See my original statement here
by Susan Loone
Gerakan has given Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) an earful for suspending Adam Adli Abdul Halim over the ‘Najib flag’ incident, saying that the institution is “over-reacting”.
Secretary-general Teng Chang Yeow(left) said Adam Adli should not have been suspended in the first place, for having briefly lowered a flag with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s image outside the Putra World Trade Centre during a protest last month.
“UPSI’s disciplinary committee is worse than a secondary school’s disciplinary board,” Teng says in hisFacebook post today.
“The deputy vice-chancellor and the four committee members have just damaged the reputation of the university, instead of (that of) Adam Adli. UPSI is endangering the morals and public order of higher institutions in the country,” he says.
A Gerakan grassroots leader and spokesperson for Geraklah Gerakan, Yeap Ban Choon, concurred, saying it cannot be an offence to lower an image of the PM as this was a symbolic gesture on the part of the protesters.
“Adam Adli showed many young Malaysians that the government should not silence dissent among the young intelligentsia,” Yeap said.
A number of opposition politicians are upset with the university’s decision, labelling it unjust and oppressive.
‘Why fear criticism?’
Seberang Perai municipal councillor Steven Sim said only a dictatorship would fear and punish peaceful protesters like Adam Adli and his friends.
The world, Sim (right) said, has recognised protesters as agents of change in several Middle East countries and in Africa, but the university has chosen to silence the student.
He praised Adam Adli and those who had protested against the Universities and University Colleges Act, which bars students from taking part in politics, saying they are “brave and courageous”.
“We hope the university will rescind its decision to punish Adam Adli and free the institution from the grip of narrow partisan politics that only supports the government without criticism,” said Sim, who is Penang DAP Socialist Youth treasurer.
Meanwhile, human rights NGO Suaram said UPSI is practicing “selective punishment” whereby it allows student to hold demonstrations to call for action against Adam Adli and not voice disagreement with university policies.
In a statement today, it called for the university to withdraw the decision not only because it is “unjust” but also to “restore the integrity of the academy”.
“This gross injustice undermines the fundamental values of academic freedom, critical thinking, and freedom from discrimination, all of which are presumably the hallmark of higher learning and democratic society,” it said.