‘We fear no threat,’ UM students assaulted at anti-Najib protest tell attackers

Syed Jaymal Zahiid


Universiti Malaya Association of New Youth (Umamy) president Wong Yan Ke and other UM students pose with the police report in front of Pantai police station March 23, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — The Universiti Malaya (UM) students, who were assaulted by supporters of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, told their attackers today that they fear nobody and will not be cowed by physical or political threats.

Wong Yan Ke, who was among those manhandled at a protest that took place near UM yesterday, said students must be firm in protecting their constitutional right to dissent and not cave in to any form of pressure.

“We do not fear any suppression or threat by any parties, no matter if it is from the government or Opposition,” he said in a statement read out to reporters gathered outside the Pantai Baharu police headquarters here.

“It is important for students as one of the representations from the intellectuals, to stand firm in our principles, to be brave enough to speak up for the truth, to defend our rights as citizens of Malaysia,” the UM student added.

Wong leads independent students group, Umany, the protest organisers. Six of them had gathered near Restoran Amjal on Jalan Pantai, where Najib was holding talks with students, and held up posters with slogans like “Mana RM2.6bil” (Where’s the RM2.6 billion) and “Pulangkan Duit Raykat [sic]” (Return The People’s Money).

Wong said several of a Najib’s supporters later confronted him and the group. He claimed the assailants first hurled racist insults, and when the protesters refused to hand over the placards they turned aggressive.

“We said these are our right to protest but they didn’t stop. Instead, they ganged up on me. They pulled my hair, strangled me and slapped my face. They destroyed all out stuff,” he added.

The group filed a police report over the incident here late last night.

The incident, which was caught on video and made viral almost immediately, was strongly condemned even by Umno leaders. However, the party has not stated if they would punish members involved in the fracas.

Wong said what happened yesterday was “gangsters and mobs” culture that should not even exist, as no students should suffer violence to exercise their right to free expression. 

“Silent protest is a rightful practise of our democratic and constitutional rights,” he said, noting that Umany also held several protests against the Pakatan Harapan government over a slew of issues.

“I have been involved in several protests or rallies, before and even after 9th of May...all the protests were carried out peacefully without any forms of harassment such as this done towards me.”

The UM student then said he wants Najib, whom he called a “clown”, and his supporters apologise publicly. 

“(Those) involved in the harassment incident yesterday to make a public apology to us for disrespecting our human rights,” the statement read. 

“Stop being a clown like you know nothing!” 

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