Monash apologises for Bersih warning to students

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KUALA LUMPUR: Monash University today issued an “unreserved apology” for the wording of its recently issued notice to its students regarding the Bersih 5 rally.

It said the communication did not properly convey the intent of the message, which was to remind students that taking part in an unlawful assembly was contrary to the laws of Malaysia.

“Students need to be aware of the consequences of undertaking unlawful activities. Students who do participate in such activities may be subjected to criminal charges by the Malaysian authorities, and as such, students need to consider carefully their participation in such events,” it said in a statement today.

Monash’s warning to its students that they would be punished if found to have participated in illegal rallies surprised many, including Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen.

Paulsen had said that it was “shocking” for a private university to take the same “hardline” stance of the public universities.

However, Monash was acting well within its rights as the constitution of a private higher educational institution contains prohibitions on a student in any manner associating with any society, association, organisation, body or group, unless allowed by the Registrar General, whether or not it is established under any law and whether it is within or outside Malaysia.

The university has since followed up the first notice with another, which reminded students to be aware of and abide by local laws and considerations.

“We believe our students will demonstrate maturity, and act with responsibility and integrity in this regard.” – FMT

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