Talk is a rally for academic freedom — organiser

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Universiti Malaya Undergraduates’ Association (PMUM) said yesterday night’s programme with PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim would proceed as planned.

PMUM president Fahmi Zainol told a press conference that they would go ahead with the programme despite pressure from the UM administration to stop it.

The event “Pidato Anwar Ibrahim: 40 tahun dari UM ke penjara”, had been declared illegal by UM deputy vice-chancellor of student affairs Professor Datuk Dr Rohana Yusof.

“The university administration or any authority can put pressure on the struggles of undergraduates,” Fahmi said, adding that they need to stick to their principles.

“Undergraduates face the possibility of being expelled, charged in court and even put behind bars. But this should never weaken the spirit and resolve of students.”

Fahmi said yesterday night’s event was not being organised just to support Anwar, but to send a message that students are fed up of the various restrictions imposed on academic freedom.

The university’s academic staff association (PRAUM) said UM’s “antagonistic stance” against its students is inconsistent with its ambitions to be an internationally recognised institution of higher learning.

PKAUM president Dr Azmi Sharom said: “The UM administration’s antagonistic stance towards the gathering is inconsistent with aspirations to be an internationally recognised and top-ranked institution.” —The Malaysian Insider

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 28, 2014.