University senate cannot revoke degree of protesting student

2
194
Wong Yan Ke Facebook

The protest by the student awarded the degree clearly does not fall within the misconduct for which his degree can be revoked, says Gurdial Singh Nijar.

With utmost respect, the statement by the president of National Professors Council (MPN) Prof Raduan Che Rose that the Universiti of Malaya has the right to revoke or withhold the degree of its graduate who staged a protest during the university’s convocation ceremony on Monday is misconceived in law.

In particular, the university senate cannot revoke the degree under its rules, as suggested.

The university is governed by the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971. It provides for the adoption of a prescribed constitution, which reigns supreme. Any inconsistency with its provisions is invalid under Section 8 of the act.

Under Section 53 of the constitution, the board of directors may recommend the revocation of a degree that has been awarded. But this power is circumscribed.

First, the board must be of the opinion that the graduate is guilty of “scandalous conduct”. This conduct is defined. It is when the graduate has given false information to obtain the degree.

Then too the recommendation must be made by not less than two-thirds of all members of the board. The recommendation is made to the chancellor. The chancellor must give the graduate an opportunity to be heard before taking any action.

The protest by the student awarded the degree clearly does not fall within the misconduct for which his degree can be revoked.

Arbitrary action of the sort advocated by the National Professors Council on the tail of a similar stance by an NGO is not only against the law but is antithetical to the values of academic freedom and the ethos of a society governed by the rule of law.

READ MORE:  How Malaysia's top university blundered by swatting a protester

There are other ways of engendering appropriate and respectful behaviour. In the final analysis, respect has to be earned and not imposed.

Dato Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar is a former professor at the University of Malaya and president of Hakam.

Sign Aliran's 'Save our Democracy" petition
Sign Aliran's petition calling for a review of the decision to grant Riza Aziz a DNAA
Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
2 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Nair
Nair
21 Oct 2019 5.40am

Everything we read or watch happening in Malaysia is becoming a total mockery…..
Are the National Council of Professors really qualified? Have they read or understood the University Bi Law?????
Its always a Dumb & Blind leading a Dumb & Blind…….

Wengseng Chan
20 Oct 2019 10.40pm

Revoke contract of VC?