As varsity video goes viral, Umno leaders move to head off storm 

(The Malaysian Insider) – A video of a pro-Barisan Nasional (BN) speaker publicly chewing out a university student at a forum that has gone viral is embarrassing the authorities and has forced both a deputy minister and the Umno Youth chief to engage in damage control to prevent its fallout from impacting the ruling coalition ahead of Election 2013.

The speaker, identified as Sharifah Zohra Jabeen, president of little-known organisation Suara Wanita 1 Malaysia (SW1M) that is seen to be aligned to the ruling BN, was caught on video berating the student — who had stood up to voice her views on the Bersih electoral rally and free education — with remarks such as “when this is our programme, we allow you to speak” and “when I speak, you listen”.

Higher Education Deputy Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah took to Twitter last night and posted his personal mobile phone number with a message urging the student, identified only as Bawani K.S., to contact him after another Twitter user remarked that she had an account on the microblogging site.

A few hours later, he tweeted: “Just spoken to Bawani on d phone. She is in high spirits.”

Bawani’s feelings on the issue remain closed off. Her Twitter account, @Bawani_ks, was inaccessible as she had locked it to only her followers.

However, the matter appeared far from over as other Twitter users plied the deputy minister with questions for his view on the lopsided exchange between the speaker and Bawani.


“Patutny benarkn Bawani habis brcakap,lps tu jawab dgn bijaksana [Should have let Bawani finish speaking, then reply wisely],” the media-savvy Saifuddin answered to the Twitter user, @Mr_Nurislam.

His Umno party mate, Khairy Jamaluddin, also took to Twitter to distance the ruling coalition from Sharifah Zohra Jabeen after the video row sparked outrage from Netizens, some who have started several hashtag discussions on the microblogging site, including #SharifahZohra and #listen. 

“And on UUM issue. Please #listen to me: this Jabeen lady DOES NOT represent BN. Sekian,” the Umno Youth chief tweeted several hours ago on his account, @Khairykj.

He added, “Siapa2 pun boleh salah guna 1Msia. Takde siapa dlm BN yg kenal Sharipah Jabeen ni [Anyone can misuse 1Malaysia. Nobody in BN knows this Sharipah Jabeen]” in reply to a Twitter user who pointed out that the speaker had worn a button badge with the 1 Malaysia logo commonly identified with the BN coalition. 

Khairy’s attempt at damage control, however, was greeeted with disdain by some Netizens, including one Don Iznan who remarked over Twitter: “By saying #SharifahZohra not representing BN, KJ actually means that sharifah is from Umno.See?Hahaha.”

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