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Education minister's Tiktok proposal could jeopardise youth's language mastery: Academics

KUALA LUMPUR (April 11): Higher Education Minister Noraini Ahmad’s proposal to promote the use of Tiktok among youths during the movement control order (MCO) period could jeopardise youths’ mastery of language, said the Universiti Malaya Academic Staff Union (Pkaum) in a Malaysiakini report last yesterday.

The report citing a media statement yesterday that lambasted the minister’s move, the union’s secretary Noraishah Mydin Abdul Aziz said it was unfortunate that Noraini had zeroed in on youths keeping themselves entertained at home during MCO instead of focusing on making institutes of higher learning become the public’s hope to resolve problems caused by Covid-19.

“Pkaum heavily oppose the proposal to use the Tiktok application that not only jeopardise the use of language but also make one complacent, and not helpful in forming outstanding and proactive individuals who can become the aspiration of a developed and developing nation like Malaysia,” Noraishah said.

She said that aside from encouraging institutes of higher learning to harness their energy and efforts to find a solution to the Covid-19 pandemic, Noraini through her ministry should also tackle the current problems facing students nationwide.

Noraishah said the minister should ensure continuous effective learning mechanism take place in areas where students of higher learning are during the MCO period.

“Among them are to ensure the facility, infrastructure and internet network is sufficient for use by all students, lecturers and teachers of institutes of higher learning so that the aim and teaching and learning process online can be implemented comprehensively and effectively.

“The constraints faced by the whole student body of institutes of higher learning, with differing family sizes and residential sizes when doing work from home, need to also be appreciated and considered. 

"There are many problems that need to be resolved to ensure the learning and teaching process is proper,” Noraishah said.

She said in fact, the TikTok application is the subject matter of a legal action on the global level due to the ease of misuse of personal data by third parties, and more frightening when considered that Tiktok opens the opportunity for cybercrime against children.

Noraishah said this is particularly so when coming on the heels of the recent issue of the use of the Zoom application by students of institutes of higher learning which also led to theft of personal data by irresponsible quarters.

“Pkaum hopes that the minister with responsibility for institutes of higher learning gets advice from the various students in finding a resolution to the pressing problems faced by the nation, as well as become the forefront in generating effective ideas to return the country to a better position in future,” Noraishah said.

According to Malaysiakini, Noraini on April 8 caused a stir after promoting a TikTok competition, which appeared to be an effort to get youths out of a funk during the movement control order period.

TikTok is a social media application used to send short videos, typically between 15 to 60 seconds. It is especially popular with youths.

In a promotional video for the contest, Noraini urged youths to stay at home and use their creativity to win prizes.

The promotional video featured two social media personalities, Norreen Iman and Iskandar Rahman, dancing to a remixed track that used portions of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's stay at home speech.

The contest was to be held from April 8 until April 14 and is open to youths aged 18 to 26.

Malaysiakini said there was a strong backlash against the competition, following which social media posts promoting it were removed on April 9.

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