UTM slammed for 6-hour 'grilling' of students

GPA outraged over UTM's action

By V. Shankar Ganesh

Three students from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia were allegedly questioned by campus auxiliary police for six hours yesterday over a protest last month against the imposition of “special fees”.

A students’ group, the Coalition for Academic Freedom (Gabungan Pembebasan Akademik), said the interrogation of the students from MJIIT Voices coalition took place at its Kuala Lumpur campus during the exam week.

MJIIT Voices is a group of students from the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT), a faculty under UTM established in 2010 by the Malaysian and Japanese governments.

Last December, MJIIT Voices urged UTM to remove the “special fees” imposed in addition to its basic semester fees.

It affected close to 600 students who enrolled in the faculty from 2016 to 2018.

Last month, they protested the fee hike in front of the UTM KL campus with some 200 people gathering there.

GPA said in a statement today that the students were interrogated from 5pm to 11pm.

It said this was unwarranted, was done on purpose and against “basic principles of human rights”.

“The management is also aware that the students were sitting for their final semester exams but non-stop investigations are being done by the auxiliary police.”

It also asked why this was being done during Ramadan.

It further claimed the students were intimidated saying the investigations had to go on discreetly and that the university was threatening them with the outdated Universities and University Colleges Act 1971.

GPA said the UUCA should not be used to curb the freedom of students and urged the education ministry to step in and solve the issue. 

It claimed that UTM also failed to properly manage its student-related affairs.