A world-class university needs a world-class vice-chancellor

Agora Society strongly condemns the cowardly act perpetrated by the University of Malaya in lodging a police report against student activist Wong Yan Ke.

The police report was made in light of Yan Ke’s solo protest calling for the resignation of the Vice-Chancellor Abdul Rahim Hashim. A protest of such nature certainly does not merit a police report but only serves to jeopardise whatever goodwill or reputation that the university still had left.

Agora Society is gravely disappointed that this once-great education institution has resorted to the police to help in investigating its own student for expressing his views about the vice-chancellor.

It is our view that the university, being the most prominent university in Malaysia, does not deserve to be associated with values such as open-mindedness and professionalism, which are ironically on full display in its official website.

According to a news report, the university has cited Yan Ke’s one-man protest as being disrespectful of the protocol and running of the ceremony.

But video evidence suggests that Yan Ke’s action did not disrupt the ceremony but merely startled a part of the crowd. Contrary to what the university has alleged, the ceremony on that day ended peacefully, and grievances were only shown after the ceremony and among certain sections of the crowd. This did not in any way disrupt the flow of the event that day.

Therefore, Yan Ke did not in any way disrespect the ceremony, but his action has inadvertently ruffled a few feathers of the powers that be in the university. If the university is unable to tolerate criticism and dissent from a lone student, then it is debatable that it could truly live up to its ideals of being an internationally renowned institution of higher learning in research, innovation, publication and teaching.

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Agora Society also strongly disagrees with the notion that Yan Ke’s action has tarnished the reputation of the University of Malaya, as alleged by the latter.

Yan Ke’s call for a more tolerant university and Malaysia should be applauded instead, and a reputable university should instead defend any student with a progressive stance like Yan Ke.

The only move we have seen that is tarnishing the university’s reputation currently is the police report made against a recalcitrant student and the defending of a purportedly racist vice-chancellor.

Furthermore, UM has since followed up its police reports by barring another fellow student and associate of Yan Ke, Edan Kon Hua En, from attending his convocation ceremony for fear of disrupting public order. Edan has promised that he would not be protesting or displaying a placard but to no avail.

Agora Society questions the need for such harsh action in denying a student his finest moment in university even when he has promised there would be no protest during the ceremony.

Yan Ke is also worried that he might not be receiving his transcript for openly defying the vice-chancellor. Given the university’s recent attitude towards dissent and Yan Ke’s transcript being mysteriously smudged and experiencing printing difficulties, the graduate’s worry is not unfounded. Agora Society wants to remind the university not to engage in personal and petty revenge for denying a young graduate’s four years of achievement.

The Pakatan Harapan government’s response has been equally damning as they were calling for academic freedom and a more tolerant Malaysia ahead of the last general election. Yet they were nowhere to be seen in this whole incident. It is also disappointing that the police have since taken action by summoning Yan Ke for further investigation.

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It is undisputedly clear that what Abdul Rahim Hashim uttered recently is not befitting the so-called “New Malaysia” and his views should be rebuked and challenged.

Criticism of the university and calls for the resignation of its vice-chancellor, stemming from civil society and the public, have since risen, and Agora Society is unequivocally supportive of it. We also wish to express solidarity with all the students who harbour the same view as Yan Ke.

Lastly, we remind the University of Malaya that a university is a place that should embrace diverse and though-provoking ideologies and debate them professionally and rationally.

Thus, we urge the university to withdraw its unnecessary police report if it still harbours any intention of defending academic freedom and the reputation of the University of Malaya.

Agora Society Malaysia is a loose network of individuals who believe in the principles of democracy and good governance.

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Quek Check Shyong
Quek Check Shyong
21 Oct 2019 2.14pm

In the first place, who would in his right mind would use his university for political agenda which is obviously wrong, more so in a multi-racial country!

Irene Chua
21 Oct 2019 4.49am

Funny thing is doesnt reflect as an insitution of higher learning.

Roy Ernest Lim
21 Oct 2019 12.21am

Sad to say… But every professor there has a mindset of a caveman

Roy Solomon
20 Oct 2019 10.33pm

In paragraph no 17… shouldn’t it read University of Malaya rather than University of Malaysia? #Agora Society

Kam Chee Ng
20 Oct 2019 8.06pm

Politician are not suggest to work in education industry,or else will be the next Hong Kong

Quek Check Shyong
Quek Check Shyong
21 Oct 2019 2.19pm

I think it is not as bad as that but close! The Harvard professor must know what he’s talking about!

Lourdes Vincent
20 Oct 2019 6.31pm

Instead of making any Tom Dick & Harry to be a VC proper academic excellence should be the criterior and not political appointees they are the ones who are messing up our education

Mei Wong
20 Oct 2019 5.53pm

million likes 👍

Kooi Huat Den
20 Oct 2019 5.10pm

Is there any…… in Malaysia anymore ?!! 🤔

Anne Raj
20 Oct 2019 4.53pm

Totally agree wit d statement statement

Lc Wee
20 Oct 2019 5.00pm

World class !?!?!?

Al-vin Ng
20 Oct 2019 5.02pm

UM ranking next year will be affected or not?

Samson Thaddeus
20 Oct 2019 4.56pm

You must know somebody to achieve something.

Yong Tan
20 Oct 2019 4.45pm


Laihun Ong
20 Oct 2019 4.52pm

That’s the problem when we mix education and politics.

Sureshpal Singh
20 Oct 2019 4.15pm

This vc fit to be vc of cambridge international university

Maureen Tan
20 Oct 2019 5.54pm

Sureshpal Singh wooo hoo lepas itu ke Oxford ..

