By Tuan Nurul Iffah, Hakeem Zaideen and Amirul Azhar
GOMBAK, 8 April 2021: A candidate fighting for the post of the President of IIUM Student Union, Mohammad Hafeez bin Zainal Abidin (better known as Hafeez Zainal), has presented his Manifesto Document describing his plans and aspirations for campus community with an emphasis on four main things; holistic, visionary, inclusivity and transparency.
Highlighting six aspects of what he is fighting for, Hafeez created #GrassrootEmpowerment as his main focus, accompanied by six elements that will be the basis of his struggle.
Among the six points, some have been proven and carried out by Hafeez Zainal himself, seen as a catalyst and an enthusiasm in struggling for his mission.
Six aspects which Hafeez Zainal will fight for are:
1. Student Union Financial Development Plan
2. Emergency Education and Welfare Relief
3. Equity Practice
4. Green Action Campus
5. Elevate Skills Accessibility and Literacy
6. Accountable Operation and Good Governance
Student Union Financial Development Plan
IIUM Student Union (SU) is very new here in our university. Before this, we have the Students Representative Council (SRC) which has a great difference in the system. Now, with greater autonomy and power, the union requires funds to run on a greater scale and make impacts on our student’s welfare and empowerment. Because of this, SU needs to raise its own money more independently. We offer to systematically build a sustainable income-raising platform for the Student Union.
Emergency Education and Welfare Relief
Education inequality and the welfare security system made this novel coronavirus exceptionally crippling. Students are facing mass crisis breakdown in their education and mental healthcare. We strive to produce an immediate welfare initiative to address the emerging issues that affect our students, both local and international, without discriminating against anyone. Our main goal is to make sure that everyone can have access to education with an equitable process.
Our university is an educational institution consisting of different races, ethnicities, social backgrounds and communities. But sometimes, the response towards some groups is not as fair as what we deemed to believe so. In order to build a true sense of community on our campus, I seek to acknowledge and pay heed to three communities on campus: international students, students with disabilities and special needs, and women.
Green Action Campus
IIUM is going into world-class research and education, and thus has the potential to develop the solutions needed to create a sustainable development society. Among other things, this potential should be realised by IIUM making its organisations and resources to engage with students so that it will enable them to develop and demonstrate the sustainable solutions of the future, starting on our campus. This is to combat climate change, pollution, environmental degradation and resource depletion.
Elevate Skills Accessibility and Literacy
With our country facing a great level of unemployment especially from fresh university graduates, I believe it is essential that we all need a paradigm shift on how to prepare our graduates. And so, we are going to equip our students with multi-skills that will be necessary for them to take on the jobs outside and stay relevant amidst the pandemic.
Accountable Operation and Good Governance
The students need to know their rights as members of the Student Union and the ones running the office also need to be fully accounted for because they are the ones pioneering the direction of the SU. And so, there should be a system in which core principles of what the SU should be – accountable, inclusive and transparent can actually be operated on a community scale, not just leaders.
Check out Hafeez Zainal’s manifesto documents here. A must-read to understand the manifesto and direction of Student Union in the future!
Hafeez’s Mini Website!
Throughout the process of making this action plan, Hafeez said he did a lot of research in finding the best model to come out with this. They are both structural and cultural reforms. For Hafeez, it is not the whole union, but the rest of the ‘cabinet’ will have their own ideas as well.
“Bringing the Grassroot Empowerment initiative is because I believe that we are living in a very diverse community on campus. There are, of course, local and international students, those who have to work part-time, those who have to stay at the University because it is considered more a ‘home’, persons with disabilities, women, men, postgraduates students, etc.
These are the everyday thing where students are facing different plights and struggles. He said: “Trust me, I’ve been there, staying here on campus during the Movement Control Order (MCO). I realise that as a union, it has to be a union. Because the Student Union is not only about having representatives and leaders, but it has to be one empowering all levels of students.”
“When I am saying empowerment, I really mean empowerment, which is to give access and opportunity to every student, not for the leaders up there. The Manifesto, as I call it the Union Initiative, had undergone a lot of research from various Kulliyyah/ Centre/ Division/ Institute/ Office/ Mahallah (KCDIOM) and professionals,” said Hafeez Zainal.
Hopefully, this will be mind-opening to everyone. We need a leader who is visionary, who thinks outside the box, and who constantly helps his community whether he has a position or not. He also needs to have the political will to act and go the extra mile for everyone.
Every voice, every action and everyone is equally important. We have to have the courage to do better. We have to or to remain status quo, where it will always be the same, structurally and culturally. ***
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