Four former Universiti Malaya student leaders have called on their alma mater to allow the Dewan Tunku Canselor to be used as the venue for the debate between opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.
The former Universiti Malaya Student Union members have enjoyed full control over their activities since 2019 and used Dewan Tunku Canselor many times before this highly anticipated debate was announced.
“It is strange and inappropriate if (the university) does not facilitate the organising of this debate.
“Based on information from several sources, it is reasonable to suspect that there is interference from ‘above’ who are attempting to frustrate the organising of the debate and prevent it from taking place at Dewan Tunku Canselor.
“Based on the principles of academic freedom and the freedom to conduct activities on campus, we stress that any efforts to frustrate debates and discussions must be considered a regressive move which insults (the university) as a platform for healthy discussions and forums,” said the quartet.
The four ex-student leaders are Fahmi Zainol (Universiti Malaya Student Association president 2013/2014), Ammar Atan (Universiti Malaya Student Association president president 2014/2015), Akmal Hazieq (Universiti Malaya Student Union president 2018/2019) and Haziq Azfar Ishak (Universiti Malaya Student Union president 2019/2020).
Host the debate
In early April, Universiti Malaya Student Union offered to host the debate between Anwar and Najib on the alleged “bailout” of Sapura Energy Bhd.
This followed Najib’s repeated demand for the government to use Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Petronas to buy up Sapura Energy’s assets to prevent it from falling into foreign hands.
According to the PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil, Universiti Malaya did not agree with using their venue for the debate.
Debate organisers are now currently considering having the debate either at the MBPJ Civic Center or the Malaysia Tourism Centre (Matic).
The debate will take place on May 12.