The Malaysian Academic Movement (Gerak) condemns the recent violent threats made by vicious individuals against student leaders from the University of Malaya Association of New Youth (Umany).
Threats of this nature – and those making these threats – have no place in a civilised society.
Unfortunately, they have become common place in Malaysia, and often little seems to be done by the authorities to stop them and to charge or, better, to educate these groups and individuals.
This inaction or slowness in acting by the authorities must change. Threats of violence against law-abiding citizens must be investigated quickly and resolved effectively.
This time around, the threats followed police investigations of a Facebook posting by Umany on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Malaysian politics.
The Umany students had every right as citizens to voice their concern and many of us believe they insulted no one and certainly were not seditious. But the authorities were nonetheless swift in moving against them.
Gerak believes the police investigation was uncalled for, akin to using a sledgehammer to strike down a fly.
It is sad and duplicitous that, on the one hand, we urge our students to be questioning and critical, yet when they are, as in the case of the post by Umany, we detain, interrogate and intimidate them.
In any case, Umany has since then taken down the post and apologised.
Now they are being threatened with death and personal injury. These threats of violence must be roundly condemned, investigated and nipped in the bud. Just as the authorities were quick to detain and question the students, so must they now move just as quickly against those making these threats.
Sadly, often these threats are racially motivated and reflect blind hatred, without there being any understanding of what the actual issues are about.
Gerak believes this blind hatred, reinforced by self-serving politicians and others who should know better, must be strongly countered by everyone concerned, certainly by the authorities and those of influence at every level of Malaysian society.
Prof Zaharom Nain is chair of Gerak