University Malaya warns student leader against speaking to press

January 3, 2016 9:43 AM

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Universiti Malaya has been criticised for 'suppressing students voices' and has been asked to apologise for failing to understand the freedom of speech. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 3, 2016.A Universiti Malaya student group today accused the institution's management of curbing students' freedom of speech by issuing a warning letter to a student leader for holding a press conference about WiFi quotas on campus last month.

Universiti Malaya Association Youth (Umany) president Ho Chi Yang was given the letter on December 31 and told to explain why the press conference was held without permission from the university, the group's deputy director of publicity, Lee Ching Siew said today.

"Umany would like to emphasise that any students or student groups have the right to express our views as well as criticisms to any outsiders or the public in any way which includes holding a press conference, and need not to obtain the so-called 'permission' from the university authority,"

"Umany once again criticises the university for suppressing students’ voices. Such a dirty tactic which is detrimental to the freedom of speech must not be allowed,” Lee said in a statement.

On December 14, Ho held a press conference with Persatuan mahasiswa Islam UM (PMIUM), telling the media that UM had plans to limit access to WiFi on campus to 5GB from March, instead of continuing current unlimited quota. Extra usage would be charged, he had said.

This claim was later denied by UM vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Amin Jalaludin, who said students would not be charged for extra usage of the Internet and the university would only monitor but not limit WiFi use.

Lee said the university should apologise to Ho and all UM students for failing to understand the freedom of speech.

"If a university is so terrified of students’ critical thinking and objections, how will talents be produced to serve the country in the future? Hence, Umany strongly condemns the university’s ridiculous action of neglecting students’ right to express our opinion,” he said.

Lee also questioned why the university had chosen to issue the warning letter to Ho during students’ study week. – January 3, 2016.


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