2013-10-20 University of Adelaide

Date: 
October 20, 2013
Type: 
Loss of Position
Status: 
Verified
New/Ongoing: 
New Incident
Region/Sub-region: Country or Territory: 
Institution: 
University of Adelaide

A Malaysian Public Service Department (PSD) student adviser in Australia threatened reprisals against PSD-sponsored students if they attended a talk, given as part of the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, by Malaysian opposition leader Dato Sri Anwar Ibrahim.  In an email to PSD-sponsored Malaysian students, the Malaysian High Commission's Students Department adviser, Shahrezan Md Sheriff, warned, “I will not hesitate to take stern action against those PSD scholarship holders who attend this event.  You should know what’s best as you have signed the scholarship agreement, think wisely and focus on better things than to participate in such activities which will land you in trouble.”  PSD-sponsored Malaysian students did reportedly attend the event, despite the threats.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about an apparent threat of reprisals, including an implied threat to withdraw scholarship support, by a public official against students engaged in legitimate academic inquiry, specifically attending a public talk by a well-known public figure.  Higher education and public officials have a responsibility to protect students against intimidation or reprisals aimed at curtailing legitimate academic content or conduct.

Sources:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/threat-to-malaysian-students-backfires-as-anwar-draws-huge-crowd-in-austral

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/244343

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-18/anwar-ibrahim-arrives-in-australia/5030934

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/anwar-slams-australian-foreign-minister-for-weak-stand-on-putrajayas-threat