SOLIDARITI MAHASISWA MALAYSIA (SMM)
No.3, Jalan 5/58, Taman Gasing Indah, Petaling Jaya,
Tel/Fax: 03-77839525 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Letter by Malaysian NGOs ,Party and Community groups :
Conduct Free and Fair Campus Reelection , Stop Violation on Students’ Right and Drop all Charges Against Students
THE DARNESS IS HAPPENING AGAIN AND AGAIN IN OUR UNIVERSITIES
We, the undersigned groups urge the Ministry of Education to conduct a Free and Fair Campus Reelection. We also demand the Ministry and also the university authorities to immediately stop violating students’ rights to seek free and fair campus election and drop all charges against students.
Campus election is a yearly event that is conducted in all Malaysian local public universities and college universities where students vote to choose their Student Representative Council (SRC). However, complaints on , irregularities in the conduct of the election, abuse of power by the university authorities, rigged or unfair system of voting or campaigning and also biased actions by the authorities have been increasing and comes from all public universities. To date, none of the perpetrators have been brought to justice. The election commission headed by the deputy vice-chancellor in several universities has failed to ensure a free and fair election but is acting unjustly to ensure that their preferred candidates win.
We are listing down a few very significant violations that have taken place among the many violations that were done. The following are among the violations that have taken place.
- Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia (UIAM) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) are using Electronic –Voting System. This system is not transparent, is not credible and there is no privacy for the voter. This is said because the authority will be able to trace who the student is voting for and also there is no recounting process as the computer does all the counting. The results can be easily tampered. .
- The families of six USM campus election candidates and their nominators received threatening phone calls and threats through SMS.
- In Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), candidate nomination forms which were sold at RM 5 last year are now sold at the RM 50 per form. Not only has that, deposits to stand in election been increased from RM10 to RM150 for campus level constituency and RM100 for faculty level constituency. Protest forms are sold at a price of RM300. This is a clear financial pressure for students as to make it difficult for students to stand for election and also to protest at any irregularities.
- In Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), campus authorities have misused their power and authority by organizing at least 9 student gatherings since July 2005 with the motive of promoting pro-university candidates. The campus authorities have also threatened students to vote for Aspirasi’s candidate to prevent themselves from being posted to rural areas such as Sabah and Sarawak as teachers once they graduate.
We have already highlighted all these issues to the Higher Education Ministry. However, before the Ministry of Higher Education gave any direct response to the students’ demand on free and fair campus election or take any action on the irregularities reported, the university authorities have begun to take impetuous action on students who have demanded free and fair elections and highlighted the irregularities of the university authorities.
At the moment, a number of students from UPM, USM and UM have received letters of summons, letters of proceedings or show cause letters. Currently cases of students which are proceeding for hearing are as follows:
i) Lim Sok Swan, second year student of Putra University of Malaysia. She is accused of inciting other students to boycott university permitted campus election during a gathering at UPM Administration Building on 29 September 2005. She is also charged for joining a rally from the National Mosque to the Malaysian Human rights Commission on 7th October, 2005 to submit the Campus Election Report 2005 to SUHAKAM.
ii) Ooi Tze Min, second year student of Putra University of Malaysia, has been charged with 7 cases:
1. Joining an assembly and sending memorandum of Free and Fair Campus Election in front of Malaysia Parliament.
2. Inciting other students to boycott university permitted campus election during a gathering at UPM Administration Building on 29 September 2005.
3. Inciting other students to boycott university permitted campus election during a gathering at no. Premise 8G (7365) Jalan 18/14, 43300 Sri Serdang, Selangor on 26 September 2005.
4. Giving a statement to NTV7 reporter regarding campus election issues on 29 September 2005 at UPM Administration Building.
5. Organizing a money collection activity inside and outside campus from 26 September to 29 September 2005.
6. Joining a rally from the National Mosque to the Malaysian Human rights Commission on 7th October , 2005 to submit the Campus Election Report 2005 to SUHAKAM
7. Joining an assembly at Majistret court Kuala Lumpur on 22 April 2005 in support of the abolishment of the University and College University Act and Internal Security Act.
iii) November 8, 2005- Tan Kar Hing, Third year student of Putra University of Malaysia, was charged with 7 cases also:
1. Being involved in a gathering (to call for a fair polls) in front of the Parliament building on Sept 21.
2. Instigating UPM students to boycott the campus election.
3. Being involved in a gathering at a coffee shop outside campus during nomination day on Sept 26.
4. Issuing media statements in connection with the campus polls on polling day.
5. Collecting money from students from Sept 26 to 29 for a campaign to boycott the elections.
6. Being involved in a procession from the National Mosque to hand over a memorandum to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).
