PUTRAJAYA, Oct 26 – Universiti Malaya will be in a police lockdown tomorrow over a student event where Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been invited to speak, according to a letter to students purportedly written by UM’s vice-chancellor of student affairs Professor Datuk Dr Rohana Yusof. It said police have informed university authorities that as of 7am tomorrow, they will take over security at its campus in Kuala Lumpur.
Rohana added that police have warned against allowing the event from taking place. UM authorities earlier declared the event, “40 years, from UM to prison”, organised by the Universiti Malaya Undergraduates Association (PMUM), as illegal. In the letter sighted by The Malaysian Insider, Rohana said the event which was scheduled to be held at the Dataran Dewan Tunku Canselor, was banned by the UM management.
“There was no approval for the event from the UM management. Police have also warned against the event being held,” she said. “The programme is a flagrant violation of the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971. Any student who breaks the law will be suspended or expelled,” Rohana said. She said police will begin patrolling campus grounds from 7am tomorrow and from 4pm, all of its gates will be closed with the exception of the main gate along Jalan Universiti.
For the whole of tomorrow, police will take over security matters at UM to block outsiders, said Rohana. Students will also not be allowed to hang around Dataran Dewan Tunku Canselor, where the event is scheduled to be held, or its vicinity, from 4pm onwards. PMUM president Fahmi Zainol (pic, right), speaking to The Malaysian Insider earlier, had challenged the university to expel him.
The 23-year-old who is a Public Service Department (PSD) scholarship, said he was undeterred by the threats from his university and even the prospect of a future behind bars. “If they want to expel me, then go ahead. Let this be a lesson for the public on what is going on in universities and Malaysia,” Fahmi said. “Let the students see the truth, that while they may be soaking up knowledge from the top institutions in Malaysia, in the end they are still controlled by an unjust authority.”
Tomorrow’s talk is held on the eve of Anwar’s final sodomy appeal at the Federal Court. PMUM said it would go ahead with the event, saying it would be the launch of a second wave of “reformasi”, the movement sparked by Anwar’s dramatic sacking from the Cabinet and subsequent arrest in 1998. PMUM has urged students nationwide to attend the programme, and to gather in Putrajaya the following day in solidarity with Anwar at the Federal Court.