KUCHING: DAPSY Malaysia has called on Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) and all relevant authorities to conduct a prompt inquiry into the death of S.Visony, a 20-year-old accounting student who died in her hostel at UUM in Sintok, Kedah, last Saturday.
“In the spirit of transparency, a clear schedule for the inquiry must be established, as well as a clear comprehensive strategy by the Ministry of Higher Education to address concerns about student safety and security, as well as adequate upkeep of university dormitories and infrastructure,” said the movement’s chief Dr Kelvin Yii.
“Her death was considered to be caused by an electric shock, which her family maintains is supported by injuries on her body and post-mortem examinations.
“This was an unfortunate accident that may have been averted. This raises severe concerns about the safety of the student community not only on this school, but on all campuses across the country, particularly in light of the substandard safety upkeep of all university facilities.
“Unfortunately, this is not an unique incidence, since another incident occurred little over a week after another dormitory disaster at the Universiti Malaya campus in the Klang Valley.
“After UM’s management reportedly refused to repair a faulty fan that students had reported, a fire broke out in a dorm room,” he added.
According to Dr Yii, students at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) complained about frequent water supply interruptions in 2015.
In 2021, a fire broke out in the UUM hostel, with the cause assumed to be broken yet not repaired old electrical lines.
A 22-year-old Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) student died in April 2022 after falling from an old, unmaintained balcony while attempting to remove his clothing from the washing line.
According to Dr Yii all this speaks of a larger problem with safety and maintenance in all student hostels and university facilities, which has been ignored for far too long.
Many students have expressed their dissatisfaction with how inadequately many of these facilities are maintained, and how many are simply timebombs and accidents waiting to happen.
That is why an independent audit and inspection of all hostels and university facilities across the country must be conducted immediately to identify those that are in urgent need of repair and pose a safety hazard, so that students can be advised to avoid them or even relocated to ensure their safety, he said.
“I strongly encourage the Ministry of Higher Education to provide the required funds as soon as feasible and eliminate all superfluous bureaucracy so that renovations and maintenance of university dormitories and other facilities may be completed as soon as possible to prevent another sad catastrophe.
“A single fatality caused by such preventable conditions is one too many, and much more has to be done to safeguard the well and safety of our children, who represent the country’s future,” he said.