Hand over student activist’s degree cert or get sued, activist tells UM

Former student activist Asheeq Ali speaks to reporters outside the Petaling police station in Kuala Lumpur October 16, 2019.— Picture by Choo Choy May
Former student activist Asheeq Ali speaks to reporters outside the Petaling police station in Kuala Lumpur October 16, 2019.— Picture by Choo Choy May

PETALING JAYA, Oct 16 — The legal representative for student activist and engineering graduate Wong Yan Ke has demanded that the University of Malaya (UM) today release his fellow activist’s degree certitification and academic transcript, or face legal action.

Former student activist Asheeq Ali said that when Wong went to the campus earlier in the afternoon to return his convocation gown, he was also prevented from collecting the documents.

“There is no law in Malaysia that permits UM to do so, unless the person is found guilty in a court of law for a serious offence, or is found to have used scandal to obtain the degree,” he told reporters outside the Petaling police station, after Wong delivered a statement to the police.

It is understood that Wong was informed by a clerk in the department handling alumni affairs that his certificate could not be released as it had been smudged, to which he asked for proof.

Upon being told that no proof could be produced at the moment, he questioned if it was related to his protest during the convocation ceremony, to which the clerk said she was not authorised to provide an answer on behalf of the university.

The clerk also could not answer Wong when questioned if his academic transcript has been suspended as well.

Asheeq gave UM 24 hours to respond to the demand, noting that the other graduates at the ceremony managed to obtain their certificates without any hassle.

“As far as I am concerned my client is innocent, as valid criticism against someone with authority should not be considered, assumed, or interpreted as an insult.

“Thus UM should immediately release my client’s degree certificate, failing which we will not hesitate to file the necessary action in a court of law so as to enable him to obtain it,” he said.

Wong is currently being investigated under Section 504 of the Penal Code for allegedly intentionally insulting or provoking a person or persons, with the intent or knowledge that doing so will break the public peace.

The student activist verbally protested and unfurled a placard against the university’s vice-chancellor Datuk Abdul Rahim Hashim during the convocation ceremony on Monday, accusing the latter of racism after he participated in the recent Malay Dignity Congress earlier this month.

UM later lodged a police report against him.

Abdul Rahim had made a speech during the congress in which he warned the Malays were losing political dominance in the country and that the non-Malays must adhere to the nation’s social contracts.

Wong’s protest has since drawn mixed reactions online, with some condemning him for tarnishing a solemn occasion, while others praised his courage in taking a stance.

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