Updated 5.40pm, 7 May 2009
PETALING JAYA, 7 May 2009: Some 30 former and present students of Wong Chin Huat held a short, peaceful gathering in front of Monash University Sunway Campus main gate this afternoon to show support for arrested academician.
However, they were forced by the police to disperse after just 10 minutes.
There was heavy police presence at the 12.30pm gathering, which was organised by a newly-formed group calling itself Students of Chin-Huat Against Represssion (SCAR).
About 10 uniformed police personnel and several in plainclothes were at the scene and refused to allow the group — who were all clad in black — to hold up placards showing support to Wong, who teaches journalism at the university.
The political scientist and Coalition for a Clean and Fair Election (Bersih) spokesperson was detained under the Sedition Act on 5 May for writing allegedly seditious articles including on the 1BLACKMalaysia campaign.
But after some negotiation, police allowed one of the organisers, Maxine Lim, to read out a statement condemning Wong’s arrest.
“We, students and former students of Monash University who sat through Wong Chin Huat’s classes and tutorials, strongly condemn his arrest under these allegations. My fellow students, what was his crime? …
“We believe that his only so-called crime was to demonstrate his commitment to make Malaysia a cleaner and more democratic country and a place we can continue to proudly call our home,” said the statement
Later Lim told The Nut Graph that Malaysian students are generally apathetic so SCAR is trying to set an example to show that “we don’t have to be afraid to show our dissent in a peaceful manner.”
She hoped that Monash University and the student council will take a stand and defend Wong’s right to freedom of expression.
However, Monash University relationship management senior manager Gavin Gomez declined to comment on Wong’s arrest or his position in the university.
There were also several Suaram members at the scene, including Temme Lee and E Nalini.
Lee was one of 14 people detained last night during a candlelight vigil for Wong at the Brickfields District Police Station. All 14 were released a few hours later.