By Nurin Najmina Zaidi
GOMBAK, 28 May 2022: A presidential debate between the two contesting candidates, Arifah Rashid and Alff Naif, was held to defend their manifestoes and debate on what is good for the students.
The issue of how fifty percent of the election won uncontested which led to criticism and question to what IIUMSU had done so far to implement political awareness and participation of all students was raised in the debate.
Both candidates agreed that the problem happened due to the students’ sense of belonging to the union. However, both of them also provided different solutions.
Aliff, the fourth-year political science student from the AbdulHamid AbuSulayman Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences (AHAS KIRKHS), will try to cater to this issue with one approach with his union building agenda.
Thus, he will try to instill self-belonging towards the union and also to show that the union can cater to the student problem. “We are not just solving problems, we also providing grounds for the members of the union to flourish,” he highlighted.
Meanwhile, his opponent, Arifah, a third-year student who studies Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from Kulliyyah of Education, said to combat this issue, her manifesto and mission are the answer.
“My manifesto is all about the students. Which is about the students’ safety, inclusivity, and also upholding students’ voices. Although it will not totally solve the problem of self-belonging, it will move forward and increase the percentages that we have in IIUMSU AGM,” she mentioned.
As the initiative regarding the importance of student unions within the national political arena was raised, Aliff questioned the capability of Arifah due to her lack of involvement in national politics which might subdue her and also the union later.
Aliff shared his experience with the national politics through the student movement and he admitted that the pressure is immense as people will urge to submit to their own demands and do not really given the opportunity to build the strength to actually battle for the union.
However, Arifah reassured Aliff that she with the executive members will discuss and become the execution provider for the Ministry. Thus, she insisted that the first thing that needs to do is to advocate to the students what national politics is and become the provider of the solution.
As Aliff’s manifesto was questioned by Arifah as to what is the measurement or objective to the IIUM Student Union to achieve financial independence in his one-year tenure, Aliff stands firm on his manifesto which he explained is to lessen the dependency on funds.
“Which is why in my manifesto I mentioned financial independence because dependency constitutes power. It’s not that we cut off our connections, our initiative is to be much more independent in terms of financial management, so we can actually fund on our own without having to rely on others or other funds,” he emphasised.
In addition, Arifah is concerned that the function of the student union will be abandoned if it involved national politics. Aliff, however, provided the same approach which is to tackle the grassroots.
Hence, he agreed with Arifah that advocacy is a prompt solution as he himself is a trainer in a political school teaching political philosophy.
“The union will not get abandoned, as we are bringing back our rights and we are getting back our demands from the national politics including this campus,” he added.
Although one of Arifah’s manifestos which is to create a secure environment by developing a strategic safety campus plan was agreed upon by Aliff, he felt like her manifesto only revolved in Gombak and did not include Kuantan and Pagoh.
Arifah counter the argument, saying that her manifesto is not revolved around Gombak only as she had already met with the Deputy President II and III of Pagoh and Kuantan asking about their concern about safety and telling them about her manifesto.
Nevertheless, both candidates promised to fulfill their manifesto and believed that being together as one union can bring benefit to everyone.
The presidential debate was held physically in the main auditorium 1, IIUM Gombak, and also online on the IIUM TV YouTube channel yesterday (27 May). The full video can be watched here. For more information regarding the election, readers may refer to this link.***
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