KUALA LUMPUR: A Universiti Malaya (UM) graduand, who stirred controversy when he held a protest at the university’s convocation on Monday, is being investigated by the police under Section 504 of the Penal Code.
Section 504 deals with intentionally insulting and provoking a person, knowing that it can disrupt public peace. The offence carries a maximum punishment of two years’ jail or a fine, or both.
Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim said UM lodged a report on the incident at 12.30pm on Tuesday.
“The incident involved a 23-year-old male student, who, after receiving his scroll, produced a placard urging the UM leadership to resign, while shouting the phrases ‘Tolak Rasis’, ‘Undur VC’ and ‘Ini Tanah Malaysia’, directed at the UM leadership on stage.
“The student’s action contravenes ceremony protocol and disrupted the convocation proceedings,” he said in a statement.
Mazlan said the police would not compromise on those who disrupted public harmony or touched on issues affecting racial and religious sensitivity.
The student, Wong Yan Ke, was questioned for about an hour at the Petaling police station yesterday.
Wong, a civil engineering graduate, was accompanied by his legal representative, Asheeq Ali, who said the university had yet to release Wong’s scroll.
Asheeq said they had given UM 24 hours to release the scroll, and that the university had no right to withhold or suspend Wong’s degree.
Wong said he had gone to the university to turn in his robe and to collect his scroll. However, he was told by the staff that the scroll was “dirty” and needed to be replaced.
“I asked whether my protest led them to suspend my certificate and they replied they could not answer on behalf of UM.
“UM’s website, however, clearly states that all we have to do is return the robe to get our scroll.”
On whether he would issue a public apology over his actions as per a petition on change.org urging him to do so, Wong replied in the negative.
He said he would “do it all over again” as there was no point getting his certificate if he could not stand up for his beliefs.
He said there was no right time or place for a protest, and that he was merely exercising his democratic right.
Datuk Dr Wan Nazari Wan Jusoh, who is UM’s Foundation in Science Studies Centre alumni president, said a memorandum had been issued to the university, urging it to act against Wong by holding back his scroll or transcript for an appropriate period.
Wan Nazari said Wong’s protest during the convocation was an insult to the ceremony.
“His actions can be considered as insulting the prestigious ceremony and indirectly insulting our chancellor, Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.”
Wan Nazari expressed hope that students would not follow Wong’s example.