Universiti Malaya's General Staff Union (UMGSU) and Administrative and Academic Officers Association (Pekerti) have come out strongly in defence of vice-chancellor Abdul Rahim Hashim as the uproar over a student's protest at the university convocation ceremony continues.
They put together two memoranda criticising engineering graduate Wong Yan Ke, saying his actions were unacceptable and had painted UM in a bad light.
UMGSU president Mahzir Mohd Amin said the association felt that Wong's actions clearly showed that he had scant respect for the auspicious ceremony.
"It was not only unbecoming of a graduating student, but it had also interfered with the smooth running of the event.
"This poor conduct had never happened before at any UM’s official ceremony.
"As a body that represents UM's executive staff, we will continue to give the vice-chancellor our full support," he said, after handing in the memorandum to Abdul Rahman at the Chancellery today.
Wong had on Monday courted the university's anger when he unfurled a banner accusing Rahim of racism and called for the latter's resignation immediately after receiving his graduation scroll on stage at the Dewan Tun Canselor.
Pekerti president Nor Aishah Samad condemned Wong’s actions as unethical and improper.
"Pekerti advocates freedom of speech among students and staff but it should be channelled diplomatically using appropriate platforms," she said.
This show of support contrasted sharply with yesterday's statement by the Universiti Malaya Academic Staff Association (PKAUM), which said the protests were likely driven by existing dissatisfaction over Rahim’s various alleged “misactions”.
"PKAUM takes note of the unfortunate circumstance in which an engineering graduate Wong Yan Ke had to resort to drastic action to highlight the fact that he felt the university failed to represent unity amongst Malaysians by participating in the Malay Dignity Congress.
"The protest itself is likely to be driven by an already unhappy student community due to the many misdemeanours and misactions of the UM vice-chancellor," association secretary Noraishah Mydin Haji Abdul Aziz had said in a statement.