Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin has apologised to Sabah teenager for wrongly accusing her of trying to get publicity by climbing a tree to get better internet connectivity for an online examination.
In a Facebook post, Zahidi said he had received wrong information on Veveonah Mosibin when speaking about her in the Dewan Negara today.
“I wish to correct my statement on Veveonah not taking her examination on a tree, as per a viral video.
“I had obtained inaccurate information in answering the supplementary question. I wish to apologise to Veveonah and will also make amendments in the Dewan Negara next Monday,” he said.
The teenager was subsequently heckled by social media users.
Earlier today, Zahidi accused the 18-year-old of lying, calling her a Youtuber who “wants to make a name”. He also said there were no examinations.
“She is famous for a moment and she does it just for entertainment,” he told the upper house.
Veveonah’s video, titled 24 Hours on Tree | Challenge, showed the extent she had to go just to complete her online examination, as there was no internet connectivity in her village.
The video has been viewed more than 732,000 times since it was posted on June 12 and has garnered the attention of international media and other prominent personalities.
Meanwhile, Veveonah said slurs and criticism against her following Zahidi’s debunked claim that she faked taking her university examinations atop a tree have pained and dismayed her.
“Honestly, I felt really sad and disappointed with this. I really work hard for my online examination for the last few months. And I never expected it to go viral too. This time, I’m viral again, but with some bad effects. I don’t know how to deal with negative and bad comments on social media.
“It hurts. I do forgive all the mistakes people did to me, but still I need to make this fair statement of myself. Thanks to all that still rooting for me and supporting me. (Family, friends, lecturers and fans),” she said on Facebook.