Share |

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

MIC, MCA: Give students a choice

The two biggest component members in BN want the government to reconsider its decision on PPSMI.

KUALA LUMPUR: MIC president G Palanivel today urged the Education Ministry to reconsider its decision to scrap the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI).

He wanted the government not to rush into things but to think over the matter carefully.

“We have to consider the ongoing public’s reaction on this issue.” he said.

Palanivel, who is also the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said the education ministry should carefully listen to the reactions and suggestions from the PIBGs, parents and also the concerned NGOs.

“We do not want a backlash from angry parents,” added Palanivel.

He felt that the ministry should take its time and consider various options before deciding to scrap the teaching of Science and Maths in English.

“One of the options is to consider teaching of Science and Maths in both Bahasa Malaysia and English. It is still not too late. We can still reconsider the decision,” he added.

Introduce English Literature

Meanwhile in another statement, MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek revealed that he and other party top leaders met Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on the issue involving PPSMI.

He said they were informed of the difficulty in implementing the policy if the parents were given the choice.

However he stressed that MCA felt there must be clear guidelines which will help to end any confusion.

“Students who have already been learning these two subjects in English should be allowed to continue. There should not be any disruptions.

“The MCA’s stand on this issue is very clear. We believe the stakeholders must have a choice,” he said.
He added that it was also important that something was done urgently to arrest the declining standard of English.

Chua said he had proposed to Muhyiddin to introduce English Literature as a compulsory subject in schools as an effort in strengthening the students’ command of English.

India: Eat, pray, give

One man in India devotes his life to helping those ignored by society, the poor and mentally ill, one meal at a time.

India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It also has a growing gulf between the country's burgeoning rich and poor.

While the wealthy face issues like obesity and diabetes, the majority of the population struggles each day to find enough food to eat.

The tens of millions of Indians suffering from mental illness face even greater hardship, often abandoned by their families and surviving on the streets without care or treatment.

This uplifting and confronting film follows Krishnan Narayanan. Once destined for a high-end culinary career, Krishnan's life changed when he met an old man living in depraved and squalid conditions.

Rejecting a lucrative European job and ignoring strict caste conventions, Krishnan now devotes his life to helping those unable to fend for themselves, cooking meals for the dispossessed, dumped and neglected in his home city of Madurai.

Coptic Christian Student Murdered By Classmates for Wearing a Cross

(AINA) -- In mid-October Egyptian media published news of an altercation between Muslim and Christian students over a classroom seat at a school in Mallawi, Minya province. The altercation lead to the murder of a Christian student. The media portrayed the incident as non-sectarian. However, Copts Without Borders, a Coptic news website, refuted this version and was first to report that the Christian student was murdered because he was wearing a crucifix.

"We wanted to believe the official version," said activist Mark Ebeid, "because the Coptic version was a catastrophe, as it would take persecution of Christians also to schools." He blamed the church in Mallawi for keeping quiet about the incident.

Today the parents of the 17-year-old Christian student Ayman Nabil Labib, broke their silence, confirming that their son was murdered on October 16, in "cold blood because he refused to take off his crucifix as ordered by his Muslim teacher." Nabil Labib, the father, said in a taped video interview with Copts United NGO, that his son had a cross tattooed on his wrist as per Coptic tradition, as well as another cross which he wore under his clothes.

Both parents confirmed that Ayman's classmates, who were present during the assault and whom they met at the hospital and during the funeral, said that while Ayman was in the classroom he was told to cover up his tattooed wrist cross. He refused and defiantly got out the second cross which he wore under his shirt. "The teacher nearly chocked by son and some Muslim students joined in the beating," said his mother.

According to Ayman's father, eyewitnesses told him that his son was not beaten up in the school yard as per the official story, but in the classroom. "They beat my son so much in the classroom that he fled to the lavatory on the ground floor, but they followed him and continued their assault. When one of the supervisors took him to his room, Ayman was still breathing. The ambulance transported him from there dead, one hour later."

Prosecution arrested and detained two Muslim students, Mostapha Essam and Walid Mostafa Sayed, pending investigations in the murder case.

