PETALING JAYA: A university lecturer caught on camera chiding her B40 student because he did not own a laptop has been deluged with calls to apologise.
“She should apologise not only to the students but also to the public. This kind of remarks should not come from any professor,” said National Professors Council (MPN) president, Prof Datuk Dr Raduan Che Rose.
He said that although the lecturer had good intentions, her remarks about the B40 community was “very much uncalled for”.
“When someone comes from UiTM, they have to defend the unprivileged,” he added on the controversy arising from a now widely-shared video of a female lecturer berating a student for using his cellphone to attend an online class taught by her.
When the lecturer found out that the boy’s father was unemployed and his mother was dead, she told him to ask his sister to sell her gold bangles so he could get a laptop, something she felt was a must for online classes, and declared that the student would end up a “dropout” without a laptop.
“The price of a laptop is only RM800. What is your problem? That’s why I can’t sit with B40 people. They’re thinking more of other matters than their lessons,” she said in a 108 second clip that was viewed over 900,000 times and shared by more than 50,000 Twitter users before the original video was removed yesterday.
In another video, the UiTM lecturer was seen scolding a student for coming in late for an online class.
In the video, she can be heard saying: “All lecturers won’t oppose me. The rector won’t oppose me. Now you know how fierce am I (sic).”
Prof Raduan said the incident should not have happened, adding that the lecturer was teaching at the university on a voluntary basis, and was not being paid.
However, he agreed that it would be easier to study with a laptop instead of a cellphone, and added that the government could collaborate with banks to provide soft loans for students to buy laptops, which have become a must-have for tertiary studies.
UiTM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Roziah Mohd Janor said yesterday the university had taken action against the lecturer, but clarified that the incident happened last semester.
“There must be a reason why it was only uploaded last night (Tuesday),” she said.
MCA Youth chief Datuk Nicole Wong Siaw Ting called the act “bullying”, adding that the lecturer’s actions were seen as violating an educator’s code of ethics.
“Students who have been bullied are more likely to develop mental health issues in the long run,” she said in a statement yesterday.
Muar MP and Muda chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said a third of students in Malaysia do not have a laptop or tablet, based on a survey conducted by the Education Ministry.
However, some of the lecturer’s former students took to social media to defend her.
Afifuddin Husairi Hussain said she was known to be very strict to the point where she would lock the door of the lecture room if students were late.
However, he said she would unlock it and allow the students in after scolding them.
Another former student, Nurziatul Alia Tamarun, said locking them out of class taught them to be punctual.
She said the lecturer was not the type to insult an underprivileged person as she also came from an underprivileged background.