The Terengganu government's decision to revoke the scholarships of nine Malaysian students who took part in the Bersih 2.0 rally in Egypt on July 9, 2011, has been condemned by Bersih, the coalition for clean and fair elections.

The state government's action violates the right of students' right to gather peacefully, as enshrined under the federal constitution, the Bersih steering committee said in a statement today.

"In March, Bersih strongly condemned the move by the Terengganu government, through Yayasan Terengganu, as it is not only oppressive but also violates the rights of the students to assemble peacefully, as enshrined under the federal constitution.

"In so doing, the Terengganu government has denied the students' right to education, which is also enshrined for all citizens," Bersih added in the statement.

The coalition said the state government's decision also went against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's promise to liberalise the government stand in relation to public assemblies.

Bernama reported on Wednesday that Yayasan Terengganu terminated Muhamad Hasyim Che Ngah's scholarship after he was found to have taken part in the rally held in Egypt last year.
Bersih prepared to offer legal assistance

"I regret it and promise not to do things that are useless and not beneficial like this again," said the third-year medical student of University Al-Azhar, Cairo.

The 21-year-old went to meet Terengganu Menteri Besair Ahmad Said to appeal his case and was told that the matter would be discussed with foundation's board of directors before a decision is made.

Bersih said it was prepared to offer legal assistance to all the students affected and to raise funds for their education.

"Not only has the Terengganu government needlessly punished these students, it has also punished their families. We believe many Malaysians stand ready to help and we once again call on them to do so," the coalition's statement said.

It also called on other state governments to support these students and their families.