Corrected on 3 June 2009 at 7pm
PETALING JAYA, 3 June 2009: Two (corrected) former students who participated in a show of support for Wong Chin Huat, following his arrest for allegedly seditious comments, have been served with police notices.
“We feel that further interrogation is extremely peculiar and completely unnecessary as we had cooperated fully with the police and complied with the conditions which were agreed upon at that time,” said Students of Chin-Huat Against Repression (SCAR) in an e-mailed statement today.
On 7 May 2009, SCAR organised a peaceful gathering in front of Monash University’s Sunway Campus, which drew heavy police presence. The gathering was intended to show support for Wong, a political scientist and Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) spokesperson, after he was arrested under the Sedition Act, and detained, on 5 May.
The gathering, which consisted of around 30 former and current students of the academician, dispersed after 10 minutes due to police pressure.
“We negotiated with the officer in charge and obtained permission to read our statement to the crowd. Although there was clear intimidation by the police, we cooperated fully as we had no intention of causing trouble to anyone,” SCAR’s statement said.
SCAR demonstrating (© SCAR)
SCAR expressed shock at the police notices, calling them “another act of repression” on students’ freedom of expression.
Noting that this may be the first case of “overt student repression in any private university or college”, the group called on all students of such institutions to be vigilant.
“They must not let their freedom of expression and association be taken away from them, because restriction on thought and expression is an obstruction to excellence,” SCAR’s statement read.
SCAR revealed that one of its members received a letter by post from the police yesterday, instructing her to appear at the Subang Jaya police station for questioning about the 7 May gathering. The notice was served under Section 111 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
A subsequent check by human rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) confirmed that two (corrected) former students and a Suaram representative who was present at the gathering were served with notices. They have been given two weeks from 27 May to report to the police station.
The SCAR statement said that for privacy and safety reasons, the group would not reveal the names of the individuals involved.