Thursday, November 25, 2004

On Soh Sook Hwa: Recognize the Political Rights of Students and Youth

Dear friends,

We ask your support and solidarity to the campaign for upholding and protection of political rights and civil liberties by the DEMA (Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement), a member organization of the Asian Students Association.

In particular, we request that we altogether support Soh Sook Hwa, a 22 year old student who is now being prosecuted for being allegedly involved in the March 2004 elections in Malaysia. Whether or not she has involved herself in the last elections by supporting any political party or candidate, it is but her right as an individual and a constituent of the Malaysian society to express her political beliefs and stand by them.

The Universities and University Colleges Act, among other laws in Malaysia, is a very repressive and oppressive tool wielded both by the state and the university administrations to curb the Malaysian youth's critical voice. Once prosecuted, most students are suspended or expelled from the university. The University of Science Malaysia, as what we will learn from the document sent by DEMA, has been notorious in using this law to suppress students' rights and freedoms.

We wish for you to write as an organization or an individual to the USM administration to request, if not demand, recognition of Soh's political rights and freedoms, among other things. Let us not allow the USM authorities and the UUCA law to hinder Soh's political growth and her future.

Please forward a copy of your letter to us in ASA ( as well as to our fellow comrades and leaders (

We look forward to your reply and action.

With our hearts, minds and hands joined with the youth and people, we will never falter.

Urgent Appeals

USM student facing punishment for political involvement

Choo Chon Kai
Suaram Penang

Soh Sook Hwa, 22, a final year student of University of Science Malaysia (USM), has been charged by the university authority for allegedly participated in the election campaign in March this year.

Soh is accused for involved in the election campaign and offended the University and University Colleges Act (UUCA), which is stated in Section 15 that any student is not allowed to involve or show support, sympathy or opposition to any political party, union or organization without prior permission from Vice Chancellor.

Soh has been called by the Division of Student Affairs and Development of USM to attend a hearing chaired by Deputy Vice Chancellor in-charge of Division of Student Affairs and Development, Associate Professor Jamaluddin Mohaiadin, on 24th November 2004. She might face the maximum punishment of expulsion from the university.


3 students were alleged to be suspected involved in election campaign, during 11th General Election in March this year, by the Division of Student Affairs and Development of USM. They were investigated by the Security Department of USM since April. All three of them were called to attend an enquiry session on 27th May. Among two of them were final year students in 2003-04 term and graduated in August this year. These two students were managed to graduate. Another student, Soh, who is now in her final year in 2004-05 term was remained under investigation and now is facing threat of being expelled.

USM has an infamous track record of suppressing student activism for recent few years.

UUCA is one of the notorious repressive laws that have been used to curb student activism since 1971. Fundamental liberties of a student such as freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of thoughts are being taken away with the existence of such laws.

Soh, who is an eligible voter and granted her right to vote under the Federal Constitution, is now facing persecution of the University authority for her allegedly involvement in election campaign. It is unjust and unreasonable to forbid students to participate in political activities, and it has severely violated civil liberties of a voter in a democratic society.


We call upon civil society groups and concerned individuals to write to the USM authority, to express your concern towards the student who is now fear of facing expulsion and denied her civil rights under a repressive law.

Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:

- expressing concern on the problem faced by the student

- calling the USM authority to drop charges against Soh, for her alleged involvement during the election campaign period

- urging the USM authority not to take further action against the student for her involvement in election campaign

- calling on the USM authority to ensure the civil liberties of the student are respected and protected

- calling the USM authority stop harassing students to exercise their fundamental liberties by using the repressive UUCA and other similar regulations


Professor Dato' Dzulkifli Abdul Razak
Naib Canselor
Pejabat Naib Canselor
Universiti Sains Malaysia
11800 Minden
Pulau Pinang
Tel: 04-6573987
Fax: 04-6565401

Dato' Profesor Madya Jamaluddin Mohaiadin
Timbalan Naib Canselor
Bahagian Hal Ehwal dan Pembangunan Pelajar
Universiti Sains Malaysia
Tel: 04-6568869
Fax: 04-6573761

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