Friday, August 25, 2006

Biased Investigation for UPM Mob Fracas

Kudos to theSun again, for continue to believe what they are doing best for the society, and not to serve their political masters. They back-paged a commentary on this mob fracas yesterday, and gave it the full-frontal glory today.

Whitewashing? Or 'whiter than white'? Sounds familiar?

theSun's front page 25th August 2006.

Students want new inquiry
by Maria J. Dass

KUALA LUMPUR: A group of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) students that was mobbed and heckled by student council members say the inquiry conducted by the university was unfair. They want a "genuinely independent investigation".

Describing the university's five member panel of inquiry, led by lecturer Prof Dr Abdul Rahman Md Aroff as "biased" and "partial towards the student mob", the Gerakan Mahasiswa Maju or Student Progressive Front (SPF) said it would resort to legal action if the incident was not properly investigated.

At a press conference yesterday, SPF external coordinator Teh Yee Keong said the inquiry panel's line of questioning did not address the 30 student body members' "thuggish behaviour" during the July 17 incident, but instead insinuated the SPF was the cause of it.

Teh said the SPF students were asked, "Why were you chased away by the other students?", "Why didn't the other students like you?"and "Did they chase you away because you were not registered?"

The SPF ­ an independent and unregistered student body ­ had set up a help desk for new students at a campus canteen when it was heckled and dispersed by members of the student council.

A video clip of the fracas circulated on the Internet and was reported by the Chinese press, but UPM responded only after theSun also reported the issue several days later.

UPM Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Nik Mustapha R. Abdullah last week said the students would be let off with advice and counselling, adding that the video was "subject to interpretation" and the hecklers were not shouting and jeering but "singing and cheering".

He said the SPF had opened its help counter without UPM's permission and this caused dissatisfaction among other students, leading to the incident.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed has supported UPM's decision.

Teh said UPM's decision sends out a message that certain students can be bullies and violent towards others without any repercussions.

Chew Siew Fong, 22, a final-year student and trainee reporter with news portal, said in a sworn statement distributed yesterday that Abdul Rahman had told her during the inquiry that the university could not help her if she could not name the student who tried to grab her camera and pushed her and another student.
Chew said when she described the mob's shouting, taunting, advancing and manhandling as "violent", Abdul Rahman declared that that was "not violent", but "rough".

"He also asked me why I took pictures with my camera and proceeded to ask how I would feel if someone else took my picture," she said.

Chew said Abdul Rahman also asked her what her intentions were.

Teh said the group wanted the inquiry panel's findings to be made public, a suggestion UPM opposes.

In an immediate response yesterday, Dr Nik Mustapha told theSun he would not consider setting up another inquiry panel, saying: "We want to put this to rest as we have a bigger agenda to pursue."

He said the inquiry panel's report had been submitted to Mustapa, adding: "We hope to close the chapter on this."

Teh said the SPF failed twice this year to register with the university.

Malaysian Undergraduates Solidarity president Mohd Rifaudin Abd Wahab, who was also at the press conference, said the inquiry panel should rightfully comprise academics with legal and investigative skills from other campuses.

To quote:

"Why were you chased away by the other students?", "Why didn't the other students like you?"and "Did they chase you away because you were not registered?"

Let's put this in a rape case scenario. Would you ask questions like these:

"Why were you raped by the rapist?" (Because I'm too sexy for him/her/it?)
"Why didn't the other men/women/animal/object rape you?"
"Did he/she/it rape you because you dressed too sexy/walk in the dark/*insert whatever reason you could think of*"

Would you?

Mob is still mob and rape is still rape.

Despite several allegations that the SPF students had 'pre-planned' and 'instigated' the attack, my stand is that, I only believe the video evidence. Unless the video had been proven to be edited or to a greater extent, doctored, then those pro-mobs can have their say. Ask a soon-to-be-lawyer, Doc Mave, what lawyers believe the most in court.

What is even more moronic are the mobs themselves. Despite knowing people are filming them or as claimed, it was 'pre-planned', they still acted like that. And even more pathetic is the no-brainer VC's whitewashing statement.

Further reading:

MA Thuggery (UPM)

Suaram: "Sack UPM's Vice-Chancellor"

UPM Fracas - Culprits Letoff the hook by Interpretation

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