The father said that everyone in Mallawi knew how the event took place, but not one of the students' parents was prepared to let their children come forward and give a statement to the police. "They are afraid of the school administration, which has lots of ways to harass the students, as well as being afraid of the families of the two Muslim killers."

"I insist that the Arabic teacher, the headmaster, and the supervisors should be charged as well as the two students who committed the crime," said Nabil. "The Arabic language teacher incited the students to attack my son, the headmaster who would not go to the classroom to see what is going on there when alerted to the beatings, but rather said to be left alone and continued sipping his tea, and the supervisors who failed in their supervising duties."

Prosecution has three witnesses, two men working at school who named the assailants and one student who wanted to retract his statement, but was refused."

"The evidence is under lock and key. Everyone is hiding the evidence. We will know the truth after forensic medicine has finished the report next week," said Nabil, adding that the head of detectives on the case tried to influence the witnesses, claiming that the murder took place as a result of friction between students."

The governor of Minya, El-Rouby, visited the Coptic Bishop Dimitrious of Mallawi to extend his condolences, accompanied by representatives of Minya military authorities. He also suspended the school's headmaster and the two supervisors, as well as two social workers who were on duty when Ayman died, and referedg them to an investigation committee. But all of them have disappeared since then.

After the funeral service for Ayman, over 5000 Christians marched along the streets of Mallawi, denouncing the killing of a student whom they described as "Martyr of the Cross," and the repeated killings of Copts in Egypt.

Prominent columnist Farida El-Shobashy wrote in independent newspaper Masry Youm "I was shaken to the bones when I read the news that a teacher forced a student to take off the crucifix he wore, and when the Christian student stood firm for his rights, the teacher quarreled with him, joined by some of the students; he was beastly assaulted until his last breath left him." She wondered if the situation was reversed and a Muslim was killed for not removing the Koran he wore, what would have been the reaction.

Farida pointed out that the gravity of the incident is where it took place and who incited the attack (the teacher). She went on to blast the Ministry of Education for neglecting the education syllabus to prevent discriminatory contents but instead "left it to teachers to spread the fanatic Wahabi ideology."

Peluru,tidak patahkan semangat saya -Aziz Bari

Najib’s daughter on lavish shopping spree

An Australian report claims that the premier's daughter spent RM180,000 in a high-end deparmental store in Perth.
PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s family is in the limelight once again, this time over a costly shopping spree Down Under.

According to a report in the West Australian newspaper, Najib’s daughter was believed to have spent a whopping RM180,000 (AU$ 60,000) in David Jones, a high-end department store.

The same report also said that one first lady purchased WA pearls worth AU$150,000. But the report did not name the person.

Last week, Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, had gone to Perth to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Goverments Meeting (CHOGM).

In the past, Rosmah had courted controversy for allegedly purchasing extremely costly jewellery items, including a ring worth tens of millions, and designer handbags.

Since becoming prime minister in 2009, Najib’s wife has been a favourite target for the opposition, with some accusing her of meddling in state affairs as well.

Commenting on the West Australian report, PKR’s Badarul Hisham Saharin said: “The public is facing hardship due to the rising cost (of living). This regime has failed to address this and at the same time will possibly introduce taxes which will burden the public further.”

Barisan Nasional leaders are also fuming on the quiet.
“The PM and Umno claim that BN component parties are liabilities and so forth, but it is things like this which are the real danger,” said one component party leader, who declined to be named.

“Imagine how the people will feel when you have the government asking them to tighten their belts and this type of stories on lavish shopping sprees appear?” he added.

Najib’s delegation to Perth also included Deputy Minister of Information, Communications and Culture Maglin Dennis D’Cruz, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mashitah Ibrahim and PPP president M Kayveas.

State Director for CHOGM 2011 Richard Muirheand was reported as saying that shopping and leisure activities were arranged for delegates outside the CHOGM schedule.

Muhyiddin confused about language

He speaks about 'Bahasa Melayu' when he really means 'Bahasa Malaysia'.

Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has finally bared his fangs and prematurely declared that the teaching of Maths and Science in schools will be in Bahasa Melayu and no longer in English, as it has been conducted for the past decade or so.

He definitely means Bahasa Malaysia, not Bahasa Melayu, which is in the dustbin of history.

