Thursday, January 17, 2013

SW1M attack: Ambiga doesn’t give a fig | Free Malaysia Today

SW1M attack: Ambiga doesn’t give a fig

RK Anand | January 16, 2013
The Bersih chief is not bothered about being branded an anarchist but is perturbed by the brainwashing that takes place in universities.
KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga is not drowning in despair after being branded as an anarchist by Suara Wanita 1Malaysia (SW1M) president Sharifah Zohra Jabeen.

The former Bar Council president, who had twice persuaded tens of thousands of Malaysians to take to the streets in demand of clean and fair elections, said that detractors had conferred upon her labels which were even less flattering in the past.

“I am not bothered about what the moderator [Sharifah] had branded me. It’s freedom of speech.
“Worse things have been said about me. I will just leave it to the public to decide. Very often, what people say reflects on them,” she told FMT.

Sharifah, a relatively unknown figure heading an equally obscure organisation, catapulted to infamy when a video of her berating a law student during a forum at Univeristi Utara Malaysia (UUM) went viral on the Internet.

Student KS Bawani had fielded questions regarding Bersih and free education, earning the wrath of the SW1M chief, who responded in a condescending manner and even snatched the microphone from the former.

Her attitude, her argument that animals too endured hardship and her remark that Bawani move to Cuba drew ridicule and brickbats.

‘Stop racist, sexist attacks’
Commenting on this, Ambiga urged the public to refrain from subjecting Sharifah to racist and sexist attacks.
“The public has already made their displeasure known but it doesn’t justify the attacks which are racist and sexist. It is totally unjustified. We must not stoop to such levels,” she said.
“In this case, the moderator should have set a good example but it looks like it was the student who did,” she added.

Ambiga also expressed concern about the oath (ikrar) which the students had to take at the forum and how Sharifah had treated Bawani.

Among others, the oath stated that the students would battle against subversive culture, street demonstrations and those who threatened peace.

The Bersih leader said this was evident of the brainwashing that took place in universities, adding that it was not the first time such cases had come to light.

“There should be a full investigation into such activities,” she added.

Ambiga was also disappointed with the reaction of the other students when Bawani was being reprimanded, but blamed the system for their attitude.

“Students are expected to be quiet when someone berates another student,” she said.

As for Bawani, the senior lawyer believes that the former had a bright future in the legal profession, given that she put forth her argument based on facts and law.

“She is an impressive and feisty young lady. She is just the kind of student that I hope our universities encourage,” added Ambiga.

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