Sunday, August 26, 2007

MORE PICS – Varsities Freedom Protest; Have the Winds of Change Started Blowing across the Campuses?; Memo Submitted to Suhakam - "we are listening"

ABOVE: The national Mosque, where the action started

ABOVE Malaysiakini has a Video Clip of the Protest H E RE from the National Mosque to Suhakam Headquarters at Jalan Raja Laut. Following is an account via DAP Ronnie Liu
They are Not pro-opposition but pro-students. But are they also NOT pro-Government? They indeed have the courage to come out and show their faces and would now go back and faced the music.

Are our institutions set up to fence in the individual, rather than to allow the natural development and growth of the individual? Our educational system is in sad straits because we have denied spontaneity or fulfillment to individuals, and ALL our institutions are based upon that premise.

= = == = = == = == = == =

Universities and Unversity Colleges Act (AUKU) is nothing if you dare to speak your mind and take a stand. We are proud of these varsity students who took to the streets. But please do not forget to study hard after the demo. The authority and your parents would then have no excuse to tell you guys off :-).Students want ‘Merdeka’ for their varsities; Syed Jaymal Zahiid; Aug 24, 07 7:30pm Malaysiakini

ABOVE & BELOW: The warm-up at the National Mosque on Friday, students were practicing the slogans before the start

Fifty years ago at Padang Merdeka, the flag of our colonial masters, the Union Jack was lowered and the flag of our country ascended for the first time, proudly proclaiming to all that we are an independent nation.But today, as elaborate preparations to celebrate the country’s 50th birthday at the exact same location, the entire notion of independence was questioned and challenged by students who took part in a protest march in the streets of Kuala Lumpur. The protest, the students said, was meant as a symbolical gesture of dissent against the ruling Barisan Nasional’s consistent tempering with campus elections.

ABOVE & BELOW: The march from the national Mosque to the Headquarters of Suhakam in Jalan Raja Laut

“We want independence for students! Get out of the campus!” they chanted.
Protesters comprise members of the Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement (Dema), Coalition of Muslim Students of Malaysia (Gamis), Central Tunnel Forum (For-Lot), Coalition of Youth and Students (Gamp), Islamic Students Club (Karisma) and University Malaya Association of New Youth (Umany).

ABOVE & BELOW: The Huge Banner was unflured:Free students from the intimidation of the Students’ Affair Department (HEP) and from the iron fisted election system. Independence for students!

Memo to Suhakam

The students, many clad in black as a symbol of protest, were seen marching from the National Mosque towards the Tun Razak tower in Jalan Raja Laut where the Human Rights Commission’s (Suhakam) office is located.

A memorandum was later handed over to Suhakam.
They also stretched a large banner with the words, ”Free students from the intimidation of the Students’ Affair Department (HEP) and from the iron fisted election system. Independence for students!” to drive home their message.

The students have complained on numerous occasions in the past of pro-government groups and the HEP conspiring to “intimidate, persecute and ostracize those who challenge their position on campus.”

ABOVE & BELOW: More closed-up views of the banner

Two striking words stood prominently across each other as the march reached Dataran Merdeka, ‘Independence’ written on the Sultan Abu Samad Building and ‘Independence’ stenciled on the cotton banner carried by the students.

ABOVE: Student leader Mohd Shaari Abdul Rahman (Secretary to the National Malaysian Muslim Association (Gamis) and BELOW: Sheikh Mohd Ali (President of the Malaysian Graduates Solidarity (SMM) delivering their messages

Loud chants of “Student Power” and “Down with Injustice” persistently echoed between federal buildings towering Jalan Raja Laut as the march neared its destination.

Along the road outside Suhakam office, students started delivering their speeches.

Despite the presence of the police, Mohamad Shaari Abdul Rahman, secretary of Gamis shouted gushingly, “Do not challenge the students!!” implying that the group will fight to the end.

“We are here to tell not just students but all Malaysians that our democracy is decaying, democracy in the universities is rotting and we intend to take action!” He then lambasted the ruling party for a system of selection before election”.

We are not pro-opposition, we are pro-students! We have our own idealism, our own opinions and we do not want external forces to meddle with our struggle!” he stressed.

‘The police is good’

ABOVE: One of the 18 Suhakam Commissioners N Siva Subramaniam came out from hiding in his office and accepted the Students Protest Memo and was gracious enough to say a few words that Suhakam is listening. What is the point of listening if there is no Action?. The students have been fenced up for too long and are behaving like robots manipulated on strings

As Mohamad Shaari was delivering his speech, a few policemen pulled one of the student representative to the side and demanded that he listed down the names of the speakers present. Moon Hooi, a coordinator with local human rights NGO Suaram, after witnessing this did not hesitate to exploit the situation by giving a speech alluding sarcastically to the police officers present. “See, we are here peacefully. That is why the police did not harass us. The police even helped us when we were marching. The police made sure that traffic was flowing smoothly and all of us are safe,” he said. “See, the police is good. This is what they (the police) are supposed to do, and they did it well” he sarcastically added to which the crowd, sensing his sarcasm, replied by shouting “Hidup police! (Way to go, police!)” in synchrony.The protest concluded with representatives of the student groups briefing the crowd on their meeting with Suhakam.

Surprisingly, the protest which lasted two hours was incident-free with no arrest made.

= = == some advice from PM Abdullah; but will they listen? For too long their minds have been conditioned into the wrong beliefs

= == == UPDATE:Sunday August 26, 2007

Leaders must fair and just, says PM; By HAH FOONG LIAN; STAR

IPOH: Students who aspire to be future leaders of the country must not side with or love only one race, the Prime Minister said. Speaking to a 1,500-strong crowd of student leaders from all over the country, at Stadium Indera Mulia here on Sunday, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (ABOVE) said:
You cannot be a leader if you side with or love only one race. There are three major races and other communities in the country. You must be responsible to all of them in order to be fair and just,” Abdullah said as the Prime Minister of different races and Barisan Nasional head, he represented many communities. He also advised the students to make friends with those from all communities because as leaders, they would have to discuss with them in future. Recalling his younger days in school, Abdullah said, he had the opportunity to befriend Chinese and Indians who were still his good friends. “We developed a close understanding. Whenever we meet or play golf, we do not look at each other as being from a different race or professing a different religion,” he said.

If we care, respect and foster strong ties, the friendship will not break. We will always help and protect each other,” he added.


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