Student group slams UTM denial of 6-hour grilling

PETALING JAYA: A group of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia students has accused university authorities of making “timewasting statements” that were “not consistent with the facts” in denying that some students had been questioned for six hours last month for organising a protest.

MJIIT Voices, a group of students at the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology at UTM, said an agreement had been reached that three members of their group would jointly give their statements to university authorities from 5pm to 7pm on May 29.

However, they were called in one by one and questioned by UTM auxiliary police for six hours until 11pm that day, the group said.

On Thursday, student pressure group Gabungan Pembebasan Akademik had raised the alarm about the nonstop six-hour investigation, which took place during the week of their final examinations. UTM denied the claim, saying each student was interviewed for less than one hour and 40 minutes, including time for breaking fast.

However MJIIT Voices said UTM did not follow existing procedures (for carrying out such investigations) and criticised UTM for “time-wasting“ statements that were “not consistent with facts”.

They said the three students had been contacted via SMS from the auxiliary police to attend the sessions a few weeks prior to the investigation date.

“The auxiliary police then ordered the university students to meet with them immediately without informing them that they would be giving their statements or that the statements would be used against them,” said a group spokesman.

The investigation was over a protest in April by 200 students at UTM’s Kuala Lumpur .campus, demanding the removal of special fees of between RM2,855 and RM4,055.

MJIIT Voices said the university had used the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 and university rules to “threaten” the students.

UTM has since said it has no intention of taking disciplinary action against the trio.