KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 ― Roughly 60 per cent of respondents in a recent survey said they were “very dissatisfied” with the solo protest of engineering graduate Wong Yan Ke during the University of Malaya (UM) convocation ceremony.
Think tank Centre for Governance and Political Studies (Cent-GPS) said this result still holds when broken down according to ethnic groups, suggesting that the dissatisfaction has less to do with race than with cultural norms.
“When broken down into race, we were surprised to find that the results were similar across the Malays and non-Malays,” it said in a statement.
Among Malay respondents, 62 per cent said they were “very dissatisfied” with the protest, compared to 59 per cent with the non-Malays. Overall, those who were “very satisfied” counted as 61 per cent of the respondents.
In comparison, the proportion of respondents who were “very satisfied” with the protest were 16 per cent for both Malays and non-Malays.
“The results turned out the way it did, perhaps due to our cultural norms. Maybe it is just generally bad-taste amongst all Malaysians to interrupt a ceremony as such,” it said.
However, it said it could not ascertain the reasons for the satisfaction or vice versa among the ethnic groups.
Cent-GPS surveyed 1,090 respondents aged 18 and above, between October 17 and 20.
Malays made up 60 per cent of the respondents, followed by ethnic Chinese (37 per cent) and ethnic Indians (4 per cent).
Wong had protested against UM vice-chancellor Datuk Abdul Rahim Hashim’s speech during the recent Malay Dignity Congress that was deemed racist by carrying a placard to the stage while receiving his bachelor's degree, urging the latter to resign.
He was then 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.
This was followed by the barring of another student Edan Kon from participating in his convocation the next day after auxiliary police found a folded placard in his possession.