There are other places to demonstrate, Dr M says on student protest

(FMT) – Dr Mahathir Mohamad today commented on the lone protest carried out by a Universiti Malaya (UM) student during his convocation ceremony on Monday, saying there are other venues for such demonstrations.

The prime minister also said there were certain procedures, rules and regulations which must be adhered to, “otherwise there would be chaos”.

“What would happen if the convocation was laced with these people and their protests?

“They can demonstrate, but there are other places to do that,” he said.

“Don’t disturb a proper ceremony by trying to show that you have certain views. You can express your views elsewhere.”

He added that he assumed this was the stand taken by the university.

Mahathir said this when asked if UM was right to censure the student in question.

Speaking to reporters after launching Yayasan Sejahtera’s Community Development Fund here, though, he said the government would not interfere too much in the matter as the university was free to make its own decisions.

Student activist Wong Yan Ke sparked controversy on Monday when he carried a placard on-stage as he received his scroll.

Wong, a former president of the vocal University of Malaya Association of New Youth, was protesting against vice-chancellor Abdul Rahim Hashim, whom he said had shamed the university through its involvement in the Malay Dignity Congress on Oct 6.

Rahim was reported to have made a racially charged speech at the gathering which was organised by UM and three other public universities.

UM later lodged a police report against Wong, accusing him of tarnishing the university’s image as well as disrupting convocation protocols.