Zahidi should be sacked for his shocking ignorance and incompetence, undercutting the Prime Minister and exposing the Muhyiddin government to national and international ridicule as a kakistocracy

Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin should be sacked for his shocking ignorance and incompetence, undercutting the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin himself, exposing the government to national and international ridicule as a kakistocracy.

Zahidi will be getting away too easily for his grave and shameful faux pas if he is just allowed to apologise and move on.

He said in the Senate yesterday morning that he had checked and found that Veveonah Mosibin of Kampung Sapatalang in Pitas, Sabah had pretended to take a university exam on a tree to popularise her YouTube channel, but later the same night, Zahidi said he would like to correct the statement that she did not sit for any exam.

Zahidi had made a grave error which is not “correctable”.

What is this “check” that Zahidi said his Ministry had done which led him to reply to Senator Datuk Donald Peter Mojuntin that Veveonah was lying in claiming that she was taking an exam on top of a tree to get better internet connection?

Did the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia make a “check” or not, or was Zahidi telling a lie in the Senate – which opens up to a serious breach of privilege by him and he should be referred to the Senate Committee of Privileges, probably another dubious record as the first Malaysian Senator to be referred.

It might be understandable if the “Veveonah on a tree-top to take an exam” incident had taken place just before he answered the question in the Senate, and there was not enough time him to check on its veracity, but the event took place some two months ago in June.

The incident became quite an online news sensation and her Youtube has garnered more than 740,000 views since it was posted on June 12.

She was offered a scholarship by the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) and is now pursuing her foundation programme with UMS.

In June itself, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission followed up and pledged to improve internet connection in the area by having a telecommunications tower by mid of next year.

The wife of Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah Toh Puan Norlidah Jasni, who is also the adviser of Yayasan Nur Jauhar also presented donations to Veveonah at the state palace.

Even the Prime Minister himself is aware of Veveonah’s tree-top feat. How can a Deputy Minister for Communications and Multimedia be so grossly ignorant about a matter completely within its jurisdiction?

In the middle of last month, Muhyiddin referred to the Veveonah incident in a town hall meeting with civil servants in Johore when he said that global technology giants such as Microsoft, Amazon and Google are keen to help develop Malaysia into a regional hub for information technology although the country was faced with the main issue of lack of access of the Internet.

He said Malaysia had not achieved a competitive level of internet connectivity and cited the example of Veveonah in Sabah who had to climb a tree to get good internet connectivity to complete her exam.

Zahidi is clearly not fit to be Deputy Minister for Communications and Multimedia!

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri