Accused of stealing PhD student’s project, UM counters with own police report

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — Universiti Malaya’s communication office has rejected as baseless a foreign doctoral student’s allegation of intellectual property theft that has been spreading online since yesterday.

In a statement this evening, UM stressed that any research and academic studies by its students were the university’s intellectual property, based on a policy it suggested was publicly known.

The university noted that the PhD student, who made the allegation public through the popular video platform TikTok, had conducted his research with resources and assistance provided by the university.

“UM denies the viral accusation that the project of a foreign PhD candidate had been stolen by the supervisor without his consent. It is the university’s policy that all academic research and projects are its properties,” the university said.

The student, believed to be of Middle Eastern descent, claimed on TikTok that the project supervisor of the research he had worked on had changed the password and username of the software that he developed. He eventually concluded that the entire project had been stolen.

The nature of the project was not made clear.

After he discovered the purported theft, the student said his attempt to get clarification from the university was met with hostility. The student has filed a police report against the university management.

The TikTok clip was widely shared on Twitter. At the time of writing, there had been nearly 900,000 views. The tweet of the video itself was retweeted more than 22,000 times and received over 26,000 likes.

Some Twitter users responded with claims that such allegations are commonplace, and that many students have experienced the same problem. Malay Mail could not independently verify these claims at the time of writing.

Meanwhile, UM said the student who made the claim had been given a three-semester extension but did not complete his studies, despite having sat for more than the 12-semester limit all purportedly funded by his faculty.

“The university had also conducted several counselling sessions and appointed an additional supervisor to assist him. But still the candidate did not succeed to complete his studies within the extended period,” it said.

The university authorities said it has lodged a counter police report to deny the student’s allegation and suggested that it may take legal action.