MALAYSIA: Trial drags on and on for seven suspended university students 


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-29-2003

MALAYSIA: Right to assembly, right to education, denied for seven suspended university students

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received a report that the academic careers of seven university students who were detained allegedly for illegal assembly on June 8, 2000, continue to wait for the resumption of their studies pending their trial, which has dragged on for more than three years. As their next court hearing is scheduled to take place from July 7 to 14 this week, your urgent action is required to pressure the authorities to withdraw the charges against the seven students and to reinstate them so that they may continue their studies.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission


On June 8, 2000, more than 500 students protested against Malaysia¡¯s draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) of 1960 in front of the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur. During the demonstration, seven students were arrested and brought to the Tun H. S. Lee police station at Jalan Stadium where they were detained until the next day when they were granted police bail. They were then charged, however, for allegedly participating in an illegal assembly, which is illegal under Section 27(5) of the Police Act of 1967. All of them were suspended from further studies by their respective universities based on Section 15(d) of the Universities and University Colleges Act of 1971.

Article 10 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia ensures freedom of assembly. Furthermore, it is a fundamental right recognised by Article 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as well as by Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Consequently, the detention of the students who participated in the assembly violates their right to assembly.

Moreover, because of the suspension, the seven students have not been able to pursue their studies for the last three years. The suspension of their studies is a violation of their right to education under Article 12 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution and Article 26 of the UDHR as well as Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Some of them were unable to find a job or to continue their studies. These seven students are mentally suffering now because of the uncertainty of their future and the prolonged legal process. The trial originally commenced only on Oct. 15, 2001, with subsequent hearings held in 2002 on Jan. 2, Feb. 28, May 14, July 9 and Aug. 14. Defence lawyers brought the case before the High Court on a constitutional issue but were not successful in getting the case withdrawn, and the case remains for trial before the Magistrate¡¯s Court. The next trial dates are fixed for this week from July 7 to 14, 2003.

The seven students are:

1. Rafzan Ramli, Mara University of Technology (UTM)
2. Helman Sanuddin, UTM
3. Zulkefle Idis, UTM
4. Wan Mohd. Sanusi Wan Modh. Noor, University of Malaysia (UM)
5. Kairul Amal Mahmud, UM
6. Ahmad Kamal Abd. Hamid, UM
7. Nik Noorhafizi Mik Ibrahim, University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)


Please send a letter to Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad and other government officials in Malaysia, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) and the chief justice of Malaysia to express your desire for the charges to be dropped against the seven students and for their education to resume immediately. Please also ask for SUHAKAM to create a commission to investigate this case to ensure that the civil rights of students are protected in the future. Lastly, please call for the Universities and University Colleges Act of 1971 to be amended and the ISA to be repealed.

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Re: Rights of seven suspended university students in Malaysia

I am very concerned by a report that I have recently received that seven university students who were detained allegedly for illegal assembly on June 8, 2000, have not been able to continue their studies for more than three years pending their trial, which is recommencing during the week of July 7, 2003. The arrest of the students and the suspension of their studies directly violates their right of assembly and right to an education that are ensured by the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I urge the university authorities to reinstate these seven students so that their education can continue. I also urge the attorney general to withdraw the charges against the seven students. Moreover, I ask the National Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) to establish a committee to investigate this case to improve students¡¯ civil rights in Malaysia. In addition, the Malaysian government should reform the Universities and University Colleges Act of 1971 to bring it into line with the international conventions on human rights. The Malaysian government should also repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) to ensure freedom of expression and assembly in the country pursuant to Article 10 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution.

Thank you for considering my requests.

Yours sincerely,



1. Dato Seri Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad
Prime Minister
Prime Minister's Office
Federal Government Administration Centre
62502 Putrajaya

2. Attorney General of Malaysia
State Attorney General's Chambers
9th Floor, Yayasan Sabah Building
88990 Kota Kinabalu
Sabah, Malaysia
Telephone: 6-088-421018
Fax: 6-088-425774

3. Mr. Tan Sri Dato Musa Bin Mohamad
Minister of Education
Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia
Faras 7, Block J
Pusat Bandar Damansara
50604 Kuala Lumpur

4. Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)
29th Floor, Menara Tun Razak
Jalan Raja Laut
50350 Kuala Lumpur
Telephone: +603 2612 5600
Fax: +603 2612 5620

5. Mr. Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah
Chief Justice of Malaysia
Federal Court of Malaysia
Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad
Jalan Raja 50506
Kuala Lumpur
Telephone: 03-2939011

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission
Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-29-2003
Countries :