Candidate for UKEC Chairperson 2015/2016

"Never overpromise. Always overdeliver."

UPDATE: Add-ons to the manifesto can be found at the bottom of the page under 'Other Ideas for UKEC'. (30th October 2015)

Dear readers,

Coming into this election, it was important for me to not bite off more than I could chew.

I don't want to promise you 20 things with the hope that by the end of my tenure as Chairman, I would have achieved at least some of the things on that list.

I want to promise you only two things - two ideas that are well researched and more importantly, realistic. Things that can and will be achieved within the timeframe of a year. Simple in concept and execution, but will have a huge impact on UKEC in 2015/2016.

I have plenty of other ideas for UKEC as well, ones that I've left off my official manifesto (the one I submitted to the Election Commission) because they relate to more internal UKEC changes that may or may not be feasible but are worth a try anyway, and I will list them all in a single document at the bottom of this page later on.

Thank you for taking the time to hear out my ideas for UKEC 2015/2016. I now present to you, my full manifesto.


Faridah Mohammad Faiz
Candidate for UKEC Chairman 2015/2016
4th Year, Bsc (Hons) Biological Sciences (Molecular Genetics)
University of Edinburgh


A more diverse Career Fair

As a biologist, my experience of the UKEC-Graduan Career Fair thus far has been a poor one in terms of getting internships/jobs relevant to my field.

I'm sure other students interested in working in non-business and non-engineering related careers, e.g., entrepreneurship, science-related careers, creative/art-related careers and medicine, feel the same way. Law students are lucky to have an alternative to the UKEC-Graduan Career Fair (the Law Careers Convention), but the same can't be said for the 'dan lain-lain' degree disciplines.

This month, I took the initiative to contact Puan Elia of Graduan to run my ideas by her and good news: she's on board! So it's definitely going to happen. We are going to see a more diverse UKEC-Graduan Career Fair in 2015/2016.

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Love the idea? Here's an example of a real Virtual Career Fair:


Maintaining UKEC's relevance through direct engagement with students at the grassroots level.

We come across this statement time and time again in the manifestos of UKEC candidates and yet, there are still many that feel that UKEC is irrelevant to their daily lives as students.

Part of the reason for this is that the majority of Malaysian students studying in the UK and Ireland do not understand UKEC's role, what UKEC does, and how these individual Malaysian students can get involved.

How are we going to engage with students on a more personal level?
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Fixing the perception problem

The reality that most candidates fail to understand is that not all students are interested in politics or career-development or intellectual discourse, which is why these students have kept their distance from UKEC.

Some students just want to give back to society but there are a large number that are not aware of the opportunities that UKEC provides for them to do that.

The UKEC Regional Roadshow described above will help promote initiatives like UKECharisma. UKEC needs to do a better job at marketing this to the students.


Other ideas for UKEC

As mentioned before, it is not my intention to make false promises.

I can't promise you things like 'We will extend voting rights to all Malaysian students in the UK & Eire during the AGM' because I know that this has been considered before by previous committees but for whatever reason, it never went through.

I can promise you that I will look into it. I promise to exhaust all possible options before saying 'No, it can't be done'. And then the UKEC committee must explain to the public why it can't be done.

With that in mind, here are several aspects that I feel UKEC can improve on:

  • Addressing the problem of exclusivity and lack of transparency

    (a) The Annual Budget for UKEC and financial statements should be made public to all students.

    Students (and sponsors) want to know how much money UKEC receives in sponsorship and where that money goes. Updates twice a year are fine, but it should not just be limited to the Supreme Councillors (SCs are given an update on the state of the accounts during the OGM).

    (b) Minutes of OGMs and AGMs must be published publicly.

    Students are left in the dark about what happens in official meetings. This is easy (or at least conceptually easy) to rectify by publishing minutes on the UKEC website for all to see.

    (c) What goes on in flagship events like MSLS and PAN should be shared with all.

    Due to space (and monetary) constraints, UKEC has to limit the number of students that are able to attend MSLS and PAN. Shahrul Hamdan's committee (2013/2014) were successful in their attempt to livestream PAN that year for the first time.

    It can be done. It definitely isn't easy to pull off, but it can be done. The Connect team will need more manpower - the best solution is to outsource this to capable volunteers (as was done in 2013/2014).

  • Giving UKEC its voice back

    Being non-partisan doesn't mean that UKEC has to keep quiet about current issues affecting Malaysians, especially in recent times.

    Realistically, it's not feasible for UKEC to issue official statements on current issues like KPUM. It's the unpopular truth, but it is still the truth.

    However, that does not stop UKEC from utilising its non-partisan stance to give students key facts from different perspectives so that students can form their own opinions on current issues, be it social, political, economical, or environmental.

    My suggestion is for UKEC to create infographics with the facts, and then encourage discussion on its social media platforms. The results of the discussion can then be summarised in a non-biased article to be published on CEKU.

  • Opening up voting to non-SCs

    The pros of this is that it makes the voting process more inclusive. The cons of this is that it is difficult to execute well. But it will be looked into again.

  • Exploring alternative ways to improve communication within the UKEC Executive Committee and within the Supreme Council

    Managing a remote team is always a challenge, but previous UKEC committees have made do with the usual tools available to them (Whatsapp, Google Hangout, Dropbox, etc.).

    Slack was brought to my attention recently and it suits the needs of the UKEC Executive Committee perfectly. I was also considering other platforms like Asana (used by Uber and Airbnb) and Flow (used by Tesla, Paypal and TED) but I'll leave that to the rest of the committee to decide.

    Supreme Councillors can be included as well, to streamline inter-Malaysian Society communication and prevent event clashes.

Meet Faridah

Faridah is a final year Molecular Genetics student at The University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

She was the Communications Coordinator for the Edinburgh Malaysian Students' Association (EMSA) from 2013-2014 and the current undergraduate representative for the School of Biological Sciences Equality and Diversity committee .

Faridah has made significant contributions to EMSA, all of which are detailed in her LinkedIn profile.

Faridah is stepping up to the role of Chairman because she wants to lead by example and inspire other women to run for top leadership roles. She believes that it is a lack of confidence in their leadership abilities that holds women back.

Faridah is a new member to the Lean In community, a movement to encourage more women to pursue their ambitions. To find out more about the Malaysian chapter, visit http://leaninmalaysia.com.