M'sians Defend UM Student Activist Who Protested Against Vice-Chancellor At His Graduation
During his graduation ceremony, student activist Wong Yan Ke went up on stage with a placard and shouted, "This is Malaysian land!"
The video of the University of Malaya (UM) graduate protesting during his convocation garnered over 332,800 views on Twitter.
Wong started a movement demanding the resignation of the vice-chancellor, following his racially-charged speech at the recent Malay Dignity Congress
According to Free Malaysia Today, vice-chancellor Abdul Rahim Hashim was seated right in front of the stage during the student's protest.
Wong, who is also the president of Universiti Malaya Association of New Youth (UMANY), explained the reason behind starting the movement #UndurVC on his Facebook profile.
He wrote, "Some of you might be wondering whether this is worth it, especially since this would be my first and last convocation. But I hope this would not be taken lightly."
"The message behind this protest is that when students or lecturers find a leader to be unqualified, then we have the valid right to criticise."
Wong said that prior to the protest, he had approached his lecturers for advice.
He claims that the vice-chancellor's remarks at the congress had left other academics and students appalled.
He mentioned that although his lecturers are against the vice-chancellor's decision to use the university name towards pushing a political agenda, they cannot speak up as they would be silenced by the administration.
He wrote, "They are not allowed to question the vice-chancellor to an extent that they have to ask student bodies to take action."
University of Malaya has since released an official statement regarding the incident
The university called his actions rude and intrusive. They have also filed a police report against him.
However, netizens are coming to Wong's defence, saying that his protest is an appropriate show of courage
One person wrote, "The number of Malaysians asking UM to strip his degree because of his protest against the Malay Dignity Congress is scary. No wonder Malaysians live in their own box of ignorance. They don't like defiance. Power to the man. He has more balls than any of his detractors."
"Protesting isn't meant to be polite. It is supposed to disrupt. Make us all uncomfortable. It's provoking and yes, even at times, vulgar. But most of the time the things that these people are protesting or fighting against is also all that. Racism is rude, vulgar and hurtful," said another netizen.
One Twitter user wrote, "He didn't protest the Congress. He is protesting the VC who said some racist remarks during the congress. If a teacher said something racist you'd also keep quiet is it?"
In March, Wong was manhandled when he protested against Najib who was conducting a meet-and-greet session outside University of Malaya: