Clip of panellist berating student goes viral

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It was meant to be a forum involving university students, but in the end one of the panellists had only wanted her views to be heard.

That was the often drawn conclusion of Internet users after watching a video of a forum for Universiti Utara Malaysia students which took place last month.

The 24-minute clip depicted an exchange between panellist Sharifah Zohra Jabeen Syed Shah Miskin and student KS Bawani, which has become a hot topic of discussion on Facebook and Internet forums.

Bawani had spoken out from the floor against the forum organisers for what she believes was their wrongful presentation of electoral reform coalition Bersih and its leaders, S Ambiga and A Samad Said.

She also pointed out that a number countries could afford to offer free education up to the university level and asked, to the applause of the audience, why Malaysia couldn't do so.

'Listen to me'

Midway through Bawani's response, Sharifah Zohra left the stage and stood in front of her.

Since Bawani was unmoved to Sharifah Zohra's intimidation tactics, the latter decided to cut her off.

Sharifah Zohra said "listen" about 10 times before taking away the microphone. This was when the browbeating began.

"Number one, this is our programme and we're allowed to speak. Number two, when I speak, (you) listen," demanded Sharifah Zohra.

The plucky Bawani protested to no avail for being abruptly interrupted, but Sharifah Zohra would have none of it.

"Let me speak," she said seven times, before reiterating points she had made in her persentation earlier.

She said that she had called Ambiga an "instigator of demonstrations" and mocked Bawani for supporting calls for free higher education.

"Don't equate Malaysia with other countries. If you (want to do so), what are you doing in Malaysia? Listen. What are you doing in Malaysia?

"Go to Cuba, Argentina, Libya, everywhere. Because, you know what? All the students in this hall are happy with what the government have done for them," said Sharifah Zohra, followed by applause from the floor.

From fish to quadrupeds

Sharifah Zohra's lengthy rebuttal took a twist as she tried to implore the students to stop complaining and think of problems faced by animals.

"Even sharks have problems. People (on the other hand) complain, complain, complain, complain, complain (and) complain.

"Have you eaten shark fin before? Have you seen how people slay the shark fin and throw the shark back into the sea to die. See how humans are more greedy than sharks?"

Her examples also included birds and quadrupeds.

After about seven minutes into the tirade, Bawani appeared to have enough of it and walked off.

Victorious, Sharifah Zohra got back to business by asking the students "who want a Galaxy Note" before screening an Islamic-themed video.

Brainwashing session

A check on Facebook revealed that Sharifah Zohra leads an organisation known as Suara Wanita 1Malaysia (SW1M).

The forum, titled 'Seiringkan Mahasiswa dan Politik' took place on Dec 8 but the video on the question-and-answer session was only uploaded on YouTube last Wednesday.

As of this morning, there were more than 170,000 views of the six-day-old video, which has drawn an overwhelming number of "dislikes".

Contacted yesterday, Bawani said she chose to speak up because the panellists had defamed Ambiga and Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

She said a video clip demonising the Bersih rallies was also screened.

"It was purely a brainwashing exercise," said the second-year law student, adding that Sharifah Zohra's group had spoke at other universities as well.

VIDEO l 24.19 mins

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