“Listen. listen. Listen. When I talk, YOU listen!”
That is the actual theme adopted by the Najib administration, in fact, by all if not, most BN leaders. It is a one-way speech, all the way. Dissent is treason in Malaysia, at least in their eyes. If YOU want to dissagree with whatever it is the government shove down in your throat, you had better be a foreigner or stay OUT of the country!
That was precisely what a Northern Malaysia University (UUM) student, one brave young Ms Bavani found out when she voiced out her opinion during a seminar organized by a relatively unknown non-profit organization called, Suara Wanita 1Malaysia (SW1M).
Ms Bavani believed that education should be provided free to all citizens. She named Cuba and several other third-world countries which may be poor, but can still afford to provide FREE (up to tertiary level) education for the masses. She proposed a RM 10 billion annual allocation (a mere 5% of Malaysia’s RM 200 billion annual budget) towards education.
But was the poor little girl—popularly dubbed as, “Little Ambiga”—in for a surprise, when the speaker, an unknown Sharifah Zohra Jabeen from the equally unknown NGO, ridiculed her in front of a near-full auditorium in UUM. (Watch a video recording of the seminar here.)
Not only did Jabeen failed to answer the student’s question directly (and professionally), the former ridiculed the student’s academic position. “The difference between you and me is a degree and an O-Level.” In effect, implying that Bavani was just too stupid to even ask that question, the same question which most ordinary Malaysians have been questioning, all along.
Jabeen even went to the extent of equating human needs with those of animals. “Everyone have problems. Humans have problems and so does the cats, dogs, fish and birds… Everyone have problems, but complaint, complaint, complaint. This is wrong, that is wrong…You are still standing on earth.”
Interestingly, the topic of the seminar was, “Seiringkah Mahasiswa dan Siswi Dengan Politik (Are College Students In Line With Politics?)” Little did the students know that the purported free seminar was actually a ‘paid’ propaganda. The students were ‘paid’ to attend the seminar. Paid with goodies and a chance to win more goodies.
The true underlying (subliminal, if you wish) message of the seminar were:
1) Be grateful or thankful to the government-of-the-day, without whom everyone’s life would be worst off.
2) Everyone is free to voice out one’s opinion, as long as one is in total agreement with the government-of-the-day. Anyone who disagrees, have no place in this country. Anyone who disagrees is, as Jabeen puts it, disrespectful.
3) An obvious attempt to persuade the students to support (and perhaps one day, vote) for the current government.
4) To support BERSIH’s Chairperson, Datuk Ambiga’s cause (i.e, to demand for a free election in the country), is equated to supporting gay and lesbianism.
5) The people’s BERSIH rallies were wrong. The students’ courageous sit-in anti-PTPTN protest to fight for free education is wrong. Protests are wrong. Most important of all, complaints against the government are absolutely wrong.
All in all, the seminar should have been renamed as, “Have Malaysian college students’ mind been adequately brainwashed to be in line with the government-of-the-day’s?” The organizer obviously spared no room for a two-way political discussion. Nor was there any attempt to encourage analytical thinking amongst the students, particularly on current political issues confronting the nation. Nope.
To induce unsuspecting students to attend Jabeen’s ‘free’ seminar, they were ‘bribed’ with a free SW1M t-shirt, plus a chance to win a Galaxy Note. Poor students. I, for one, wouldn’t want to be caught dead wearing a SR1M tee. Yukes!
But what’s worst is the fact that, political parties (or anyone with pro-govt political inclinations) are selectively allowed to enter universities, as long as they “play the same song and same tune” as the ruling party. And there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. Betul ke, begini?