Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan today promised to uphold the freedom of expression of students and to prevent a repeat of the incidents that saw student representatives being penalised.
Universiti Malaya (UM) student group Demokrat UM said the Umno leader promised this at a meeting with them after appearing as a panellist in a forum on student involvement in politics and community that was held in UM.
During the meeting, Demokrat UM said, they handed over to Mohamad a memorandum while inquiring him on several other matters.
“He promised to uphold students’ freedom of speech and incidents of students being subjected to disciplinary actions, for inviting opposition leaders to campuses such as in 2014, and the UM4 incident must never to be repeated,” the Demokrat UM said in a statement.
The incident in 2014 is in reference to the disciplining of student council president Fahmi Zainol at the time for inviting Anwar Ibrahim, who was de facto opposition leader then, to speak in the campus.
The UM4 incident is the case of four UM students and a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia student who were punished by their universities for participating in a 2016 rally.
“Forgotten history is history that will be repeated. Therefore, it is our collective responsibility, as UM students, to ensure UM remains a stage for intellectual discussions, irrespective of whose governance Malaysia is under,” the statement says.
Demokrat UM further welcomed Mohamad’s presence on campus, labelling it a "batu loncatan" (stepping stone) for the Universiti of Malaya Students Union in organising a forum attended by various representatives.
“In the words of Tok Mat (Mohamad) himself, political wisdom is when politics is made to suit the environment and not the latest trends,” the statement adds.