Universiti Malaya’s Student Union wants the university’s vice-chancellor Abdul Rahim Hashim to resign, following his racially charged speech at the Malay Dignity Congress.
The union’s vice-president Yap Wen Qing said the student body is calling Rahim out for his remarks, which had racist undertones, and his inability to solve the financial and welfare problems faced by the students despite being one of the top leaders in the most prominent university in Malaysia.
Rahim, who is one of the organisers, had allegedly said that the transition of power on May 9, 2018, had reduced Malay dominance in politics while the community’s rights have been challenged, adding that the congress serves as a reminder to not challenge the social contract.
In a statement yesterday, Yap called on Abdul Rahim to apologise to all Malaysians and resign because he had not solved problems at the UM campus.
“We criticize the Vice-Chancellor for making racist remarks, while at the same time he is one of the top university leaders in Malaysia, he is unable to solve the financial crisis and the welfare of students,” said Yap.
“Although UM is a university of multiracial and religious students, our vice-chancellor has not been able to unite students and the rest of Malaysia with values that are of a simple and universal nature, and protect the university from threats by the political agenda of the administrators,” he added.
“Additionally, the Student Affairs Department, which he leads, forced all residential colleges to send their Malay students to the congress.
“This is an act that threatens the autonomy of a student.
“This is because every student on campus has the right to explore a wide range of philosophies and ideas, they should not be dictated to follow specific narratives by the university.
“We are deeply saddened by the failure of the University of Malaya to uphold the values of Malaysia,” said Yap.
“We demand that all political leaders who made racist remarks during the Malay Dignity Congress apologise to all Malaysians, and we also urge the UM vice-chancellor to resign over his racial slurs and his failure to manage the campus,” he added.
The congress was supposed to be an apolitical event to discuss Malay issues but instead turned into a platform to hurl racial slurs, the student said.
Referring to another prominent academic Zainal Kling’s remarks on suspending the social contract of non-Malays, Yap said such remarks were disrespectful to people of all races, cultures and faiths in Malaysia.