7. Being present at the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court to express support for the repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the UUCA on April 22 .
iv) Ridhuan Bin Othman @ Abd. Razak,(UPM) was charged with the same reason, case fact and same section with Lim Sok Swan, which is Section 3 (f) and Section 11. On 21 September.
v) However there is another charge for Ridhuan and two more student Mohd Hisyamuidin bin Ghazali(UPM) dan Ahmad Taufik bin Kamarudin(UPM). Under Section 11, because of joining a assembly and sending memorandum on Free and Fair Campus Election in front of the Parliament.
vi) A final year USM student was charged for distributing flyers titled “Students Agenda” in the hostel on 10 September 2005 at 11:30pm without permission from the university authorities. .
Actually the “Students Agenda” is flyers on students’ demand for the campus election on international, national and campus level issue. The content of the flyers included students’ point of view on WTO, government corruption, privatization of education, water, electricity and health care, free and fair campus election, university red tape, and freedom of language usage.
vii) Two students from UM were also charged with distributing questionnaires on student welfare. One of them, Karim Abdul Rahim, was allegedly assaulted by a university official before the campus polls, has also lodged a report on the matter.
viii) The other UM student, Zainulfaqar Yaacob, was charged with rude behaviour against a university official and for interrupting the latter’s work, but the university authorities until now are not able to show any proof for the charge.
We the undersigned organizations call upon the Minister of Ministry of Higher Education:
- To declare the recent campus election null and void.
- To instruct and order each university to conduct a free and fair campus reelection or else take responsible for the corrupted electoral system
- To ensure every misconduct is not repeated and take immediate action on any individual/ group/ department who are responsible for it including the Vice Chancellor / Deputy Vice Chancellor.
- To ensure campus elections in the future will be free, fair and democratic.
- To instruct the respective universities to drop all charges immediately on all these students. At the same time, take no action on any students who are involved in the Free and Fair Campus Election campaign.
- We are demanding that the Minister of Higher Education and all 17 local universities’ authorities stop any form of violation of students’ right to peaceful assembly , freedom of speech and expression.
- Abolish the University and University College Act (AUKU)
Signatories to this joint statement:
- Alaiga grade
- All Women's Action Society (AWAM)
- Centre for Community Studies
- Universiti Utara Malaysia Chinese Undergraduate Association
- Community Development Center (CDC)
- DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY)
- Food Not Bombs (FNB)
- Gabungan Persatuan Guru-guru Sekolah Cina Malaysia(Jiao Zhong)
- Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Se-Malaysia (GAMIS)
- Institute For Social Analysis (INSAN)
- Inter Varsity Council of Malaysia (IVC)
- Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
- Jawatankuasa Kebajikan Mahasiswa Mahasiswi (JKMI)
- Jawatankuasa Anti Bau Busuk Kg. Baru Kuala Kuang
- Johor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth Section
- Kelab Rakan Islah Malaysia (KARISMA)
- Kumpulan Aktivis Media Individu (KAMI)
- Kumpulan Kemajuan Masyarakat (KKM)
- Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
- Malaysian Local Democracy Initiative (MALODI)
- Melaka Chinese Assembly Hall Youth Section
- Multimedia University Chinese Language Society
- Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall Youth Section
- New Era College Student Union
- Parti Islam Semalaysia (PAS)
- Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
- Parti Keadilan Rakyat Malaysia (PKR)
- Penang Anti-ISA Network (PAIN)
- Perak Young Graduate Centre
- Persatuan Kawan Karib Perak
- Persatuan Bahasa Tionghua Uinversiti Putra Malaysia (PBTUPM)
- Persatuan Bahasa Tionghua Universiti Sains Malaysia (PBTUSM)
- Persatuan Bahasa Cina Universiti Malaya (PBCUM)
- Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
- Persatuan Kebajian Hopoh Chemor
- Persatuan Persahabatab Chak Kai
- Pertubuhan Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM)
- Pertubuhan Muzik Cina Perak
- Pertubuhan Shin Han
- Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS)
- Save Ourselves, Penang (SOS)
- Save Our School Damasara Community
- Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (SCAH) Youth Section
- Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
- Student Union of South College
- Taiwan Graduates Association of Perak.
- Tholilaliyin Tholar
- United Chinese school committee’s Association of Malaysia(UCSCAM)
- University Malaya Association of New Youth (UMANY)
- Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Chinese Student Council
- Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
- Women's Development Collective (WDC)
- Young People for Democracy Movement, Thailand (YPD)
- Asian Student Association (ASA)
- Student Federation of Thailand (SFT)