By Kuek Ser Kuang Keng
Although Umno leaders are distancing themselves from Sharifah Zohra Jabeen Syed Shah Miskin, the panellist who berated a Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) student during a recent UUM forum, Sharifah Zohra has been active in Umno circles.
A check with the Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress (Kimma) headquarters confirmed Sharifah Zohra (right) to be a former deputy Wanita chief of Kimma. She was predecessor to the current deputy chief, Nafisah Mammoo.
Kimma is an associate party of Umno and claims to represent the interests of the Indian Muslim community. It has been campaigning for the BN in many general elections.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak officially opened Kimma’s annual general assembly in October last year, at which he described the party as a “close and loyal friend of BN”.
However, Kimma headquarters staff who confirmed Sharifah Zohra’s position in the party, did not know the length of her tenure as deputy Wanita chief.
A VIP at government functions
A Google search revealed that she was in the post at the end of 2011 and was also photographed with Malacca Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam at a youth programme in Tanjung Bidara, Malacca.
The banner in a photograph names Sharifah Zohra as one of the two VIPs in the programme that also involved the Department of Special Affairs (Jasa), a government agency under the Information Ministry.
A February 2011 posting in Sharifah Zohra’s Facebook inviting the people to attend a Kimma programme also states her position as the party’s deputy Wanita chief.
These findings contradict with the claim by Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (left) that neither Sharifah Zohra, nor Suara Wanita 1Malaysia (SW1M), the NGO she now heads, are related to the BN.
“And on UUM issue. Please listen to me: this Jabeen lady does not represent BN. Period,” Khairy posted on his Twitter page yesterday.
Netizens were quick to point out that she was wearing a 1Malaysia badge but Khairy replied that “anyone can misuse 1Malaysia brand. No one has even heard of her or SW1M”.
“It has nothing to do with BN,” he repeated.
Sharifah Zohra’s uncouth behaviour against UUM second-year law student KS Bawani during the forum also received brickbats from Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.
“(I have) seen the video. I will not treat a student that way.
“Should let the student finish talking. If (she) does not agree, answer wisely, don’t have to talk down or condescend (the student),” Saifuddin said on his Twitter page in response to queries directed to him.
Saifuddin (right) then released his mobile number on Twitter and asked Bawani to send him a text message.
“(I have) just spoken to Bawani on the phone. She is in high spirits,” he posted on Twitter after calling the student.
Referring to the deputy minister as saudara, Bawani replied on the micro-blogging website, “Thank you saudara. Appreciate your call, very much encouraging. (It would be) good if all ministers are like you! Waiting for teh tarik with you!”
Saifuddin, who is also an Umno supreme council member, denied that his ministry was involved in the forum.
After the 24-minute footage showing Bawani’s bold confrontation with Sharifah Zohra was uploaded on YouTube and went viral, Bawani has earned compliments from many Internet users.
The video was, as at this afternoon, been viewed over 224,000 times in the six days it has been up.
Bawani a Jerit activist
Bawani revealed on Twitter that she has received more than 2,000 friend requests on her Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as phone calls and text messages in support of her.
“Good morning rakyat, thank you for all the support. You make me strong and make me feel that I’m not alone in this journey for change. Let’s demand for free education,” she said on Twitter.
She also called on the people not to make sexual remarks against Sharifah Zohra.
“As a human, I respect her as a woman. Thank you.”
Bawani is one of the coordinators of The Oppressed People’s Network (Jerit), a grassroots movement linked to Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), and she also took part in the People’s Uprising Rally last Saturday.
She proudly announced on Twitter that she is “a student educated by PSM”. – Mkini