PETALING JAYA: Former student activist Wong Yan Ke, who was found guilty today of insulting a university vice-chancellor by staging a protest during a convocation ceremony, has vowed to continue speaking up on issues close to his heart.
In a statement, the former Universiti Malaya Association of New Youth (Umany) president said he would continue exercising his freedom of expression as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
He also said protests could mobilise public opinion and empower them to shape the nation’s destiny, adding that this was not the sole domain of politicians.
“I firmly believe that safeguarding free speech is vital to enable citizens to scrutinise public affairs and hold those in power accountable,” he said.
“In the face of government monopolies on power, resources and violence, free speech remains our sole instrument to defend our rights.
“Only through protests can we protect the values of pluralism, liberty, equality and democracy, and remain a human being who is free and equal in dignity and rights.”
Earlier today, the Kuala Lumpur magistrates’ court found Wong guilty of insulting a university vice-chancellor by staging a protest during a convocation ceremony in 2019.
He was handed a RM5,000 fine after he failed to establish a reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case.
Wong was accused of humiliating Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor Abdul Rahim Hashim and the convocation’s attendees knowing that he would incite their anger during the ceremony by carrying a protest placard on stage demanding Rahim’s resignation as the vice-chancellor.
Wong, who graduated from Universiti Malaya with a degree in civil engineering, was charged in February 2020.
Delivering her ruling, magistrate Illi Marisqa Khalizan said the court could not agree with the reasoning given by Wong that he had no other means to voice his views.
Wong’s counsel, Chong Kar Yan, said his client would pay the fine and file a notice of appeal at the High Court.
Last week, Wong, now a coordinator at Suara Rakyat Malaysia, was also granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) for disobeying a police order to stop recording a raid at his house in 2020.
It came after the prosecution failed to present any of its five witnesses in court.