Malaysia

‘Listen’ woman gets second chance to speak at KL forum tomorrow

January 21, 2013

Poster on the anakmudamalaysia.com website of the upcoming forum featuring, among others, Sharifah Zohra.Poster on the anakmudamalaysia.com website of the upcoming forum featuring, among others, Sharifah Zohra.KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — Controversial speaker Sharifah Zohra Jabeen Syed Shah Miskin is slated to share the stage tomorrow with university student Bawani KS whom she had told to “listen” at a public forum in the city, Harakah Daily reported.

The “Listen” woman, who had gone underground after a video of her publicly berating Bawani went viral a fortnight back, has accepted an invitation from student movement Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) to speak tomorrow night at the forum titled “Academic Freedom and Fundamental Rights” to be held at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, the news portal reported.

A letter said to bear Sharifah Zohra’s signature dated and stamped with the seal of her non-government organisation, the little-known Suara Wanita 1 Malaysia (SW1M), was posted last Friday on the PAS-owned news site as proof of her acceptance.

Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) undergraduate Bawani is also among the four speakers listed to headline the talk. The others on the panel are law expert Abdul Aziz Bari and International Islamic University lecturer Dr Maszlee Malik.

Sharifah Zohra, who is SW1M president, is widely seen as a staunch Barisan Nasional (BN) supporter and had come under heavy public fire for her treatment of Bawani at the UUM forum last month, which was uploaded on YouTube January 11.

The recording of her telling Bawani to “listen” a whopping 11 times catapulted her into the limelight and that turned her into Malaysia’s latest Internet sensation overnight, sparking memes online and parodies mimicking her public outburst.

Sharifah Zohra, who had gone into hiding following the furore citing safety reasons, has since emerged to pen a three-page statement “forgiving” Bawani and those who had jumped onto the bandwagon to mock her and cash in on her inadvertent infamy.

“Dear Malaysians, I appeal to you... Listen...listen...listen... Let me explain. Please listen and rationalise.

“First and foremost, I forgive the young girl in the video for whatever she said and did before, during and after the forum,” Sharifah Zohra said in the statement posted on the blog of a SW1M member, Ema Lee Abu Samah, yesterday. 

The blog link was also posted on the NGO’s Facebook page.

In her defence — seen to be the first personal statement in her own right — Sharifah Zohra said the issue had been spun to “gather emotional support for an opposition-led party” but did not mention the name.

“This ‘politically altered sensational video’ had caused undue stress to my family especially my young kids,” she said, claiming that she had been receiving threatening text messages from “irresponsible individuals, groups and even political parties”.

She appeared to cancel the sincerity of her own apology to Bawani however as later in the letter she said “the only party who deserves my sincere apology is UUM, from the higher authority of the said university, Syahmi Zakari and YDP Ku Amirul and their hardworking and efficient team in making the forum a success...”