Bahasa Malaysia, a work in progress, is Bahasa Melayu plus local dialects and languages plus English.

Bahasa Melayu is an old Khmer dialect plus Sanskrit plus Pali plus Arabic. The Bahasa Melayu used as the bahasa kebangsaan (national language) in Malaysia is the Johor-Riau-Lingga dialect.

The Hindu missionaries made Bahasa Melayu the language of religion. From there, it went on to become the language of administration, education and trade in the islands of Southeast Asia. Hence, it became the lingua franca of the Malay Archipelago. The term “Malay Archipelago” is a reference to the language rather than to any ethnic group.

Bahasa Melayu fell on hard times with the coming of westerners, and in their wake, Chinese immigrants.

In the British territories of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, for example, English replaced Bahasa Melayu. The language of the Chinese took over in the retail, if not wholesale, sector in Southeast Asia and relegated Bahasa Melayu and other local languages to the marketplace. Even so, Chinese businessmen in Southeast Asia conducted all business correspondence in English.

Muhyiddin is right if he thinks that students have a right to get schooling in their own mother tongues. This is enshrined in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is actively promoted by Unesco.

However, he is dead wrong if he thinks that only those who habitually speak Bahasa Melayu have a right to get formal schooling in their mother tongue.

Bahasa Kebangsaan

Those who habitually speak English at home have a right as well to get schooling in that language.

And that goes as well for those who speak any number of other tongues at home in Malaysia, namely, Kadazandusun, Bajau, Suluk, Filipino, Bugis and Chinese in Sabah; Iban, Bidayuh, Melanau, Orang Ulu, Sarawak Malay and Chinese in Sarawak; Orang Asli, Thai, Portuguese, Bahasa Melayu, Tamil and Chinese in Peninsular Malaysia.

To bring all these people together, we have Bahasa Malaysia, which is not bahasa kebangsaan.

The Federal Constitution clearly states that Bahasa Melayu is the bahasa kebangsaan of Malaysia.

Unfortunately, that is not the end of the story. Bahasa Melayu is no longer used in the schools. Its role has been replaced by Bahasa Malaysia and is spoken only at home, especially in the kampungs in the southern parts of Peninsular Malaysia.

Again, when Muhyiddin talks about Maths and Science being taught in Bahasa Melayu, he is actually talking about Bahasa Malaysia which, as stated, is not the bahasa kebangsaan.

Those who claim that Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Malaysia are synonymous will then have to explain why Bahasa Indonesia is not synonymous with Bahasa Melayu. Bahasa Malaysia is not synonymous with Bahasa Indonesia either.

Bahasa Indonesia is Bahasa Melayu plus local dialects and languages plus Dutch plus English. The most widely spoken languages at home in Indonesia are Javanese and Sundanese. “Indonesia” is an Anglicised version of two Greek words, Indos (Indian) and nesos (Islands). The Greeks referred to the South Asian subcontinent as the Land of the Ind (Indus River) and hence India, the Anglicised form.

Another example is Filipino, which is Tagalog plus local dialects and languages plus Spanish plus English.

Kampung kids

If Muhyiddin is really serious about the kampung kids in Peninsular Malaysia getting schooling in Bahasa Melayu, the bahasa kebangsaan, he should stop passing off Bahasa Malaysia as Bahasa Melayu. Bahasa Malaysia only strikes a chord with those who are familiar with other local dialects and languages and English.

The kampung kids in Peninsular Malaysia are weak in English, and therefore, they will continue to be weak in Bahasa Malaysia. What they need is schooling in Bahasa Melayu.

Before Muhyiddin goes ahead with the teaching of Maths and Science in Bahasa Malaysia, he will have to explain why it is not being done in Bahasa Melayu, the bahasa kebangsaan.

He will also have to explain whether the Tamils, Chinese and others in Malaysia, including English speakers, will have the right to schooling in their mother tongues. If not, it will be yet another blot on the country’s human rights record and calls for intervention by the United Nations Security Council, United Nations General Assembly and Unesco.

The Bar Council of Malaya, the Sabah Law Association and the Sarawak Advocates Association should also state their stand on the issue of schooling in the mother tongue and on the issue of bahasa kebangsaan.

