SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: May 09, 2013

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)

Region & Country:Southeastern Asia | Malaysia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

A group of about 50 Universiti Sains Malaysia students protesting just outside their campus gates against alleged electoral fraud in the May 5 General Election were attacked by an unidentified group of about 60-100 individuals. The students were pepper-sprayed and one was hit in the head.
The incident ended when  a member of parliment moved the students back on campus.  According to reports, one student was arrested for organizing the protest, which authorities say was an illegal assembly.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violent attacks on campus, and the apparent use of disproportionate force against students engaged in the non-violent exercise of protected human rights, including free speech and association.  In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and undermine democratic society generally.