Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) has clarified that it merely provided its hall to NGO Suara Wanita 1Malaysia (SW1M) to organise the student forum which saw SW1M chairperson Sharifah Zohra Jabeen Syed Shah Miskin berating law student KS Bawani.
Besides providing the venue, the university had nothing to do with the forum, UUM vice-chancellor Mohamed Mustafa Ishak ( left ) told several Chinese dailies yesterday.
"To link UUM with the forum is very unfair to the university authority," Mustafa was quoted as saying by China Press .
According to Oriental Daily News, Mustafa said he regretted that many have pointed their fingers to UUM after watching the footage of the confrontation between Bawani and Sharifah.
Bawani praised for her courage
Stressing that Sharifah's statement did not represent UUM's stance, he praised Bawani's courage in expressing her views.
"Actually, the attitudes of both of them were very tough. Bawani insisted on asking her questions after the question-and-answer session had ended and rattled on. This might have angered Sharifah ( right )," Mustafa is quoted as saying by the Chinese daily.
"The university always gives its students the freedom to express their thoughts," he added.
In another related development, Malaysiakini contacted the programme manager of the little-known SW1M, by the name of Azhar, for comment this morning.
Declining to comment on the issue, Azhar said that the NGO will be calling a press conference soon.
Azhar also refused to provide Sharifah's contact number.
A 24-minute video of Sharifah trying to browbeat Bawani during a forum at UUM last month went viral on YouTube last week, causing an uproar among netizens and opening a floodgate of online jokes, as well as pictures and videos poking fun at the SW1M chairperson.
As at this morning, the video has been viewed more than 532,000 times in the seven days it has been up.
Although Umno leaders, including Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar, were quick to distance themselves from Sharifah, it has been confirmed that Sharifah was once the deputy Wanita chief of the Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress (Kimma), an associate party of Umno.