The UM Student Activist Who Is Putting His Education On The Line For "A Better Malaysia"

Holding on to his belief for a better Malaysia, 23-year-old student leader Fahmi Zainol is defying a ban from Universiti Malaya to cancel an event featuring a speech by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. The Public Service Department (PSD) scholarship student could potentially face suspension, but he is undeterred.

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10 Dec — 11:08 AM

UM Student Activist Fahmi Zainol Suspended For Organising Banned Anwar Campus Talk

Universiti Malaya (UM) has decided to suspend and fine two out of eight students who were accused of organising a banned programme that saw opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim entering the campus in late October. The disciplinary hearing that took place today for the eight students, popularly known as the UM 8, lasted about 12 hours.

Despite being spared expulsion, Fahmi Zainol, former Student Council president (PMUM), has expressed his disappointment with university authorities for suspending him for two consecutive semesters and fining him RM600. Another who got off lightly was Pro-Mahasiswa chairman Safwan Shamsuddin, who was given a one semester suspension with a fine of RM300.

The rest of the students involved were fined RM150 and given a warning, while president of UM’s Muslim Students Association, Khairol Najib was given a word of caution. The other students punished were PMUM vice president Haw Yu Hong, secretary-general Nur Syamimi Munirah, Khairul Anwar, Haw Yu Hong, Adam Fistival Wilfrid.

Fahmi said he was surprised that the university did not expel him and his fellow student activists."No matter... What is important now is to continue fighting for the freedom of speech for the students. (This fight is) Not for us but for the generations to come. All this must change."
10 Dec — 10:50 AM

27 Oct: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim Is Expected To Speak At Universiti Malaya (UM) Tonight, 27 October 2014, On The Eve Of His Final Sodomy Appeal

27 Oct — 05:40 PM

The Universiti Malaya Undergraduates Association (PMUM) Had Invited The Former Student Leader At UM To Speak At The "40 Years: From UM To Prison" Event

Universiti Malaya Undergraduates Association says it would go ahead with the event featuring Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, despite warning from campus authorities.

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Anwar was invited by PMUM to speak tomorrow night, the eve of his appeal at the Federal Court where he is seeking to overturn his sodomy conviction. If unsuccessful, he faces five years in prison.

The UM student council is one of the oldest student bodies registered under the University of Malaya (Student Bodies) Statute 1979 and the statute has not been repealed by the university. The student body, in a bid to restore student activism to the heights achieved during the days of Anwar in the late 1960s to the early 1970s, has been at loggerheads with the UM administration since word of the talk spread.
27 Oct — 06:04 PM

However, UM Has Declared The Event Illegal. They Claim The Event To Be An Illegal Gathering To Topple The Government.

Univesiti Malaya has banned a campus talk by Anwar Ibrahim.

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The country’s premier university has banned a campus talk by alumnus and Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim scheduled for tomorrow, claiming the event organised by its student council is an illegal gathering aimed at “toppling the government”.

“Please be informed that the programme ‘Anwar Ibrahim: 40 Years from UM to Jail’ scheduled for October 27, 2014 at UM’s Dataran Dewan Tunku Canselor (DTC) is banned as the programme was not approved by the university. “The university has also given a police warning that the talk is an illegal gathering with the purpose of toppling the government,” stated the university notice, which was emailed this evening to several news organisations and confirmed to be legit by Lee Jin Yang, deputy president of University of Malaya Student Council (PMUM).
27 Oct — 05:40 PM

UM's Deputy Vice-Chancellor In Charge Of Student Affairs, Prof Datuk Dr Rohana Yusof, Has Ordered Students To Stop The Event

The programme, titled “40 years, from UM to prison”, has been declared illegal by UM deputy vice-chancellor of student affairs Professor Datuk Dr Rohana Yusof, as it would “damage the image” of the university.

The circular stated that the programme featuring Anwar was against the University and University Colleges Act 1971. It further forbid UM students from being in the vicinity of Dataran DTC from 4pm tomorrow, warning that those who violated the order could be suspended from their studies or even expelled. The notice was signed by UM’s deputy vice-chancellor in charge of student affairs, Prof Datuk Dr Rohana Yusof.
27 Oct — 06:10 PM

Event Organiser And PMUM President Fahmi Zainol, 23, Faces A Suspension And Fine If He Does Not Relent

PMUM president Fahmi Zainol was slapped with a show-cause letter last Thursday for organising the talk, for which the student leader faces suspension from studies and a RM200 fine if he does not cancel the event.

PMUM's Fahmi has refused to retract the invitation and insists the event will go one.

“If they want to expel me, then go ahead. Let this be a lesson for the public on what is going on in universities and Malaysia,” Fahmi told The Malaysian Insider. “Let the students see the truth, that while they may be soaking up knowledge from the top institutions in Malaysia, in the end they are still controlled by an unjust authority. “I am willing to be expelled, to be imprisoned, anything for the sake of making Malaysia a better place,” the Social Administration and Justice final-year student said.
27 Oct — 06:04 PM

Fahmi Explained That The Event Was Not A Show Of Support For Anwar, But A Message To Fellow Student Activists Nationwide To Act On Their Beliefs

Fahmi explained that the programme, scheduled to begin at 9pm, was also a message to fellow student activists nationwide to be bold and courageous to act on their beliefs. Tonight's event, he said, was not a show of support for Anwar. It was aimed at sending the message that students were frustrated with the numerous academic restrictions imposed.

Fahmi has also received support from a coalition of 20 student associations, Mahasiswa Ganyang Akta Hasutan (Ganyang), which has members from 10 public and private universities.

