The Universiti Malaya Association of New Youth (Umany) has called for the resignation of UM vice-chancellor Abdul Rahim Hashim over his alleged negligence in handling sexual harassment claims made against a lecturer.
“The vice-chancellor had been brave and bold to lodge police reports against students of Universiti Malaya when they protested against racism.
“Now, the question is, why can’t he do the same when students of Universiti Malaya become victims of sexual harassment at the hands of a lecturer? Why cover things up?” Umany asked.
“Umany urges the vice-chancellor to resign, to make room for organisational reforms in the Integrity Unit and Disciplinary Committee.
“Only when the root of the cause is addressed, can there be a better change in Universiti Malaya,” they stressed.
Umany took issue with Rahim’s disclosure that the lecturer had been suspended, saying the revelation was only made because the student involved lodged a police report.
“The UM management should (have made) a public announcement. Justice was sacrificed. Such a punishment would have little effect on the lecturer who still has a high income to live off the rest of his life comfortably.
“Has justice been served? Or will others follow suit by making use of such a procedural loophole.
“We simply cannot stomach the fact that the university management failed to give a verdict that will act as a deterrent,” Umany said in a statement issued by its president, Yap Wen Qing.
Rahim yesterday announced the lecturer’s suspension following an investigation carried out after the complaint surfaced in June last year.
According to the student involved, the lecturer had touched her inappropriately and uttered lewd comments on June 3, 2019, at his office in UM.
She lodged a formal complaint against him with the UM Integrity Unit – a division under Rahim’s jurisdiction – on July 1, 2019.
The student further decided to lodge a police report on Wednesday, citing dissatisfaction with the university’s refusal to disclose what punishment was handed to the professor.
Umany also disputed Rahim’s statement that the lecturer has been suspended, noting that “by the time the verdict was given, this lecturer had already retired”.
Under the Statutory Bodies (Discipline and Surcharge) Act 2000, the list of punishments that a disciplinary committee can impose includes issuing a warning, a fine, forfeiture of emoluments, deferment of salary movement, reduction of salary, reduction in rank and dismissal.
Overall, Umany said, the UM administration had failed to deliver a verdict that will act as a deterrence for future offenders, or even stop the perpetrator from seeking revenge.