NGOs, politicians come to defence of Veveonah

PETALING JAYA: Those who criticise Sabahan Veveonah Mosibin for climbing trees to get a stable Internet connection to sit for online exams are naive, say non-government organisations.

WOMEN:girls Organisation and Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) said Veveonah had, in fact, succeeded in highlighting the digital divide in the era of information technology.

WOMEN:girls executive director Izza Izelan said the 18-year-old should be praised, and not scorned.

She said the Sabahan girl tried to make the best of what she had instead of complaining.

"She has shown the reality of the situation.

"Many students in rural areas are facing similar problems, making it difficult for them to proceed with online learning, especially when movements are restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ” she said.

She added that the Veveonah showed tremendous survival skills and problem-solving abilities.

Izza called on critics to check the facts before making comments.

Her comment was in reference to Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin and Deputy Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri, who came under fire for claiming that Veveonah merely pretended to take a university exam on a tree to attract attention on her YouTube channel.

Zahidi later apologised.

WAO capacity development director Melissa Akhir said Veveonah should not be criticised for highlighting her plight.

"It's time for MPs and ministries to take action to ensure inclusive and equitable education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all," she said.

She said it was time for meaningful action to be carried out so that Malaysia could progress.

Meanwhile, former education minister Maszlee Malik took to twitter to point to the "deafening silence" of the Higher Education Ministry and Education Ministry over the matter.

“Where are the MOHE and MOE when a student is being bullied by deputy ministers a.k.a your colleagues?” he tweeted.

Similarly, former deputy women's minister Hannah Yeoh characterised the remarks by Zahidi and Abdul Rahim as "cyber bullying".

The Segambut MP also said Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun and her deputy Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff had stayed mum over the issue.

“If you don’t recognise it, this is actually cyberbullying in action by two deputy ministers against a young child," tweeted Yeoh.

Meanwhile, Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman called on the two deputy ministers to look into expanding the Internet network in Sabah and to stop bullying youths.

“Don’t mess with youths, ” he tweeted.

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