Ahmad Mushab
20 Oct 2019 4.05pm

World class University dont require a stupid student and rude, University malaya require a good student

Pau Kar Liau
20 Oct 2019 4.41pm
Reply to  Ahmad Mushab

Ahmad Mushab that explains your high intellect. Perhaps you with your Bumiputera quota and easy Matriculation entry prevented your entry to such esteem organisation

Ahmad Mushab
20 Oct 2019 5.41pm
Reply to  Ahmad Mushab

Pau Kar Liau malay quota is the good condition, why you Problem this

James Christopher
20 Oct 2019 6.42pm
Reply to  Ahmad Mushab

Ahmad Mushab yeah but still require world class vice chancellor.
Though I must add “ why you problem this” is not world class English. 😆

David Yap
20 Oct 2019 7.01pm
Reply to  Ahmad Mushab

Ahmad Mushab it starts with a wise VC… not a dumb one…

Ahmad Mushab
20 Oct 2019 7.56pm
Reply to  Ahmad Mushab

James Christopher ohh, i must Stand with vc

Ahmad Mushab
20 Oct 2019 7.57pm
Reply to  Ahmad Mushab

David Yap vc is the best vice chancellor

Roy Ernest Lim
21 Oct 2019 12.20am
Reply to  Ahmad Mushab

David Yap this is hilarious… That dude has no idea what he’s talking about. It’s like talking to a 2 year old 😂😂

Ahmad Mushab
21 Oct 2019 6.30am
Reply to  Ahmad Mushab

Roy Ernest Lim ok, First i say to you, vc um is the best vc in malaysia and the rude boy not qualified.malaysia adalah majoriti bangsa melayu

David Yap
21 Oct 2019 8.51am
Reply to  Ahmad Mushab

Ahmad Mushab best in?

Peter Yeoh
20 Oct 2019 4.15pm

In Malaysia, you need the right connections for that position.

Jeremy Tankh
20 Oct 2019 4.12pm

Dr M once said of Malaysia, “first world technology but third world mentality”. Our universities are no exception, aspiring to be world class university, but with kampung VC.

Richard Ng Ting Woong
20 Oct 2019 6.03pm
Reply to  Jeremy Tankh

Jeremy Tankh you nail it on the head bro

Lim Heng Hin
20 Oct 2019 8.22pm
Reply to  Jeremy Tankh

Jeremy Tankh , first of all we we were never world class but now we are world class and well-known for all the wrong reasons. 🤣😂👌🏿

Kamal Badri
20 Oct 2019 4.04pm

SRJK failed to produce a civilised student and his character must reflected the chauvinist attitude …

Shreeram Navin
20 Oct 2019 3.58pm

World class uni? Says who?

Kamal Badri
20 Oct 2019 4.00pm

World class university don’t require a student who behaving like a …. His parent failed to give a proper guidance and his teacher must felt ashamed to have a student like him.

Richard Ng Ting Woong
20 Oct 2019 4.06pm
Reply to  Kamal Badri

Kamal Badri he has the right to protest n he probably knows what is right from wrong. Our UM world class ? You probably must be dreaming

Leslie Ho
20 Oct 2019 4.20pm
Reply to  Kamal Badri

Kamal Badri UM took him in. He passed his exam. UM awarded him his scroll.

Rachel Loke
20 Oct 2019 4.29pm
Reply to  Kamal Badri

I rather have a son who can articulate his protest well and a graduate to boot than a bunch … who lost their dignity having to group together in a stadium to boost their pathetic self esteem with racist rhetorics despite having tongkat for past umpteen years. Shameful

Pau Kar Liau
20 Oct 2019 4.42pm
Reply to  Kamal Badri

Patutlah masuk Mara.

Alan Yee
20 Oct 2019 3.58pm

But they think they have a world class VC already and that’s good enough for them. Therein lies the problem.

Brij Mohan
20 Oct 2019 4.07pm
Reply to  Alan Yee

Alan Yee , stupid people will use their stupidity to think.
That’s the sad part.

Kamal Badri
20 Oct 2019 4.09pm
Reply to  Alan Yee

Alan Yee your attitude potrayed the low class mentality of British’s slave from South China who came to this land to escape famine. Ungrateful …

Melanie Akm
20 Oct 2019 4.36pm
Reply to  Alan Yee

Alan Yee some ungrateful … think we should be grateful to them, as though we owe them anything….

Kim Ming Tee
21 Oct 2019 12.22pm
Reply to  Alan Yee

Alan Yee only in Malaysia!

Tajuddin Ariffin
20 Oct 2019 3.45pm

Hapuskan sek. Jenis kebangsaan dulu.

Yap Bin Chun
20 Oct 2019 3.26pm

The look world class, the mind still jungle.

Azul Jon
20 Oct 2019 5.12pm
Reply to  Yap Bin Chun

Yap Bin Chun macam singapo negare world class masok malaysia saman berpuloh ribu x de kemudiri

Richard Ng Ting Woong
20 Oct 2019 3.32pm

So sorry friends they are all political appointees n is a dunggu . Any surprise that our public university is way down the pecking order

Kamal Badri
20 Oct 2019 4.08pm

Richard Ng Ting Woong your attitude potrayed the low class mentality of British’s slave from South China who came to this land to escape famine. Ungrateful …

Pearly Paul
20 Oct 2019 4.35pm

Kamal Badri You have come somewhere too!!

Patrick Ling
20 Oct 2019 3.39pm

Names carry the titles Professor or Professor Emeritus but spoke like uneducated … on the loose, ranting and berating, not the corrupt leaders of the past who bought shame to their race and religion, but those who contribute to the country prosperity and help pay their salaries.