Youth minister disapproves of UM protest, but warns against revoking activist’s degree

Youth Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman speaks to reporters in Parliament October 11, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Youth Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman speaks to reporters in Parliament October 11, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman has publicly disavowed today a protest against University of Malaya’s (UM) vice-chancellor Datuk Abdul Rahim Hashim by engineering graduate Wong Yan Ke.

The youth and sports minister disagreed with Wong holding a protest during the convocation ceremony, which was in protest against the university’s involvement in the recent Malay Dignity Congress.

“I disagree with using the stage of convocation as a protest arena. The day belongs to all graduates and their parents to feel happy,” the minister tweeted.

However, the Muar MP also disagreed with the university’s response against Wong.

“I also disagree with the call to take away his degree. We can condemn and criticise without depriving a youth of his four-year education,” he added.

Earlier today, the Malaysian Youth Council had urged for Wong’s degree to be withheld until the latter apologises.

There has also been an online petition calling for Wong’s degree to be revoked, signed by tens of thousands Malaysians so far.

Wong had on Monday courted the university’s anger when he held up a banner accusing Rahim of racism and called for the latter’s resignation immediately after receiving his graduation scroll on stage at the Dewan Tunku Canselor.

This was followed by the barring of another graduate Edan Kon Hua En from participating in his convocation the next day after auxiliary police found a folded placard in his possession, leading to suspicion that Kon was planning to use it as a similar protest in support of Wong.

Both graduates were against alleged racist elements in Abdul Rahim’s speech during the Malay Dignity Congress in which the latter purportedly claimed last year’s change in government had eliminated Malay political dominance.

As a result, Wong was earlier today called in to record his statement with the police after UM lodged a police report against him, while Kon was accused by the university of his intentions to disrupt proceedings.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad earlier today also stated that while students have the right to protest, a convocation ceremony was not the right place for such actions.

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