SUARAM condemns the decision of the IIUM of giving two semesters of suspension to the student who invited Rafizi, the vice president of PKR, to the GST forum held in the school campus last May. SUARAM therefore urges the management of IIUM to review the decision.
The two students, Hanif Mahpa and AfiqahZulkifli, who are the student council president and council’s academic and intellectual secretariat chairman respective, both had the goodwill of organizing an intellectual forum for the student to know more about the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The management of UIA was informed of the list of attending speakers and it has initially approved the forum but only cancelled their approval last minute. In such event, the students should not be blamed for holding the forum without approval as the management should have given advance notice instead.
The UIA should be an educational institution which encourage sharing of intellectual, especially among the younger generation. At the forum, the microphone of one of the speakers, Rafizi, was snatched away by a police officer and the forum was immediately dismissed. The unreasonable move has showed the management has deliberate disregard of the right to freedom of expression and obstructing an intellectual forum.
The act of the management of UIA is to be criticized for bringing political belief into an educational institution. An institution like UIA should not be seen to favor the ruling political party and prohibit those from other political parties from sharing their knowledge on non-political issues such as the GST in this current case. The management of UIA is indirectly disrupting the intellectual growth of the students evidenced by the grave punishment of the members of the student council for organizing such an event.
The gravity of the punishment in this case is too excessive and unnecessary for organizing an intellectual forum, if the management must say, without approval. The students did not committed severe misconduct that deserves such punishment whilst their good intention to organize an informative forum should not be twisted.
In conclusion, SUARAM strongly urges the management to review its decision and to withdraw the suspension on the students.