The Sun reveals the background of the incident in UPM's canteen on 17 July 2006 (video above). A video of the incident (you can watch it in the post below) has since been circulating furiously on the net. There are at least 10 copies of the video (including mine ;) published on youtube.com alone.
So, what do we have?
Ostensibly, the article makes it sound like it's an administrative turf fight between the student council and an "as yet" unregistered student organisation. An act of vigilantism even.
But what to you see in the video? I see nothing besides a large group of men (who happened to all be Malays, by the way) harassing, jeering and forcibly evicting a small group of men and women (who so happened to be all Chinese - the Sun left out these pertinent ethnic details for some reason) from a public place ie. UPM's canteen. And all the smaller group did was set up a table and few chairs in the canteen to mete out assistance to students. There's no mention what kind of assistance was involved or if they had any other objectives being there.
When the victims refused to move, the gang resorted to physically pushing them around, even the women weren't spared. Although no blows were thrown, it was only due to the passiveness of the group being bullied. Due to the video's poor audio quality, I couldn't make out exactly what was being said in but near the end, the big dude in the red shirt was shouting "Belah!" into the faces of the victims while chesting into them, American football style. Have a look at the video and see for yourself.
The police have attributed it all to a "misunderstanding" and since no one was "assaulted" but only "pushed and jostled", the matter will be left to UPM to handle internally.
Hmmm... do you need to be actually "assaulted" first for the police to act?
True, there was no punching and kicking but does that mean that I can now gather 50 of my friends - push people around & pull their chairs out from under them while they're sitting on it, and completely surround them while shouting god-knows-what into their faces - and get away with it?
How can that NOT be a crime?!
I do not agree with the police's stand and I can see the consistency in their choice to act or not. During the Article 11 forum in Penang, the police displayed a similar reluctance to take action against the wrongdoers. However, when acting against the opposition-led protest against the price hikes, the police showed no such reticence.
I can't say I'm not disappointed by the police's (and by extension, the government's) reluctance to tackle this issue, and others like it, head-on.
Make an example of these hoodlums.
Show the public that any sort of violence to enforce a personal viewpoint will not be tolerated. No matter how noble you think your intentions are.
Show the wrongdoers that there will be consequences to their misdeeds. And that those consequences will be swift and uncompromising.
Show Malaysians that it is still safe to send their children to university without fear of them being bullied, harassed and subject to prejudice.
Show us that there's still hope.