ACFA is dedicated to connecting civil societies between Taiwan and Southeast Asian in order to defend civic space.
We stand in solidarity with Wong Yan Ke, an youth human rights defender and the former student activist from Universiti Malaya (UM), who now serves as a coordinator in Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), a human rights NGO in Malaysia.
Wong was found guilty under Section 504 of the Penal Code (which refers to intentionally insult a person and provoke a breach of peace) for a solo protest during his graduation ceremony in UM in 2019. After visiting the court for around 70 times from 2020 to 2023, the verdict of Wong's case will be announced on October 9, 2023.
On October 14, 2019, while receiving his bachelor's degree during UM's convocation ceremony, Wong Yan Ke staged a solo protest with a placard demanding the vice-chancellor to resign for his racism remarks in the Malay Dignity Congress. On the next day, the university lodged a police report accusing Wong of disrespecting the ceremony and forbid another student activist to participate in the convocation ceremony in order to prevent the protest from happening again.
Wong was investigated by the police on October 16, 2019, under Section 504 of the Penal Code; on the same day, when he returned to the university to collect his graduation scroll, the staff refused to give him his scroll while claiming that his scroll was 'dirty'. He was only allowed to collect his graduation scroll and academic transcript on October 19, 2019.
Wong was charged under Section 504 of the Penal Code in February 2020. The prosecution was proven a prima facie case in April 2022. He visited the court for around 70 times from 2020 to 2023. On October 9, 2023, the verdict for Wong's case will be announced. The punishment for the case could be up to a maximum of 2 years in jail or fine, or both.
Freedom of speech is a critical and a key pillar of civic space. While standing in solidarity with Wong Yan Ke, ACFA express our concern over the situation of freedom of speech in Malaysia.
- We condemn the Universiti Malaya and the Malaysian authority for silencing student activism and the prosecution against a young citizen who was practicing his fundamental human rights of the right to the freedom of expression.
- We urge the Malaysian government to take action to protect students' fundamental human rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association.
#StopSilencingStudents #StudentActivismIsNotACrime #DefendCivicSpace #FreedomOfSpeech
For more information, go to SUARAM: https://www.facebook.com/suararakyatmalaysia