As the warm Thursday afternoon settled in nicely, the members of Students’ Representative Council (SRC) with assistance of MMU Editorial Squad (MMUES) started preparing the setting of the debate session between the Presidential candidates and the Board of Panelists consisting of former SRC members. Three red leather arm chairs were set directly opposite of the panelists table, setting the vibrant yet intriguing mode.
1) Jason Teo Jia Schen
2) Muhammad Ammar Bin Putra Abd Rahman
3) Aravind Selvarajan
Members of Panelists:
1) Ian Hannibal Liang
2) Ruban Raj Balakrishnan
3) Muizzudin Schanni Feizal
4) Yu Peng Chiang
5) Mohammed Ahmed Magzoub Albashier
Jason represents the Faculty of Business at Malacca Campus and introduced his manifesto to the floor. He has 5 main manifestos:
1. Student Welfare
- to make sure out of service materials are sorted out
- to make sure the management gives him the proper frame and timeline
2. Clubs and Societies
- to apply the 'Petty Cash System' for each club and to sort out financial issues regarding all students
- to be transparent in MMU'S Development and keep students updated on what is happening
4. Opportunities and Exposure
- will have 'Student Summits & Conferences' from outside relevant parties
5. Better Representation
- will represent MMU and all of its students in all three campuses, Cyberjaya Melaka and Nusajaya
Next up was Muhammad Ammar, who is currently in his final year of the Faculty of Engineering & Technology at Malacca Campus. He has 5 manifestos as well:
1. Students Welfare
- to improve facility refurbishment
- to organize parking space next to Emerald Park (EP)
- to maximise the quantity of water coolers in MMU compound
2. Students Academic
- to improvise 'Let's Excel Program' and 'Peer Tutor Program'
-to introduce the Faculty Exchange program
3. Students Development
- to establish a Speakers Corner
- to enhance networking with other Universities and Malaysian youth societies
4. Improved Feedback System
- to have one town hall session per trimester
- to have SAC meeting's reported on MMU portal
5. General Matters
- to improve communication channels for SRC to serve better
- to optimize student-staff engagement
- to better clubs and societies management
Lastly, came Aravind Selvarajan, who is a 2nd year student in Bachelors of Accounting at Cyberjaya campus. Aravind's manifestos goes as below:
1. Quick Updates to Students
- to update students regarding maintenance issues at all campuses
2. Regarding Facilities
- to maximise students usage of facilities
3. Clubs and Societies
- to revive dead clubs and societies by introducing new events
Once all of the candidates’ manifestos had been explained to the crowd and panelists, the Q&A session thus began.
Ian Hannibal was the first to speak his mind. Ian directed his question to Jason Teo and his question was, "What would you suggest to overcome the chain of command barrier?”
Jason was honest with his answer and explained that he is not well versed in solving this issue but he will try nevertheless. There will always be a solution to offset that problem for instance if the budget is too high, the cost can be cut down in other ways.
The next panellist was Ruban Raj and his question was directed to Aravind. His question was, “What is your plan on engaging all campuses?”
Aravind's answer was straightforward as he said he cannot be seated at Cyberjaya alone and rely on video calls. He will come to club events on all campuses and urged clubs and societies to send him invitations for weekend programs.
Muizzudin Schanni then came up with his rather analytical question. His question was directed to Ammar, “How are you going to be transparent with the trust fund money for clubs and societies?'
Ammar's plan is that he will make sure the department will seek and find a better cash flow system and make sure there's always check and balance happening. He said that the Chief Finance Manager is hard to approach but he will try his best to make contact. Time is of the essence here.
Next up came Yu Peng Chiang who directed his question to Jason Teo. His question was, “Do you have any plans for transparency?”
Jason Teo said that information is not passed to students properly. There are no updates as well. He will implement bulletin boards, posters and have an information counter set up for exactly this purpose. He ended his answer with, “Change has to happen with you and me. We play a role as a catalyst for the change.”
Lastly came Ahmad Magzoub who directed his question to all 3 candidates. “I don't see anything about international students on any of your manifestos. What is your plan to integrate them and why isn't there international students welfare issue raised as well?”
Answers from all 3 are as follows:
Regarding the SOP of visa renewal, we will review the standard SOP and timeline to renew visas.
There are 2 seats by ISS who are responsible for bringing issues to SRC. If the candidates do not take action to come forward with the issues, I am not aware of them. Back at Cyber, there was one particular student who lost a wheelchair. We managed to solve the issue and attain another wheelchair for the said person. In short, if there are issues, I will try and solve them if they do come up.
3. Jason Teo:
Being in SRC is never a one man job. It is a team effort and it is a task of every student. Unfortunately before I could add in the International student issues into my manifesto, it had already been printed out. But fret not, I will work closely with SRC and ISS to fight for the welfare of all students and I will do whatever it takes.
The first round of panellists’ questions has come to an end, and now 1 question was open to the floor. An FET student named Merghani came forward and asked, “Why is the internet here terrible? I did not travel all the way from Africa to have bad internet at my university.”
This problem has been going on for awhile and the internet is still slow. There have been plenty of excuses such as during peak hours there's too many students who use it. The problem cannot be fixed and management always has excuses.
2. Jason Teo:
There is a root cause to this issue. The problem can be solved. We have to try to negotiate with the management to come to a solution with the internet problem here.
There was one a replacement of MMU Wifi and TM wifi. The speed went up initially but then declined tremendously after a certain period. The SRC tried to talk to the management last term and we have to keep pushing them to go to the very top (board members).
Once all the candidates explained their answers, round 2 of questions from the panellists began.
Questions and answers were fair and there was no criticizing of one another. After that, questions from the floor was open one more time and Farid was the brave soul to volunteer.
His question revolved around the engagement of Nusajaya campus and all 3 candidates had the same mindset on this which was to bring them to the other 2 big campuses and have events or to go down to Nusajaya personally and check up on them.
Another person named Natirah volunteered to ask the candidates the last question for the day. She questioned on how the exchange students can feel more at home in this country and in our campuses. All three candidates mentioned about the platform of exchange student community and urged local students to be more interactive and to have a better mindset towards them.
To top it off, Mr. Zamzuri from STAD had a few words to say to end the two hour long debate. He urged students to exercise their rights and vote as someone has to become the President of SRC.
The Election would commence on 10th and 11th of August from 8.45 am till 4.30 pm at CLC Concourse.
Best of luck to all the candidates. Happy voting everybody.