Friday January 18, 2013
Netizens from both sides exchange salvos
By SIRA HABIBU
PETALING JAYA: The widely circulated and viewed video clip featuring a Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) student being belittled by a forum panellist has taken a new twist.
Bloggers revealed that K.S. Bawani (pic) was neither an ordinary student nor a political novice, as she was associated with Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and had actively participated in anti-government rallies.
While berating Bawani for using the forum to deliver a politically-motivated speech instead of asking questions, pro-Barisan Nasional bloggers also criticised forum panellist Sharifah Zohra Syed Shah Miskin for talking down to the student.
The 24-minute video clip showed Sharifah Zohra chiding Bawani after the latter kept talking about free education even though the panellist had told her to stop during “Forum Suara Mahasiswa Part 4”.
The video, which was uploaded last week, had become the subject of parody and songs, taking a dig at Sharifah Zohra’s now infamous “listen, listen, listen, listen”.
Netizens had been firing salvos at Sharifah Zohra, who is president of Suara Wanita 1Malaysia (SW1M) yesterday.
On the Facebook “We are All Bawani”, Noor Azlan M. Harif wrote that “the mass did not question so much about free education or whatever ideas from Bawani but rather the unprofessional behaviour of the moderator”.
Another wrote that “they want Sharifah to say sorry to Ms Bawani”.
However, blogs such as stopthelies.my have exposed the “hidden” life of the second-year law student.
The bloggers uploaded pictures of Bawani at several anti-government rallies and a photograph of her with PSM chairman Dr Nasir Hashim.
PSM secretary-general S. Arutchelvan confirmed that Bawani was a party supporter and that she had worked as his personal assistant for four years.
“She is a member of Socialist Youth, not PSM. But she is a supporter of our party,” he said.
Yesterday, in an interview with China Press, Bawani said her idol was Che Guevara, the late Argentinian Marxist revolutionary and guerilla leader who became a symbol of rebellion.
Sharifah Zohra claimed that SW1M was being used as a “black sheep” to divert attention from Pakatan Rakyat’s unsuccessful Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat rally that failed to attract one million protesters.
UUM vice-chancellor Datuk Prof Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak said Bawani had not contravened university rules although she was actively involved in political activities.
“Students are allowed to join political parties as long as they do not bring partisan politics to campus,” he said, adding that Bawani lost in a recent campus polls.
The university was aware of Bawani’s participation in rallies such as Bersih and Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat, said Dr Mustafa, who also distanced the university from Sharifah Zohra.
“She (Sharifah Zohra) has nothing to do with UUM or the Government. It is a programme organised by SW1M together with a small student body. We have allowed hundreds of such programmes to be held at the campus,” he said, describing the way the panellist entertained Bawani’s question as “a bit harsh and undiplomatic”.
“We regret that the incident had angered many.”