SUHAKAM being an institution to promote and protect human rights in Malaysia must act to stop any violations and erosions of basic rights in our institutions of higher learning

Media Conference Statement
- after lodging a report to SUHAKAM
by Loke Siew Fook

(Kuala Lumpur, Thursday): Together with DAP Member of Parliament for Batu Gajah YB Fong Po Kuan, DAPSY Vice Chairmen Raymond Chong and Chan Susann, National Publicity Secretary Ooi Leng Hang, Assistant Secretary Kuan Perk Siong and National Executive Committee member Ean Yong Hian Wah, I have lodged a report to SUHAKAM concerning the recent midnight raids on female students’ rooms in Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) which tantamount to violation of students’ rights to privacy as well as tampering and interfering of universities authorities in the local campus elections.  

My report reads as below:


September 4, 2003


Tan Sri Abu Talib bin Othman


Human Rights Commission Of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)
29th Floor, Menara Tun Razak
Jalan Raja Laut
50350 Kuala Lumpur


Tan Sri,


Re: Report to SUHAKAM concerning violation of students’ rights to privacy


DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY) wishes to make a report to SUHAKAM concerning the alleged violation of students’ right to privacy in local campuses and in particular two specific cases in Universiti Putra Malaysia’s hostels recently. 


On August 22, 2003, online media, Malaysiakini reported that Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) authorities carried out a midnight raid on the rooms of four women undergraduates and subsequently interrogated them for allegedly planning “underground activities”. It was alleged that the incident happened on Thursday, August 14 between 12 midnight and 3 am.


It was said that the six-member raiding team comprising four men and two women was led by residential college head Assoc Prof Dr Azali Mohamed and later the four students were brought to Dr Azali’s room at about 2am and were “interrogated” by UPM student affairs department deputy vice-chancellor Prof Dr Abdullah Al-Hadi Mohamed.


Meanwhile, on August 25, 2003, Malaysiakini again reported that UPM authorities carried out another midnight raid at the student representative council office and the room of women undergraduates on Saturday, August 23, 2003.


According to the report, three UPM officials from its undergraduate affairs department raided the council’s office at about 11 pm when several council leaders were preparing the official bulletin for distribution. It was alleged that 2,000 copies of the bulletin were confiscated.


The report further revealed that three hours after the raid in the student council’s office, a raiding team went to the room of Farrah Fuaddah Puteh at the Kolej Tun Perak hostel of UPM.


DAPSY is deeply concerned about the alleged events happened in our local campuses. Allegation of raiding female students’ rooms in the middle of the night by university authorities is tantamount to violation of the students’ rights to privacy. In any event, the authorities should not be granted any policing powers as even the police need a warrant from the magistrate before they can raid a house.


The unwillingness of the Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad to order an investigation into the raids is most disappointing and irresponsible. He was quoted as saying, “It is up to the university to do whatever it feels appropriate to curb any untoward incident. We have full confidence in what the university is doing. But of course the authorities must also be aware that they should not go beyond the proper procedures (in taking action)”.


In view of the inaction of the Education Ministry, DAPSY therefore urges SUHAKAM:


(i)     To immediately launch an investigation into the alleged midnight raids and take appropriate action thereafter if found any impropriety actions by the university authorities.

(ii)    To immediately issue a public statement thereafter stating its stand that raiding students’ rooms especially at midnight by university authorities is tantamount to violation of rights to privacy.

(iii)   To recommend to the Education Ministry to immediately issue a directive to all public and private universities, colleges and boarding schools not to carry out any midnight raids on students’ rooms with immediate effect.


Similar midnight raids on students’ rooms were also alleged happened in other public universities’ hostels but was not reported in the media. Considering that the students might be afraid of reporting their cases to SUHAKAM individually for the consequences of being penalized under the University and Universities Colleges Act (UUCA), DAPSY is bringing this report to the attention of SUHAKAM to ensure justice not just only for the affected students but to protect the rights of the entire students community in Malaysia.


DAPSY also strongly urges SUHAKAM to closely monitor the processes of campus elections which is being held today (September 4) simultaneously in all local universities. There were allegations of misconduct and tampering of the election procedures by the students’ affairs department of various public universities and in the process violated the rights of the students to a free and fair election to choose their representatives.


SUHAKAM being an institution to promote and protect human rights in Malaysia must act to stop any violations and erosions of basic rights in our institutions of higher learning. We must give a good exemplary to our younger generations as respects and appreciation of human rights starting from our schools is utmost important for Malaysia to march forward to create a fair and just society.


Thank you.


Yours faithfully,


Loke Siew Fook

National Secretary

DAP Socialist Youth




* Loke Siew Fook, National Secretary of DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY)