Public Interest undermined in the Prosecution of Student Activist

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is appalled by the decision of the Attorney General Chambers to prosecute student activist Wong Yan Ke under Section 504 of the Penal Code for his protest during University Malaya convocation in October 2019.

The allegation that Wong Yan Ke’s method of protest and action could lead to a breach of the peace is absurd and unjustifiable. The charge sheet against him suggests that his protest could provoke the Vice-Chancellor of University Malaya to act in a manner that would lead to a breach of public peace. In what academic institution would a graduate expect or know that a Vice-Chancellor could so easily be provoked by a placard and commit an offence as a result of it?

The Attorney-General Chambers’ indiscretion continues when the Public Prosecutor, Mohd Saphian Zakaria offered bail at RM10,000 claiming the case to be of public interest and that the bail would be a stern reminder to Wong Yan Ke. Both claims are equally absurd as there is no public interest in stifling peaceful protest nor is the bail system a mean to punish an offence or serve as a warning.

A Public Prosecutor who has no conception of public interest nor the role of bail in the criminal justice system should not be in any position to conduct any case on behalf of the chambers as their indiscretion would only bring shame to the Attorney General Chambers and cause public harm.

To this end, SUARAM calls for the Attorney General Chambers to withdraw the case immediately and ensure that such absurd prosecution would be a thing of the past.

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