days ago and something similar could happen in other universities if everyone adopts a lackadaisical attitude,” he said.
Maszlee also reminded university authorities to always support the students and their freedom as long as it was not something which contravened the laws of the country and university regulations.
Last Friday, the media reported that a programme with former prime minister Najib Razak at a restaurant opposite Universiti Malaya turned ugly when a scuffle broke out between Najib’s supporters and UM students.
A 2.21-minute video clip of the incident had gone viral on social media.
Meanwhile, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) condemned the alleged act of thuggery on six UM students last Friday.
Expressing his deep concern over the incident, UUM vice-chancellor Prof Ahmad Bashawir Abdul Ghani said the incident was an assault on the freedom of speech and democracy upheld by the government.
“The university is of the view that students of higher institutions should be allowed to peacefully express their views and feelings.
“They should be given the opportunity and space to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly within the normal bounds of courtesy and respect,” he said in a statement.
Bashawir also called for investigations against those involved in inappropriate or criminal behaviour so that they could be dealt with in accordance with the law.
“We wish to send a clear message that such uncivilised acts of thuggery will not be tolerated on UUM campuses.
“We also urge the authorities concerned to provide the necessary assistance to the affected students and take swift legal action against the perpetrators in the event a criminal act is proven,” he said.