Students: Occupy UM to stop for now

Students: Occupy UM to stop for now

KUALA LUMPUR - Occupy Universiti Malaya (UM) will stop for now, but warned that they will take the matter to court if the outcome of a meeting with the university's vice-chancellor is not in their favour.

UM Islamic Students Association president Khairol Najib Hashim said vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Amin Jalaludin has given an assurance that he would be meeting with the Students' Representative Council. .

"We trust the council to represent us at the meeting and fight for the rights of the students who were unfairly charged by the university," he said.

The movement was sparked by the disciplinary action which was brought against several UM students who organised a talk by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on campus in October.

Students of Occupy UM had been camping outside the university's Kuala Lumpur entrance since Wednesday, while attending classes and revising for their upcoming examinations.

In a statement on Friday, UM Students' Representative Council said it has declared its solidarity with the eight students - Abraham Au, Syamimi Munira, Khairul Anwar, Haw Yu Hong, Adam Fistival, Khairol Najib, Safwan Shamsuddin and Fahmi Zainol, who had been hauled to face the disciplinary action.

While Au was subsequently cleared of all charges, the rest were slapped with disciplinary action ranging from fines to suspension.

Several students set fire to an effigy bearing a photograph of the deputy vice-chancellor (student affairs and alumni) Prof Datuk Dr Rohana Yusof earlier yesterday.

Khairol Najib said the burning of the effigy was symbolic of the "death of democracy on campus".

After erecting tents outside the university's chancellery yesterday evening, around 40 students plastered signs saying "See you in court" on the building's walls before dispersing.

"If the outcome (of the meeting) is not in our favour, we will take this issue to the courts," he said.

Khairol Najib added that the movement was also fighting for the broader issue of academic freedom.

Earlier yesterday, students moved their camps to the student affairs department located next to the Perdanasiwa complex, before ending up at the chancellery building.

Occupy UM also handed their memorandum to deputy vice-chancellor (academic and international) Dr Mohd Hamdi Abd Shukor, who said the university was open to hear what the students had to say.

"We do sincerely want to address students' concerns, but not even the vice-chancellor can overturn the outcomes of disciplinary proceedings - we have to follow the appeals process according to the rules.

"The disciplinary committee is an independent one, comprising senior lecturers with management experience - we do not influence their judgment in any way," he said.

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