University slammed for ignoring sick Indonesian worker

KUALA LUMPUR: A private university has come under fire for allegedly failing to help a seriously ill food court worker.

The female Indonesian worker was said to have collapsed in a bathroom and then taken to the food court to rest where she was seen sitting alone, salivating and drenched in sweat.

The incident had taken place on Dec 1 during the World Universities Peace Invitational Debate (WUPID), hosted by the Taylor's University Lakeside Campus. 

The matter came to light through a viral blog post published this morning by debate adjudicator and Taylor's College alumnus Juana Jaafar, detailing the incident and criticising the university's management for its lack of concern.

In the post, Juana said the woman had apparently collapsed on three other occasions and was not given any attention until she (Juana) checked on her. The woman, she said, appeared to have had a stroke with the right side of her body paralysed.

Other adjudicators, she said, looked for her employer.

"He was on site and aware we were tending to his worker. Not once did he check on on her, rather he watched from afar while the rest of us tried to help her. When approached, he merely stirred his drink and nonchalantly told us he would take her to the hospital when he was not busy," she said.

According to Juana, it was the organisers and volunteers of WUPID who had eventually called for an ambulance and not any of the university's employees or security personnel. 

"The ambulance came about half an hour later. It was terribly embarrassing having to tell our Australian colleague it was common for an ambulance to take that much time to arrive. It was even more embarrassing that he, and other guests from abroad, found out that the woman had been sitting there in the food court for more than four hours without help from a single soul. Is this who we are as Malaysians?" she asked.

Taylor's Education Group chief marketing officer Lydia Wang told Yahoo! Malaysia that the university was 'very shocked' to read about this incident and had immediately sought an explanation as to what happened.

Wang said the food court was located within Syopz Mall, a privately owned establishment within the campus ground.

"We are shocked and sad to hear about this. Taylor's does not operate the food court. We have raised this issue with the mall management and they have reassured us that they will address this issue," she said.

She added that the university has also been in touch with Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah who had tweeted about the incident earlier this morning.


Wang, however, could not provide an update on the condition of the Indonesian worker."They (mall management) will be getting back to us," she said.  

In an official statement released later, Taylor's student experience director Angela Pok said the university was 'utterly dismayed by the lack of humanitarian action on the part of the community who were present during the unfortunate incident.'

 "Although it did not take place on the University’s grounds, we are indeed very sad to learn about this incident and we take this matter seriously.  At Taylor’s University, the safety and welfare of our staff and students are of our utmost priority.  As part of our Core Values, we believe in respecting and caring for each other regardless of nationality, religion and cultural differences.   We certainly do not condone such acts of neglect," she said.

"We commend the participants of WUPID for taking speedy actions of helping the lady in distress and raising this to our attention.'

Saifuddin Abdullah was not immediately available for comment.

Meanwhile in a separate statement released on Monday night, Syopz Mall chief operating officer Sheena A. said a full investigation has been conducted and the foodcourt operator in question was 'apologetic and has taken full responsibility towards the act of negligence for this unfortunate incident.'

'Although subjected to being suspended, the owner of the said food stall was remorseful on his part for having taken his staff's health situation for granted. He funded full hospitalization cost for the worker  and she was also assigned  two fellow colleagues to accompany her during her one week admission at the hospital.  Her family was contacted and when they requested for her return to Indonesia, the owner made all necessary travel arrangements and further provided cash for their expenses.   The worker has since returned to her family in Indonesia on 7 December, 2012 after she was discharged from the hospital.' she said.

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