Student activist: Universities should champion freedom of speech, not intimidate Turun protesters

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 — Universities should not have intimidated students who had joined the Turun protest over the weekend, student activist Rafiq Shahmie said today.

Responding to a report of a local university that allegedly barred protesters from taking an examination, the student coalition spokesman said that academic institutions should not forbid freedom of expression.

"We condemn any academic institution that tries to intimidate or block students' freedom of expression,” he told the press in front of Dang Wangi police station.

Rafiq was one of the 15 protesters that were called by the police for an investigation after Saturday’s Turun street protest that had among others called for the wage cut.

Rajsurian Pillai, a lawyer representing one of the 15, said they cooperated fully with the investigation and will leave it to the deputy public prosecutors (DPP) to decide if further action was needed.

Other than Rafiq, police also called in Muda deputy president Amira Aisya Abd Aziz, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) executive director Sevan Doraisamy, and Undi18 co-founder Qyira Yusri, among others.

Previously, several local university student councils reportedly urged students to avoid joining the demonstration.

Yesterday, the police summoned nine attendees including Ketari assembly person Young Syefura Othman to help with police investigations on the #Turun protest.

Two days ago, police called 30 individuals including the organizers of the #Turun protest to have their statements recorded.

About 100 had gathered on Saturday outside the Sogo shopping mall on Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman calling for prices of goods to be lowered, but they were blocked by the police while attempting to march towards Dataran Merdeka.

Among others, the protesters called for the government to take immediate action on the rising prices of necessities, deducting ministers’ salaries and addressing the issue of food security.