You’ve heard of the UKM4, you’ve read that they were arrested and are to face disciplinary proceedings under the UUCA, you’ve seen a re-energised student movement seeking to repeal the UUCA, and Court proceedings are on-foot.
But how much do you really know about the protagonists?
In this 3 part exclusive, King Chai, Hilman, Azlin and Ismail – four bright and passionate mahasiswa Sains Politik share with LoyarBurokkers – Eunice Ong, Lim Kar Mern, and Ong Jo-Lene, their stories, aspirations and the battle that lies ahead.
In Part 1: UKM 4 – Rebels or Revolutionaries? We find out as we get to know the faces behind the “UKM 4.”
In Part 2: Sitting Ducks or Schmucks? The UKM 4 let’s us in on what really happened on the day of their arrest.
The four of us are Political Science majors and last semester one of the subjects we took was Election Analysis (Analisis Pilihanraya – SKSJ2093) but our exposure to the democratic election process had been limited to our candidacy and campaigning in campus elections. (LB: All four of them went on to score As in Election Analysis)
So imagine our excitement when Hilman suggested we take the golden opportunity to observe a “real-life” election at the Hulu Selangor by-election. Our eyes lit up, we couldn’t let this chance slip – what are the chances of Political Science undergraduates taking Election Analysis at the very same time a real and closely-watched by-election was taking place nearby?!
We had several discussions about our impending field-trip with our Election Analysis lecturer, Encik Jamaie, who had often told us about observation as method of learning that adds another dimension to our knowledge.
A few days before leaving, we rented a van going for RM500 for a week – quite a steal! Things could not have gone any smoother.
Hilman’s friend, Johnny offered to show us around Hulu Selangor. Johnny is a member of a political party, which meant that he really knows his way around HS and the schedule of activities to act as our guide.
Sometime mid-morning on 22 April 2010, the four of us arrived in our van at the meeting point before going in convoy around HS with Johnny.
Johnny arrives in his sedan. Hilman and Azlin moved to join Johnny in his car but since the car seats were occupied with wrapped packages, we moved some of it into the van. Johnny gave us stern warnings not to open or lose the packages.
Field trip time, woohoo!!!
Just several minutes into our journey, there was a police road block. Johnny’s car passed through without being stopped but our rented van with King Chai and Ismail did not have the same luck.
They asked the usual questions and we handed over our identity cards when told to do so. The police informed us that there had been sightings of a van during a robbery and with that searched the van.
They opened the packages – to our utmost horror they turned out to be campaign fliers – and it was the strongly worded sort, to say the least. We were instructed to stay in the van and wait. During all this, we managed to inform Hilman and the others of their predicament.
After waiting blindly for nearly 2 hours, a UKM Hal Ehwal Pelajar (HEP) vehicles pulls up and an officer identifies us instantly, “King Chai, Ismail, mereka ni pelajar UKM. Tangkap mereka.”
Police and several other officers, including university HEP and security officers, then escorted us to the back of the van, placed our ICs on the fliers and told us we are to be photographed with the items. We refused to, because the fliers did not belong to us. But we relented when – in our naivete and slight state of shock – we believed them when they promised us, “Kalau tangkap gambar, kita boleh lepaskan.”
After that, we were carted to Kuala Kubu Baru police station anyway because according to the officer, “Kena buat laporan.” You see, a student can only be charged under UUCA after a police report is lodged.
While all this was taking place Hilman, Azlin, and Johnny had driven off to Rasa to figure out how to “rescue” King Chai and Ismail. They parked themselves at a mamak stall – so “basic” that they didn’t even have maggi goreng – and had some teh-o-ais.
Minutes later, University Malaya HEP drove up and parked in front of Johnny’s car, blocking it’s path. Hilman and Azlin felt that something was amiss and thought that it was best to leave. They walked up to Johnny’s car but the moment they closed the doors as they got in, the officers knocked on the window and told them to return to the mamak stall.
It was only then did Hilman and Azlin came to the shocking realisation that they had been ambushed; all along they had been surrounded by plainclothes officers sitting in the mamak. The officers proceeded to indentify themselves and arrested the two of them. When HEP UKM officers arrived at the mamak, police brought Hilman and Azlin to the KKB police station, where they would join King Chai and Ismail.
Lawyers, Latheefa Koya arrived 3 hours later, followed by Puspawati Rosman and Radzlan Jalal who posted our bail.
We left the police station 9 hours later, without thinking much of the arrest because we didn’t think that we had done anything wrong.
Furthermore, we were told to report back to the KKB police station on 15 May and we were instructed to call our respective Investigating Officers before going because KKB is quite far from our campus. However, when we called our I.O.s on the 3 May, they told us that the police did not want to pursue the matter anymore.
However, on 13 May 2010, almost 1 month after our arrest – Ismail became the first to receive his charge sheet from the university, followed by Hilman on 14 May, Azlin on 16 May and King Chai on 18 May. We were shocked. Our battle was just beginning.
LB: Tomorrow – (Part 3) Fight For Students Freedom! Why the UKM4 are taking on this seemingly insurmountable “David and Goliath” battle as they take the UUCA to a court of law to challenge its constitutionality.
An injunction was granted on 1 June 2010 for a stay on their disciplinary proceedings. The inter-partes hearing will take place 2 days from today, on 17 June 2010 at Duta High Court.
NEW LB POLL : “Do you support the UKM 4?” – YOU decide. Vote now on the right side-bar.