Fahmi said that with the students’ rising up on Monday and Tuesday, he hoped it would trigger “something bigger” across the entire country that would force the government to realise it had no choice but to change its ways. “I want to see Malaysians stand up and usher in the real Malaysia – the country as it should be, with all its strengths and resources and wealth. “I want Malaysia to be ruled by people who care about its countrymen and will move the country forward, and bring together all the races as one people.”
27 Oct — 06:04 PM

Joining Him Is The Opposition Leader Who Also Plans To Defy The Ban And Go Ahead With His Appearance

Anwar's aide, Dr Fahmi Ngah, told The Malaysian Insider earlier today that the PKR de facto leader plans to attend the event, which will be held in the square outside the Dewan Tunku Canselor on the campus grounds. "I deplore the latest acts of intimidation by UM against Fahmi," Anwar said of Rohana's statement reported by Berita Harian on October 24, that Fahmi could be suspended and fined RM200 for disobeying the university's ban on the event.

Anwar praised Fahmi for "braving the threats of expulsion and criminal prosecution" and said Putrajaya could to expect to remain in power "indefinitely". "They must stop the current campaign of marginalising and intimidating student leaders, academicians, professors and lecturers who dare to question the establishment," he said.
27 Oct — 06:04 PM

The Ban Has Brought Out Questions About The Academic Freedom Of The Institution

PKAUM president Dr Azmi Sharom said that the Association "affirms that Universiti Malaya, our place of work, learning, research and intellectual exchange, and a public university of a country aspiring for democratic maturity, must safeguard academic freedom and freedom of speech."

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Meanwhile, PKR said the UM management's show cause letter to organisers of the event tomorrow showed it was politically outdated. "The UM management have also successfully belittled the abilities of the UM graduates to think and rationalise independently," PKR Youth vice-chief, Fahmi Fadzil said.

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok has also warned the UM management against making itself a "laughing stock" of the academic world if it insisted on banning the event. "Anwar is a former alumni member of University Malaya. He is an elected representative of the rakyat and the opposition leader in Parliament. "He has spoken at many meetings and ceramah nationwide, hence he should be allowed to speak at the event," she said.

Meanwhile, Universiti Malaya's Academic Staff Association (PKAUM) says it views with great concern the recent developments surrounding the said PMUM event featuring UM alumnus Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. PKAUM president Dr Azmi Sharom (left) said that the Association "affirms that Universiti Malaya, our place of work, learning, research and intellectual exchange, and a public university of a country aspiring for democratic maturity, must safeguard academic freedom and freedom of speech." "Universities must be safe havens for our youth to explore ideas and ideals, and to express their thoughts and sentiments. The only prohibitions should be on hate speech, defamation, violence and other legal infringements, for which general laws are adequate.
27 Oct — 05:40 PM

Anwar Says The University Should Focus On Improving Its International Ranking Rather Than Trampling On The Fundamental Rights Of Students

Ahead of a speech to students tomorrow night, the opposition leader said the country's top university lacked spine and was illogical in saying that his presence on campus would tarnish its image. Anwar, who was once a student leader at UM, said students needed exposure to political and current issues for their academic and intellectual development.

"To suggest that the event would ‘damage the image’ of the university defies logic. On the contrary, such an event would help to enhance its image as an institution that fosters vibrant discourse on socio-economic and political developments."

"You cannot sweep under the carpet issues such as the rising cost of living, social injustice and the use of the Sedition Act as a tool of political repression and the economically oppressive National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN). "Rather than trampling on the fundamental rights of the students in exercising their freedom of association and expression, the university authorities should instead focus its attention on how best to improve the university’s international ranking," he said.
27 Oct — 06:04 PM

There Were Also Talks That The Police Would Be Called In To Handle Security During The Event, Of Which The Police And UM Authorities Have Denied

Universiti Malaya Undergraduates' Association (PMUM) president Fahmi Zainol has said that despite the brouhaha over tonight's event at which Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is scheduled to speak, the event will go on.

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PMUM deputy secretary Leong Yu Sheng had issued a press statement claiming the lockdown tomorrow, and attached a copy of Rohana's letter addressed to all students. The notice states that the police had warned the university that the event, "40 Years: From UM to Prison" was to "topple the government", and said all entry points except the main gate along Jalan Universiti would be closed.

Brickfields police chief, Assistant Commissioner Muhammad Azlee Abdullah, told The Malaysian Insider that the police had not received any such request from the UM. "Universiti Malaya has its own security department, and they also have auxiliary policemen. They have not made any request to us. "Police are always prepared to assist in matters pertaining to internal security and public order," he added.

The university also denied that police would take over campus security tomorrow to block the event. Professor Datuk Dr Rohana Yusof also denied issuing any threats of disciplinary action against students who participated in the event. "There is no notice. UM never gave permission for the activity so we do not expect such a thing to happen tomorrow," she told Malaysiakini.
27 Oct — 06:14 PM

Fahmi Zainol Joins A Rising Group Of Youth Activists, Including Adam Adli And Ali Abdul Jalil, Who Are Challenging The Government Through Social Activism

Fahmi is not the first youth activist in recent years to challenge the government through social activism, and he is unlikely to be the last, as vocal academics, such as Associate Professor Dr Azmi Sharom and Dr Abdul Aziz Bari continue to teach the country’s youth the importance of true democracy. Fahmi follows in the footsteps of his seniors Adam Adli, Safwan Anang, and Ali Abdul Jalil – all whom have paid the price through the Sedition Act 1984.
27 Oct — 06:04 PM

In September 2014, UM Law Lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Sharom Was Charged For Sedition

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