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Speaker "was rude towards students"

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KUALA LUMPUR: THE Higher Education Ministry has expressed regret over the humiliating manner to which an undergraduate was treated by a speaker at a forum held at Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) last month.

The incident has also garnered  condemnation from Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders who have spoken out against  the speaker, identified as Suara  Wanita 1Malaysia (SW1M) president Sharifah Zohra Jabeen Syed  Shah Miskin.

Deputy Higher Education Minis ter Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said  he regretted the way Zohra responded and belittled the law student,  identified as K.S. Bawani.

“Even if she didn’t agree with the  student’s views, she should have  replied in a more refined manner.

“It was also not right for the  speaker to question why the stu dent was living in Malaysia and  studying in the university if she was  not happy with the way things  were.”

Saifuddin said he had spoken to Bawani  and she was in “high  spirits”.

Meanwhile, Umno Youth chief  Khairy Jamaluddin  has also expressed his regrets over the matter re gret when he tweeted  in response to Twitter  users asking for the  party’s wing to look  into the matter. 

“Anyone can misuse  the 1M brand. No one  has even heard of her  (Sharifah) or SW1M.

“And on UUM issue. Please listen  to me: this Jabeen lady does not  represent Barisan Nasional.” he tweeted.

Bernama quoted MIC Youth  deputy chief V. Mugilan as express ing disappointment that Sharifah Zohra, being a panellist at the forum, did not  handle the situation diplomatically and wisely.

He said it was important and critical that undergraduates’ voices are heard when it comes to education reform and nation-development.

A 24-minute video clip showing a  heated exchange between Zohra and Bawani has gone viral on Facebook and Internet forums.

The video on the  question-and-answer session was uploaded onto YouTube last Wednesday, and has garnered almost  300,000 hits, with an  overwhelming number of “dislikes”.

Meanwhile, Bawani, when contacted, said she felt  sad that young people  were not allowed to  express their views -- even at platforms created for them at such forums.

“It was disheartening that I was  cut off and not allowed to finish my  comments,” she said, adding she eventually left the hall because there was no room for freedom of speech.

Meanwhile, The National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students (PKPIM) secretary general Khairul Anuar Abdul Manap has demanded Sharifah apologise as her action had shocked and embarrassed university students nationwide.

However, an update on the SW1M page yesterday announced that the president would not apologise for her actions.”


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