The ruling Barisan Nasional, supported by the opposition Pakatan Rakyat, can amend Article 152 of the Federal Constitution to state that Bahasa Malaysia is the bahasa kebangsaan of Malaysia.

However, this is easier said than done.

For starters, the Conference of Malay Rulers will have to be consulted.

For another, those who habitually speak Bahasa Melayu at home in southern Peninsular Malaysia will not take too kindly to their mother tongue being dropped as the bahasa kebangsaan.

The bottom line is that those who habitually speak Bahasa Melayu cannot be forced to study Maths and Science in Bahasa Malaysia. This is where the court should come in and put right a wrong.

All Malaysians have the right to get schooling in their mother tongues. This is a point which has been made time and again by Hindraf Makkal Sakthi and Chinese educationists.

University College London UCL : Anwar Came, Saw, Conquered

By Mariam Mokhtar
Looking at Anwar Ibrahim, the Opposition Leader, deliver his talk, one would never have guessed that he was hounded by the BN government, on a list of trumped-up charges as long as his arm.
He was witty and informative when engaging with the audience; brutal and incisive when mocking Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s administration.
NONEAnwar (right) recently gave a speech at University College London (UCL), entitled ‘The Struggle for Justice and Democracy in Malaysia’.
He won over the crowd, who were mainly Malaysians studying or working in England. Anwar has universal acclaim and the ‘mat salleh’ who were present can’t have attended just because they were curious to see the man whom BN has portrayed as a raving sex maniac, who can’t have enough of women, or men.
For a man whose private life has been paraded around the world with the farcical Sodomy I and II trials, and Sex Videos I and II, Anwar did not look like a condemned person.
With steely determination, he told the crowd that he has vowed to clear his name, restore his family’s reputation and defend his honour.
BN painted Anwar as a sexual deviant and lined people up to reveal sordid allegations about him. If true, then Anwar should have felt at home in Soho, the racy red light area with its gay bars, porn-shops and fallen women, close to UCL.
But a sexual lunatic he is not.
No compromise
Anwar who is famed for his skill as an orator, talked passionately about Pakatan’s policies, its budget and his vision of a Malaysia that will be shaped by its youth.
He was adamant that the new Malaysia should be governed with transparency, accountability, and where the corrupt would be punished. He offered no compromise on his party’s multiracial policy.
He told the students that they were responsible for determining Malaysia’s future. He said: “Everyone is born to be free. Freedom cannot be negotiated.”
He cajoled and persuaded them: “You must make a stand and exercise your rights….”
He challenged them: “You must learn to ask questions….”, and warned them that Najib’s administration feared the truth.
He criticised Najib’s performance at ‘prime minister’s question time’ in Parliament: “I asked him repeatedly, when the ISA will be abolished. I wanted an undertaking that GE-13 would not be conducted before reforms were implemented…. Najib simply smiled. He was unresponsive….. It was like having a dialogue with the deaf….. Why bother calling it ‘question time’?”
He questioned the conduct of parliamentarians when he quizzed BN about the fund meant to help poor farmers, which was pocketed by BN cronies: “There was a collective silence.”
mahathir responses to suaram report 02He castigated former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad (right), whom he has forgiven for sending him to jail: “He (Mahathir) levelled charges of sodomy against me because this is taboo with the rural Malays.”
He mocked the religious hypocrisy of the BN elite: “Mahathir’s son bought RM2.9 billion of San Miguel shares but one Malay girl had her life torn apart and was herself almost whipped for a glass of beer.”
With humility he told the audience: “You may listen to me and choose to agree or disagree with me. Or you can support Umno. It is your right. There is no denying it.”
And he injected a bit of comedy in his talk: “For 13 years, BN and the Malaysian media have hounded me, except for three days last Hari Raya…….I had a three day break when they focused on Mat Sabu of PAS.”
The Malaysians had travelled from the East Midlands, Shropshire and the North-East, and the majority were students, from colleges and universities in and around London. Expat Malaysians, concerned about the unpredictable political landscape, came to hear the latest developments.
The talk was at times depressing, particularly the part about BN being prepared to cheat, to ‘win’ GE-13. There remained one glimmer of hope; the large presence of Malay students in the audience.
For years, the Malaysian government actively discriminated against Malay students. A culture of fear was promoted by the Malaysian high commissions and embassies around the world.
Consequently, Malay students distanced themselves from such talks.
Malays are deliberately singled out by BN to keep them ignorant. To keep them from learning. And to keep them from being exposed to other cultures, races and thinking patterns.
Dangerous Malay
A knowledgeable Malay is dangerous. BN knows that a questioning Malay would ultimately lead to BN’s demise. One individual can be silenced. But many?
BN treats the Malay like a semi-literate and a slave. Its brainwashing technique has been perfected so that the Malay mind is trapped by his imaginary tempurung, wherever he is in the world.
If we want a better Malaysia, the Malays must be brought into the loop. If we want to progress as a nation the Malays must contribute and share the limelight.
Umno’s propaganda is based on fear and warns of a threat to Malay survival. BN claims Anwar will sell Malaysia to the non-Malays and that Pakatan is controlled by the Chinese.
What BN really meant was that their own survival was in danger.
The Malay elite is at liberty to be open-minded but he subjugates his poorer Malay cousin. The elite cream off the best in life, but leave others destitute.
In effect, Malaysia has been ‘stolen’ by its corrupt Malay leaders.
Warning letters
Informed sources allege that the modus operandi of the consulate officials is to warn Malaysian students to stay away from these ‘opposition’ lectures.
Sometimes, the Malaysian embassy sends out ‘warning’ letters. But as Anwar related, deans of Indonesian and American universities have cautioned the embassies, and threatened reprisals if this practice were to continue.
Some allege that agents of the government masquerade as students, to spy, as they move in student circles.
Most government scholarship holders are Malay, and many come from poor backgrounds. Only the brazen few or privately financed students will attend ‘opposition’ lectures.
The majority stay away for fear of losing their funding. They fear the shame of terminating their studies. They fear the wrath of their families. They fear rejection by the community. But most of all, they fear missing the best chance to lift themselves and their families from poverty for a better future.
Isn’t it ironical that students stay away because they fear BN’s long reach? This emphasises the significance of Anwar’s speech ‘The Struggle for Justice and Democracy in Malaysia’.
Anwar’s proclamation which rang in everyone’s ears was: “With your help, and given fair and clean elections, Pakatan will form the next government.”
Anwar’s talk was oversubscribed and the huge presence of students, including many Malays, is heartening.
Perhaps the culture of fear which the Malaysian government tried to export to student populations overseas is vaporising.
Perhaps Najib is not only losing his grip on the economy, but also on the students.
BN’s propaganda and emphasis on the sodomy trials, meant that many students were unaware that Anwar was once DPM or finance minister.
Anwar’s talk was an eye-opener and many students responded positively.
This generation of Malay youth wants a well-rounded education and refuses to be cowed by Putrajaya. Overseas, non-Malay students have never felt the crippling grip of the BN government.
Acquiring knowledge at universities around the world is one thing.
But learning to live with freedom of expression, where basic human rights are not denied and where university professors are not suspended or sent live bullets in their mail, is a shallow learning curve for Malaysian students.
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak’, this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.

