BERSIH 2.0 is extremely disappointed to hear that Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) is following in the footsteps of Universiti Malaya (UM) by threatening disciplinary action against two of its students, Mukmin Nantang and Nurul Aqilah Muhammad Zainuzi, for their participation in the BERSIH 5 rally last year.
UMS obviously does not recognise its students’ agency by restricting their constitutional rights to freedom of expression and freedom to assemble and associate freely. Instead of threatening punishment, UMS should be defending Mukmin’s and Nurul Aqilah’s rights as brave, mature individuals who are actively participating in the democratic process and taking on the responsibility to shape a new, better Malaysia.
A respectable educational institution is supposed to encourage discourse and critical thinking, be it for or against the status quo. By initiating punishment on its students for exercising their rights as enshrined in the constitution, UMS is clearly not one such institution.
BERSIH 2.0 strongly urges UMS to stop all disciplinary proceedings against Mukmin and Nurul Aqilah, if not to recognise their rights and freedoms guaranteed by article 10 of the Federal Constitution, then to preserve the university’s reputation as a proper educational institution.
BERSIH 2.0 also urge the authorities to pay heed to SUHAKAM’s statement urging much-needed reform of the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971, which in its current form, only serve to stunt the education of our students.
It’s time to stop punishing and restricting our youths and instead working towards creating a new Malaysia where they can flourish and thrive.
Signed by the BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee members