The absurd smear campaign against popular tree-climbing student Veveonah Mosibin continued today with what appears to be more misinformation.
Deputy Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri confirmed with the public today that he was the source of last week’s false information that Veveonah had allegedly faked her exams in order to film herself setting up in a tree for internet connectivity. The alleged mistruth was mentioned by Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin in parliament on Friday, which led to widespread online hate including Veveonah’s teachers and friends coming to the 18-year-old’s defense.
But Abdul Rahim, 59, is standing by his statement despite a schedule on the university’s website clearly stating that there were exams held from June 1 to 21. He even attempted to dispute Veveonah’s place of residence.
“When there is bad publicity regarding my constituency (Kudat), I feel responsible to look into it,” Abdul Rahim, who is the MP for the Kudat district in Sabah, wrote on Facebook today.
“My investigations have revealed that the student and her parents currently do not live in the rural village of Sapatalang Pitas. Instead, they live in the town of Pitas, where the Internet connection is stable,” he added. He also labeled Veveonah’s 24 Hours On A Tree Challenge video as “bad publicity” and “dramatic.”
Veveonah had uploaded her video in the middle of the exam period on June 12 and even posted her official exam schedule online as proof.
Earlier today, Zahidi also appeared to backtrack from his apology last week, saying that he had gotten the information from Abdul Rahim. The minister had called out Veveonah in parliament after being questioned about the lack of internet access in Sabah.
“The Deputy Finance Minister informed me that the person involved (Veveonah) is a YouTuber, and there were no examinations on that day,” he told a press conference in parliament, adding that Abdul Rahim had gotten the information from an unnamed senior professor from the University Malaysia Sabah where Veveonah goes to.
Abdul Rahim added in his online note today that students without internet access were advised to visit the nearest district offices for online lessons, even though Malaysia was under a full lockdown at the time.
“The student was being dramatic on purpose and only did it for publicity,” he wrote.
Veveonah has not responded to today’s developments. Last week, she wrote online that she was disappointed that she was targeted by Zahidi even though she had worked hard for her exams. She added that she has forgiven those who hurt her.
Other stories to check out:
This article, Another politician disputes Veveonah’s exams, calling her ‘dramatic’, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.