PETALING JAYA: Popular preacher Ustaz Ebit Lew has hired buses to send students stranded in their respective higher learning institutions back home after the government decided at the last minute to hold registration and classes online for the new semester.
In his Facebook page, Ebit said that he chartered buses to help Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) students in Tanjung Malim return to their hometowns in the east coast on Saturday (Oct 3).
“Many students from various universities sent me messages about their situation after they found out that classes will now be held online.
“Many of them had already turned up at their universities for registration. I feel sad and really pity all of them. They are the leaders of the future,” he said in a post on Saturday (Oct 3).
This post has so far received over 212,000 reactions, 8,700 comments and 15,000 shares.
Besides UPSI, Ebit said he was also arranging several buses to send other students from other universities, including Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn (UTHM) back to their hometowns.
Ebit also posted pictures of students carrying their luggage bags to board the buses that he had hired to take them home.
However, on Sunday (Oct 4), Ebit claimed that UPSI's top management had contacted him to urge him to publicly apologise for offering help without the management’s prior approval.
“I apologise to UPSI’s top management, especially the vice-chancellor himself who called me to ask me to issue a public apology.
“I apologise to the university students as well. I look at all of you as my own children,” he said.
Ebit added that he has to hold back 20 buses hired until he obtained permission from the relevant authorities.
Ebit said he decided to help as he had been a student once and seldom returned to his hometown as he had no pocket money to do so.
“I always slept at the mosque and took food from the mosque,” he said in a Facebook post on Sunday (Oct 4).
His post has so far garnered over 108,000 reactions, 19,000 comments and 11,000 shares.
Meanwhile, the UPSI student representative council in a statement on Sunday thanked Ebit for his initiative but said due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he had to adhere to the standard operating procedure (SOP) and regulations.
“It requires getting approval from the university management, which obtains direct approval from the Higher Education Ministry and the National Security Council (NSC).
“This needs to be done because in the current Covid-19 pandemic, we do not want any negative things to happen, especially relating to students' safety while making their journey back home, ” said the council.
On Friday (Oct 2), the Higher Education Ministry urged public higher education institutions to hold their registration and lessons for the new semester virtually amid a resurgence of Covid-19 infections in the country.
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