Monday, July 24, 2006

B. A. (Hons) Thuggery

The Ministry of Higher Education is having a real rough time. From raising optimism with recent developments such as the review of the University and University Colleges Act (UUCA), it has found itself stumbling first on the disgraceful "Ethnic Relations" course "guidebook" and subsequently by widely circulated videoclip on Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) students fracas.

And guess what? All this thanks to the Internet. First we have Malaysiakini breaking the news on the "guidebook" and then, we have the fracas videoclip circulating like wildfire via YouTube.com. And all attempts by the relevant parties to defend, explain away and cover up the relevant facts and incidents were torn to shreds like a single ply tissue paper. But lets get back to the topic, we aren't here to discuss the socio-political impact of the Internet in Malaysia. :)

Have you ever wondered how come so many of our "youths" in political organisations have a tendency to behave like thugs whenever there are parties who don't share their sentiments? There was the incident where Umno Youth-led mob of 400 men - calling themselves the Malaysian Peoples’ Action Front - stormed Kuala Lumpur’s Asia Hotel and went on a rampage in the bid to stop the Second Asia-Pacific Conference on East Timor, also known as Apcet II. The the culprits got away with barely a slap on the wrist.

Some of you might separately remember that another 200 or so UMNO Youth members demonstrated in front of the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (SCAH) in Kuala Lumpur over Suqiu’s 17-point "extremist" Election Appeal. On this occasion, the noisy, provocative demonstrators even threatened to burn down the SCAH.

Then, recently there was the case of another bunch of 50 thugs from the same organisation sent a threatening ultimatum to MCA member of Parliament, Loh Seng Kok for raising valid and seemingly straightforward questions in parliament (blogged here).

As P Ramakrishnan argued in his article in Aliran:
It is rather unfortunate – even regrettable – that the Kelana Jaya division was not ticked off by UMNO or the government for acting brashly. And because this was not done, these agitators get the impression that their deplorable conduct is endorsed and even encouraged by the leadership. The general public perceives this non-action by the government as not only condoning thuggery but also reflecting fear of taking disciplinary action against recalcitrant members whose support they need to remain in power.
Where did all these thugs pick up their skills? Now we know. There is no better place to train our thugs but at our premier institutions of higher learning.

Once again, we have Malaysiakini to thank for being first to publish the report on the controversial incident.
Students Progressive Front (SPF) member Wong Chai Yi claimed she was shoved so hard by members of the university student council, that she fell. She said the incident occurred on Monday when five members of her group set up a ‘help counter’ at 6.30pm at a hostel to provide information on their activities to new undergraduates and offer advice to those with problems.

Wong told malaysiakini that about 40 students - led by the council president - surrounded her group members and scolded them harshly for setting up the counter when the SPF is not a registered group.

“He told us to leave within 10 minutes, saying he did not want any trouble, but we refused to go. They surrounded us and removed our brochures, tables and chairs, and our belongings, to force us to leave... While doing so, they shouted at us and pushed us out of the way. A security guard witnessed this - instead of stopping them, he joined them in pushing us.”
The sequence of event which followed is best captured at Sdr Lim Kit Siang's blog (I just couldn't keep up with him! :)). First, there was just silence from the university and ministry authorities. Then there were the meek attempts to pass the buck and demonstrate "actions" taken. MageP's Lab also had a good account of the events before today.

That was followed by the most farcical of actions taken by the university authorities, led by the vice-chancellor of UPM itself, Prof Dr Nik Mustapha R Abdullah. He has clearly demonstrated that as long as the actions of thuggery is conducted by "pro-establishment" students to "protect" pro-establishment interests, the university authorities will do its best to protect and absolve these students of blame.

