SERDANG, Sept 9 — Khairy Jamaluddin pleaded with University of Malaya (UM) students today to eschew their planned boycott of classes tomorrow to protest the sedition charge against law lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Sharom.
The youth and sports minister said he applauded the students’ decision to sympathise with their lecturer, but added that they should not neglect their studies.
“I hope they will not resort to boycotting their lectures although they sympathise with their lecturer,” Khairy told reporters after his ministry’s event here.
“They can express their support, but not to the extent of disrupting their studies,” he added referring to the students, which he called “driven by idealism”.
Yesterday, the University of Malaya Student Council (PMUM) declared a student strike on tomorrow, September 10.
PMUM President Fahmi Zainol said the strike will start at 1pm to coincide with a solidarity movement that the council will jointly host with the UM Academic Staff Union (PKAUM) in support of the law lecturer.
Azmi — a recent casualty of an ongoing sedition dragnet — was charged in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on September 2 for comments he made on the 2009 Perak crisis.
PKAUM coordinator for the solidarity movement, Lee Hwok-Aun, meanwhile, said the solidarity movement will be a peaceful assembly bringing together members of the faculty and student body to exercise their right to freedom of expression.
The solidarity movement, which is open to the public, is scheduled to start at 1pm from three locations on campus — the law, economics and science faculties — and participants will then march on to the university’s main bus stop where the rally will end at 2pm.
Participants are also encouraged to stay back and attend the “Short Talks for Freedom” from 2.30pm to 4pm, where three lecturers will hold a series of short lectures and question and answer sessions.