Student activist claims trial to provoking breach of peace at UM convo

Former Universiti Malaya (UM) student Wong Yan Ke created a stir during his convocation on Oct 14, 2019, when he carried a protest placard on stage.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Universiti Malaya (UM) student Wong Yan Ke claimed trial at the magistrates’ court here over a charge of attempting to provoke a breach of the peace in protesting against the university’s vice-chancellor during his graduation ceremony.

Wong, who graduated in civil engineering, is accused of causing humiliation to vice-chancellor Abdul Rahim Hashim and guests at UM’s 59th convocation, with the knowledge that the anger he incited following the incident would cause a breach of the peace.

If found guilty under Section 504 of Penal Code, he faces a maximum sentence of two years in jail or a fine, or both.

Magistrate Fardiana Haryanti Ahmad Razali allowed the activist to post bail of RM3,000 in one surety.

The court did not impose additional conditions for his bail and set March 26 for mention of the case again.

Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Mohd Sophian Zakaria asked the court to impose bail of RM10,000 on grounds that this was a public interest case.

“We also urge the court to impose an order for the accused to report himself to the police station once a month,” he said.

Wong’s lawyer, Rajsurian Pillai pleaded for a lower bail amount as Wong was currently unemployed and had no criminal record.

“He was only exercising his freedom of speech,” he added.

Wong created a stir during his convocation on Oct 14, 2019, when he carried a protest placard on stage, demanding Rahim’s resignation as the vice-chancellor.

At the time of Wong’s protest, Rahim was seated at the front row of the hall where the convocation ceremony was being held.

Wong told FMT that his protest against Rahim was because the university’s name had been used for racial and political reasons, as one of four universities which organised the Malay Dignity Congress in Shah Alam.

Rahim was reported to have made a racially-charged speech at the congress, which made headlines after chief organiser Zainal Kling said Malaysia was for Malays just as Thailand was for Thais, China for the Chinese, and India for Indians.