Dr M says UM grad’s convocation protest not appropriate

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporters after officiating the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2019 Forum in Kuala Lumpur October 16, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporters after officiating the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2019 Forum in Kuala Lumpur October 16, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad expressed his disapproval today of a Universiti Malaya (UM) graduate who protested during a convocation ceremony on Monday.

Dr Mahathir said Malaysians are free to demonstrate as they wish but should not disrupt formal ceremonies.

“They can demonstrate, but there are other places to do that. What would happen if the whole convocation is laced with such people and their protest demonstration?” Dr Mahathir said after attending Yayasan Sejahtera’s forum on poverty eradication at Mercu UEM.

The prime minister stressed the importance of following procedures, rules and regulations.

“We need to follow these rules; otherwise, there will be chaos. You can show those views elsewhere.

“I think this could be the stance the university is taking,” Dr Mahathir said, adding that the government will not interfere in the matter and that UM is free to make its own decision.

On Monday, engineering student and activist Wong Yan Ke held up a placard and chanted slogans to denounce UM’s vice-chancellor Datuk Abdul Rahim Hashim for making allegedly racial remarks during Kongress Maruah Melayu (Malay Diginity Congress) on October 6.

UM was a co-organiser of the congress and Dr Mahathir was the guest of honour.

Wong accused Abdul Rahim of being a political puppet and failing to resolve UM’s financial difficulties.

During the congress, the vice-chancellor claimed Malay political dominance in the country was declining and demanded non-Malays to never question the so-called “social contract.”

Wong’s protest drew both praise and condemnation on social media.

UM invited further controversy when it lodged a police report against him.

Yesterday evening, the police confirmed that Wong will be questioned this afternoon at the Brickfields district headquarters.

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