Students mull rally, Suhakam vows probe

KUALA LUMPUR: A student movement warns that it will consider mounting a massive protest if Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) punishes four of its students accused of campaigning during the Hulu Selangor by-election.

“We may consider holding this mass rally if we fail to get justice,” Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia chairman Shazni Munir told reporters here.

Ealier, Shazni handed a memorandum to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), urging it to investigate the matter.

Also present at the press conference were the four UKM students.
Shazni said they are also trying to get in touch with Higher Education Minister Khaled Noordin as the students were said to have been detained by the police upon his instruction.
“We also plan to seek an audience with UKM's chancellor, Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir, who is the ruler of Negeri Sembilan, to address this matter,” he said.

The four political science students -- Hilman Idham, Ismail Aminuddin, Azlin Shafina Adzha and Woon King Chai -- are facing a disciplinary hearing under Section 15(5) (a) of the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) 1971. The Act disallows students from expressing support and participating in politics.

Hilman is due to face the university tribunal on June 2 while the rest will be the next day.
Speaking to reporters, Hilman said he was in Hulu Selangor as an observer since it was related to his field of study.

“A medical student is sent for housemanship to learn the job and an engineering student is sent to sites to learn the trade. How come a political science student is not allowed to be on the field to observe how an election is run?” he asked.

Besides, Hilman said Article 119 of the Federal Constitution clearly states that anyone above the age of 21 is qualified to vote, which is a form of participation in politics.

“Therefore the UUCA is in direct contradiction of the Federal Constitution.” he added.
Hilman said the four are also disatisfied for not being able to bring lawyers to the disciplinary hearing.

“The university will be represented by its legal adviser in the hearing while we are only allowed to bring another student or any other UKM employee to represent us. How is this fair?”
“Plus, we have not received a copy of the student's rule of conduct form which will give us a clear understanding of how the tribunal will be conducted,” he added.
No news on new commissioners

Suhakam secretary Hashimah Nik Jaafar said the commission will look into the complaint.
“We will get in touch with the university officials to get to the bottom of this,” she added.
On another matter, Hashimah said she has yet to receive news from Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on when Suhakam will get its new commissioners.

Asked how the commission plans to investigate cases without commiSsioners, she said her officers will do the work until the new team is appointed.
The human rights body has been commisioner-less since April 23, after the term of its previous commissioners expired.
FMT
24/05/10

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