|Friday, 25 January 2013 19:55|
KUALA LUMPUR: K S Bawani has officially ended the furore over the video clip that made her an overnight sensation and garnered her over 27,000 fans on Facebook to date.
She told the media at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) this morning that this would be her last press conference as the video had overshadowed the more important issue of free education that she has been striving to raise.
"The video has clearly shown that the real situation of our local universities," she said. "So I don't want to carry on over the 'Listen' issue anymore because we now know that its root cause was education.
"I never sought the publicity but we're happy that it has helped merge the students' voices with that of the Coalition to Demand for Free Education (GMPP) to push for free education."
The video which went viral earlier this month showed the Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) law student being publicly ticked off by Suara Wanita 1 Malaysia (SW1M) chief, Sharifah Zohra Jabeen, at a UUM-organised forum in December 2012 after Bawani argued that free education was possible in Malaysia.
When Sharifah came under harsh criticism from the public for her behaviour, SW1M came to her defence by insinuating that Bawani had been "planted" by opposition-linked parties in the forum and that her statement had been pre-planned.
But Bawani today revealed that the video clip had in fact been separately uploaded by UUM and SW1M and that both parties had initially only uploaded the fourth part of the full video which showed her being reprimanded by Sharifah as well as the taking of the pledge by the students.
"It was their actions that created this sensation and any tarnishing of the university's reputation," she said. "And I agree 100% to the full version being screened as suggested by Sharifah. I hope the full unedited version including the video clips that were shown during the forum are uploaded so that the public can evaluate it for themselves."
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S Arutchelvan, who was also present at the press conference, added that he didn't understand how the video could have been pinned on an opposition agenda, calling it a "weak argument".
"It was the university that only uploaded the fourth part of the video almost as if it wanted to send a message to the students to not ask such questions," he said. "And maybe UUM can learn from their mistake."
"But it is time to move on from the issue. We don't want apologies or debates, and we don't want to go into any personal issues with Sharifah. It's not worth it. We hope she can live in peace as well."
Bawani, who is currently on a semester break, will resume her studies after Feb 16 and confirmed that she remains a UUM student. The Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit) activist said that she hadn't received notifications of any sort from the university since the controversy broke.
- Stephanie Sta Maria / fz.com