UiTM condemns attack on UM students

The Friday incident in UM

By By V. Shankar Ganesh

Universiti Teknologi Mara has come out in defence of the Universiti Malaya students who were manhandled last Friday during a protest.

Its vice chancellor Prof Dr Mohd Azraai Kassim said in a statement that UiTM rejected attempts to silence students’ freedom of expression, particularly through the use of physical violence.

“Violence is not only beyond social norms and democracy but it is also against the values of the Malay-Muslim community that is rich in civility and manners, not to mention violating the country’s laws.

“For UiTM, violence is never the way to resolve differences of opinions or ideology and has no place on any of our campuses,” he said

He added that students and academics’ freedom to discuss current issues was a key aspect of the learning process and must be allowed so long as they are within the law.

Azraai also urged the authorities to investigate the incident and take action against those involved in the attack. His statement today follows Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik’s call saying all vice-chancellors should condemn the uncivilised attack on the students.

Maszlee had said that after UM VC Datuk Abdul Rahim Hashim said the attack could have been avoided if all involved had refrained from “provocative” words and actions.

The UM VC hoped that all those involved in the incident would act more maturely in the future without using force.

Last Friday’s incident near UM saw a group of former PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s supporters hurling verbal racial abuse at the UM students for holding up placards asking he return the people’s money and where the RM2.6 billion had gone.

When the students’ refused to give up their placards, the supporters became physically aggressive and destroyed their items. Videos of the incident has since gone viral.