When An "Academic Discussion" Turned
Into A Video Opportunity.

UMNO Youth's Mr Zein Isma Ismail is livid. So livid that he waited a good fortnight after he was mercilessly and figurately mauled by Universiti Kebangsaan undergraduates that he waited for a fortnight after the June 15 debate before threatening legal action. It goes without saying that no self-respecting UMNO politician can survive if he does not make a police report and threaten to sue for millions of ringgit if he cannot respond to taunts from the floor. He will, like Daniel, got into the den of lions, but the lions had better behave or face libel suits. Since Mr Zein Isma is a honourable and righteous UMNO politician, he promises to do both. At a press conference yesterday, his lividness became clear. UKM was the first university to invite the leading youth leaders of political parties to debate the role of students in politics.

The UMNO Youth acting president, Dato' Hishamuddin Hussein, was slated as a speaker, but clearly got cold feet, and send his knights instead into battle. He claims his name was put against his will; if that was so, why did he send his lieutenants to the debate? And when the debate shifted to the University of Malaya, the authorities cancelled it at the last minute, with UMNO Youth praising them for their patriotism in cancelling the function. To come to Mr Zein Isma, he had expected an "academic
discussion"; he can of course expect it, but as far as I know it was a debate from the word go. How did he ever get that notion, I wonder. He was just told to represent his political boss. And he walked into the lion's den.

He is horrified that videotapes of the function is now on sale at RM22 each. As he was when walked into the UKM Hall, where 5,000 undergraduates and staff demanded the whereabouts of is chief. He had a rough time, and he is disturbed that one of Dato' Seri Anwar's lawyers even asked questions. The debate was open to anyone who wanted to come. Why did he not pack the hall with his supporters? He is even more disturbed that all this was captured on videotape and openly on sale at RM22 each. (I find this a little hard to believe; when the opposition parties put together political tapes like these, they sell
them for about RM10; but let us ignore that, shall we?)

Since he is the UMNO youth head on the committee on undergraduates and training, he should have known that what He Who Thinks He Is Lord Of All He Surveys did to He Who Must Be Destroyed At All Cost has put the backs up of all students, not just from universities. And going in as chicken thinking it is a rottweiler before a melee of shrieking hyenas, he got what he should have anticipated. He would continue to get the same treatment when he insist on meeting demands for answers with irrelevant portentious statements, like urging deputy vice chancellors in charge of student affairs of "all public universities" to charry out "their duties well", informing them that some students had been indoctrinated. What he did was to pour oil over troubled waters. Which he thinks he is fully entitled since he can respond to challenges with law suits and police reports. As he intends to. He will make a good cabinet minister for Bolehland.

M.G.G. Pillai
pilla-@mgg.pc.my