Deputy minister: Info on Veveonah from MP, UMS lecturer

I will head to UMS and get clarification on the matter, Zahidi says

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

DEPUTY Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin (picture) has cited Deputy Finance Minister I Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri and a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) as sources for the false information he received on Sabahan student Veveonah Mosibin.

“I received the information from the Kudat MP (Abdul Rahim), who is also the deputy finance minister. I was informed that Veveonah is a YouTuber and there was no examination on the said date. He received the information from her lecturer, who is a professor and senior academic member at UMS.

“So, in the case of ‘Tidak Pasti, Jangan Kongsi’ (Unsure, Don’t Share), where else should we get our information from? It is a common practice that we refer to the MPs who represent the area when answering questions in the Parliament.

“If we were to double-check the information, the question that arises is why would an MP lie? Therefore, we trusted the information given to us,” he told reporters in the Parliament yesterday.

The Padang Besar MP has come under fire recently for stating in the Dewan Negara last week that Veveonah was “just a YouTuber wanting to make a name for herself” and had faked sitting for an online university examination atop a tree in Pitas, Sabah, in June.

UMS students have since shared the screenshots of the exam schedule online, further indicating that Veveonah’s examination was held from June 9-12. Her pre-recorded video was uploaded on June 13.

Zahidi said he would head to Sabah over the weekend to meet with the lecturer and UMS staff to get clarification on the matter.

“We have to double and triple check the information we receive. If the information is false, we apologise. The lecturer should not have given false information. Otherwise, this might just be a misunderstanding on the dates,” he said while stressing that the issue should not be politicised.

Zahidi accused the DAP of politicising the issue and attempting to gain political mileage for the upcoming Sabah state elections.

“They are bankrupt of ideas and are using this issue for political mileage. It will be ineffective because they have all kinds of corruption issues,” he said.

Senator Alan Ling Sie Kiong had earlier submitted a motion to Dewan Negara Speaker Tan Sri Rais Yatim, demanding that Zahidi be referred to the Committee of Privileges for misleading the Senate with his false claim on Veveonah.

Senator Aiman Athirah Sabu, in a press conference held subsequently, said firm action needs to be taken as Veveonah had been “cyberbullied” due to Zahidi’s remarks.