By Qamarina Razali
GOMBAK, 25 May 2022: The International Affairs contesting candidates in the forthcoming student union (IIUMSU) 2022 election shared similar aspirations in bridging the intercultural integration gap among students in their manifesto debate unveiled yesterday (24 May).
As the election comes closer, international seat candidates – Hasan Al Banna Siddiki, Mohammed Hamdan, and Sylla Issiaga defended the credibility of their manifesto to win the votes of the students.
Despite the differences in the style of execution, the three candidates brought up a similar idea in their manifestos.
In the first session of the debate, Hamdan from Kulliyyah of Economics and Management Sciences (KEMS) shared his manifesto to promote the unity, integration, and social development of IIUM students through co-curricular activities.
In his approach to promote unity, Hamdan believed that the usage of the phrase “IIUM students” is important instead of separating them into categories like “international” and “local”.
For Hamdan, integration also means bringing the three IIUM campuses in Gombak, Kuantan, and Pagoh together. When conducting major programmes Hamdan emphasised, “students from different campus should not feel left out as they are (also) IIUM students.”
Meanwhile, Sylla Issiaga from Kulliyyah of Engineering preached about the importance of the environment to cultivate the integration between students from different backgrounds and cultures.
On the other hand, Hasan Al Banna Siddiki from Kulliyyah of Information and Communication Technology (KICT) was convinced that his experiences in handling a variety of student programmes in the past like the Global Ummatic Festival can help realise his vision to enhance the ummatic spirit between IIUM students continue to prevail.
Aside from intercultural integration, the candidates also stressed on ensuring the well-being of international students mainly pertaining to their travel and visa procedures.
In the light of students returning to campus this semester, the contesting candidates brought up problems faced by returning international students to leverage their manifesto presentation.
Hamdan quoted his experience seeing classmates who are unable to come back to campus due to being in a “red list” and facing visa problem. Hence, he promised a faster and easier process for the next returning session especially for the new student admissions.
At the same time, Issiaga planned to bring in international staff into the office to particularly deal with the students’ travel and entry procedures.
“We need people who are sympathetic to our situation. Although they may not be facing the same problem, at least they can feel the pain and the struggles that international students have to go through when dealing with visas,” he highlighted.
On the other hand, Hasan proposed to establish a one-stop centre for international students that facilitates not only application for visas, but also on welfare and academic matters. To justify this move, he underlined the experiences of new students struggling to adapt with their academic-related progress on the campus.
The manifesto debate was held in Kulliyyah of Economics and Management Sciences and broadcast live on IIUM Student Union Election Commission (IIUMSU EC) YouTube Channel.