PUTRAJAYA, Jan 13 — Student Affairs and Alumni (HEPA) deputy vice-chancellors of 20 public universities have questioned the authenticity of a research finding which claimed some university students did not have enough to eat or were starving in their campus.
Apart from raising doubts over such claims, they raised questions on the authenticity of the study conducted by the Muslim Volunteer Malaysia (MVM) as the actual scenario in campuses did not justify the findings of the report.
In representing the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Alumni (HEPA) Secretariat of Public Universities, Prof Datuk Dr Mohammad Shatar Sabran from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), said the study which concluded that three out of four students were starving was conducted without the knowledge of the student affairs division of the universities.
“We are also interested to know the methodology and design used as well as questions asked during the study because if it was just close-ended questions then the conclusion is not accurate.
“Today, we also firmly establish that the report had totally deviated from the actual situation in the universities,” he told a press conference at the Higher Education Ministry here today.
Also present were Prof Datin Noor Aziah Mohd Awal of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Prof Datuk Dr Rohana Yusof of Universiti Malaya (UM) and Prof Dr Mohamed Fadzil Che Din of National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM).
According to Mohamed Fadzil, the findings of the study concluded that three out of four students could also infer that 75 per cent of public university students were starving and that is totally outrageous.
He did not rule out the possibility that the study was conducted with a hidden agenda.
On action to be taken against those who carried out the study, Rohana said the agency should explain the methodology of the study to the universities to avoid misunderstanding and legal action.
“They should be responsible for the study because we can sue them for defamation as the universities had done their level best in looking after the welfare of students,” she said.
Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris who was also at the press conference much later said the matter should not have been blown out of proportion as the universities had always been concerned over students’ welfare especially those with financial difficulties. — Bernama