UPM’s student representative council president Abdul Manaf Ariffin, one of the leading culprits identified in the videoclip, and its treasurer Alex Yong shook hands at a hastily arranged press conference by the vice-chancellor providing the ‘evidence and reality of racial integration’ in UPM. Read the additional Malaysiakini report for the flip-flops and the pathetic attempts to dodge pertinent questions by the journalists by Prof Dr Nik Mustapha. Putting it simply:
“It is funny how the students who attacked us shook hands among themselves besides the attempt to blame the scuffles as a racial issue. The core of the matter is that the university is suppressing students from carrying out activities on campus,” said [Simon Ooi], a 22-year-old third-year student.
The good thing is before the farcical fiasco could go any further, Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, our Minister of Higher Education got the university to set up an "inquiry panel" as headlined by the Sun today. The committee will comprise of Ethics course lecturer Prof Dr Abdul Rahman Aroff, lecturers Prof Dr Kamariah Abu Bakar (Education), Associate Prof Dr Tai Shzee Yew (Economy), Dr Mohd Bakri Ishak (Law) and Dr S. Vijayaletchumy (Languages).

So the question now, as rightly asked by Sdr Lim, is whether the parties guilty of mob rule led by Abdul Manaf Ariffin will be awarded their first class honours degree in Thuggery with a light slap on the wrist, while the victims unjustly punished or otherwise. We will have to wait and see.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Err...Mr Tony, "thuggery" is both an art and science too :) And don't forget that the person who "orchestrated" this could possible hold a Ph.D in Event Management :)
Thanks for the updates.

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. you're also forgetting about the honorary doctorate that Prof Dr Nik Mustapha R Abdullah will receive -

PhD in Close One Eye.

Anonymous said...

I have been following with great interest on this particular UPM fracas.

In the first place, granted that the boys were aggressive. However, has someone stopped and think why they got agitated? I am told SPF is an illegal society in Universities and very much linked to DAP. As such, whatever activities that SPF does is illegal in nature. In this instance, SPF did not get the approval of the University or the college and set the counter up illegally.

Should they really have wanted to help new students, do it during orientation week. Then it is clear they want to help. Not 2 weeks after orientation week had ended. Thus some people are saying they actually are looking for new members and to spread their DAP influence.

Then there is the question of the video clip. I am surprised that the Malaysia kini or I am actually told Merdeka Review just so happens to be there, ready and armed with a video camera to tape the whole thing. Something stinks and it is that SPF deliberately set up the counter and provoked the boys. Or else, why should there be a video camera and a reporter on standby there. Then when asked to leave because they are doing something illegal, why be stubborn and not want to listen to authorities.


Be fair in your article and state the proper facts and the whole picture. Not just one that you want to tell. Prof Nik might be a bumbling idiot (that in your article I agree) but I must say I am proud to study in UPM and as a Chinese, I have never had any problems with any students or lecturers of any races.

Anonymous said...

Dear anon @ Mon Jul 24, 07:46:10 PM

Those who taped the video are the victims themselves.

Also, what is wrong if a body in the university is linked with the DAP. Is it wrong for people to have a political choice? Or are you one who wants to dictate that the students must pledge loyalty to the Band of Nepotist?

Do you think that supposingly the SPF tried to register themselves, that the UMNO ball carrying VC HEP/ VC will allow it? Technicalities aside, what the SPF did was merely to help out other people. Also, they never once tried to agitate the crowd, as you can hear by that guy saying things like " Jangan gaduh. Kita sama sama respect each other".

As for you being in UPM, i pity you having to put up with such monkeys. Also, it can safely be said that your degree will be viewed condescendingly very soon.

Anonymous said...

I remember that we had praised Tok Pa not long ago. Now see what has he done? Is this his personal and real behaviour or he is under extreme pressure by the UMNO supremos? No matter what, I guess we forgot to put on our glasses before praising him earlier. Time to go to the optician :D

Anonymous said...

As I said SPF was not helping, but merely to find new members and spread its influence. To help means to open the counter during registration day or orientation week, not 2/3 weeks after that.

As for Tok Pa, give the man some credit. He did order UPM to set up an enquiry, and a multi racial one at that. So he is doing something. You cant expect the man to micro manage each and every University. That is why he has VCs, TNCs and so on. So the blame to me should be to the UPM management which I find as lacking.

anyway guys, all riled up because I opened a can of worms on what really happened and SPF's objectives? Too bad.....

In the first place, Chinese students should be clever enough to know how to play it in the campus. What is the use of being under the influence of DAP, opposition based which gives you nothing and only gets you labelled and in trouble. I urge everyone to seek the better party, one which is strong and can talk terms with other parties. I do not mean Gerakan, coz that is preceived to have other races but look at MCA.

Brother Liow and brother Wee can very much help us and guide us in politics.

Anonymous said...

Do you guys know that Zizou was fined and so was Materazzi. It actually shows the Italian was wrong actually.

Lee Chong Wei just got second place in macau OPen...

And blah blah blah....

Guys this is getting boring....move on.....


Or I know, you guys are actually perverts who have nothing better to do and get sexual kicks on these kinds of topics.....

Anonymous said...

This proves that UPM got very healthy co curriicular subject worth 2 credits as part of the WAJIB university course requirements.....'thuggery'
A real hands on course...hehe
I hope other universities will have similar courses in future...it is the extension of thuggery videos we see of secondary school students

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time there was this crab called alexi. he was considered the head honcho by many in his clan. And all other sealife would talk to him and deal with him to live together in the campus.

But after awhile, many crabs were not happy with crab alexi, bcos by then he was talking'crap'.....so then comes another crab, maybe not as handsome named simoneone.

Simoneone became the man. And Alexi the GAY. alexi wake up, everyone knows your secret. and alex, looks like you are not head head crab anymore coz you talk CRAP

ah piau said...

Tony,

between this topic and your previous topic on Friday, July 14, 2006
UUCA: Optimism Unfounded?

Do u think any correlation?

he he just wonder.

Anonymous said...

Even with UUCA currently in place, we have students demonstrating, now thugs and so on.....I actually wonder whether it is wise to repeal or even amend UUCA. The problem is not the provisions within UUCA but the fact that UUCA has not been enforced. Thus, the lax in discipline and attitude. I hope the authorities consider this aspect.

ah piau said...

Readers,

just wonder what the 'spf' doing setting up counter at residential college? Providing information on their activities and offer advice to those with problems?

????????
1. If spf is not a registered soceity in the uni how to conduct activities?????
2. how unregisted soceity can help students with problems?

aiya..... must read again. what do you think?

Anonymous said...

There must be a reason why SPF is not registered or cannot be registered. There are hundreds of registered societies, associations, clubs and what nots in Universities. There must be a reason why SPF is not and cannot be registered whilst others can. Maybe what they want to do is considered as against the laws or rule of the University or considered to be negative influence.

But you are right in saying, unregistered bodies cannot help students.

Anonymous said...

you guys are just crap....ur all so called pro chinise and anti malay...u guys just listen to one side of the story and make conclusions and insult UPM..i dont condone to the violence by the student body, but be rational when giving comments or publishing posts.....
maybe this might clear the air:
http://idealis-mahasiswa.net/editor2006/suratpelayar00154.html

http://www.idealis-mahasiswa.net/visisiswa/visisiswa55.html

Anonymous said...

After all these comments about the UPM fracas, there is 1 thing I can be assured. I wont be sending my children to UPM not even if it's free!

It's a shame to see score of young men surrounding just a few people over something with a political hint. That's what i dont want my children to learn. Thuggery and mob psychology where the a mob bend on violence and anger throws their weight around bullying the majority peaceful people who would stay away from confrontation.

Such despicable and shameful acts which were shown by these bullies and even Dr.Nik Mustapha I felt were somewhat supportive of the incident and feeling nonchalance about it. What a shameful University that Malaysia have.

We go for higher education because we want to be civilised and knowleageable and be able to settle conflicts in a civilised way through negotiation. If our young malaysian cant learn to be that, then help us God for our future wil definitely go for the worse. Dr.Nik and others, please wake up! We are lacking behind in being a Developed Nation ok?

Anak Malaysia

Anonymous said...

The Malaysian universities and national service training are slowly progressing toward the Nazi Youth training mentality. It is part of a long-term trend toward fascism.