(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): I have been informed that Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA)
has proposed that Nik Nor Emilia Rozana Mustaffa, 20, take distance learning
through Internet instead of joining the university as a full-time student to
read Syariah law because of her
The Minister for Women and Family Development, Datuk
Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, even offered to get a computer and Internet access for
Nik Nor Emilia when her financial problems was reported in the media.
But the proposal that Nik Nor Emilia, who stands at only 94
cm and was born with other physical disabilities, continue her higher education
studies through distance learning rather than full university campus life is
unacceptable, as it is a subtle and refined form of discrimination against the
disabled by segregating them from the rest of the population
– and UIA should be ashamed for making such a proposal and Shahrizat
ashamed for condoning such subtle discrimination.
There is a clear need to conscientise the UIA, which cost
the Malaysian taxpayers hundreds of millions of ringgit, its administration and
the 10,000 students about the right to higher education of the disabled.
UIA should immediately readmit Nik Nor Emilia as a full-time student and make arrangements among some 7,000 of the women students to work out a programme to provide full-time care to Nik Nor Emilia, as a token of redemption for disregard of the rights and sensitivities of the disabled for higher education opportunities.