Our school children as sacrificial lambs

school-chil2During the past year, there have been three controversies arising from regressive policy decisions of the Ministry of Education which have set our educational system backwards. The three controversies revolve around
  1. The teaching of Science and Mathematics for Fourth Form students in Bahasa Malaysia instead of English
  2. The use of the Interlok book as a compulsory text in the schools
  3. The decision to make history a compulsory subject as well as a pass requirement for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM)
All three – though simmering for some years now – are rapidly coming to a head during the tenure of the Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin as the Minister of Education.

The controversies are not over minor or insignificant issues in the national education system. They are not sparked off by politicians with an axe to grind or by groups wanting to score points against the minister. They do not relate to narrow communal interests nor are they espoused by extremist organizations having their own agendas.

Rather they are the concern of parents and educators from all communities at grassroots as well as at mainstream society level.

They involve important pedagogical principles and ultimately, they raise the key question of whether the future of our younger generation is being made the sacrificial lamb for narrow political and bureaucratic interests.

Upon their wise resolution will rest the ability of our school children to compete with the rest of the world as well as the knowledge that they receive at school which will shape their adult mindset and values.

PPSMI: Math and Science in English

In the case of the campaign led by the Parents Action Group for Education (PAGE), the Minister has not only refused to meet with PAGE leaders but has also stated that providing parents and students the choice to use English “will result in chaos in our educational system”.

There is an unfair attempt to beat down the campaigners and the over 100,000 online supporters by wild claims about the potential negative impact of a policy reversal. In fact, it is the Ministry’s policy decision to insist on Bahasa only that is causing chaos and even worst, condemning students – especially Malay students – to a bleak future in undermining their capacity and ability to progress in an English language-dominated global system.

Interlok: Crude and rude propaganda

In the case of Interlok, the Minister has similarly refused to meet with the campaign organizers led by National Interlok Action Team (NIAT), who have argued that the novel is unfit for use by schools even going by the standards and guidance on compulsory school texts issued by the ministry.

The clear danger that the Interlok book poses in heightening crude racial (and cultural) stereotyping, bias and prejudice and its threat to a harmonious communal understanding among our young has been completely ignored with the decision to proceed with the book as a text for the literature component in the SPM compulsory Bahasa Malaysia language paper.

The book’s biased understanding and unmitigated prejudice against minority races has already legitimized the name-calling of ‘Keling pariah’ and ‘Cina babi’ in our secondary schools, with several cases of bullying ending up not only at the discipline master’s door but in the local police station as well.

The stubborn and unreasonable position of the ministry has left the organizers, NIAT – now joined by over 60 other multiracial civil society organizations – no choice but to take their appeal directly to the rulers, and to intensify and make national the campaign to remove Interlok from the school texts.

History as a tool for brainwashing

With the history syllabus review that is currently taking place, it is not clear whether this is another whitewash and public relations exercise aimed at preserving the ‘ketuanan Melayu’ and Islamic orientation of history teaching or whether the Ministry is seriously embarking on a reform process that will see a balanced and representative history (both Malaysian and world) as the outcome, and with racial and religious bias and prejudice reduced to a minimum, if not eradicated from the syllabus and textbooks.

Meanwhile concerned parents, educators and civil society organizations are not holding their breath, or thinking that the swing of the pendulum back to a liberal, progressive and culturally balanced history education will happen naturally.

Over 10,000 signatories have signed a petition calling for reform of history education and the group, Campaign for a Truly Malaysian History or Kempen Sejarah Malaysia Sebenar (KemSMS) has been hard at work preparing and collating scholarly reports and articles for presentation to the authorities and public.

Parochial politician or principled leader 

In all of these developments, we have seen vacillation and procrastination by the Minister of Education rather than real and visionary leadership. Instead of ensuring that our national educational system can provide the right kind of educational knowledge and skills, Muhyiddin, and the bureaucratic-academic-political coalition of policy makers advising him and calling the shots, are burdening our school children with language handicaps and distorted views of the world, our society and themselves that will negatively impact the children and the country.

There is still time for the minister to reverse the two already announced policy decisions and to ensure that the history teaching reform process has substance and is not an exercise in futility.

For this to happen he has to reject the guidance from his out-of touch advisers and supporters and take a different tack on the three controversies. He must take heed of the public and professional feedback provided to which the Ministry has turned a deaf ear.

The choice is there for Muhyiddin to seal his reputation as a politician playing up to narrow and parochial interests or as a principled leader who has the best interests of our school children and their parents at heart. All stakeholders need to encourage him to make the right decisions that can help raise the quality of our educational system.

Court of Appeal: Section 15(5)(a) violates guarantee of freedom of speech

The Star

PUTRAJAYA: Section 15(5)(a) of the Universities and University Colle­ges Act 1971 (UUCA) which restricts students from expressing support or opposing any political party has been ruled unconstitutional.

In a landmark 2-1 majority decision, the Court of Appeal held that the provision was unreasonable and violated the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech.

The court said this yesterday in overturning a High Court decision on Sept 28 last year that Section 15(5)(a) fell within the public order and morality restrictions on freedom of speech as spelled out under Article 10(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution.

While Justices Hishamuddin Yunus and Linton Albert allowed the appeal, Justice Low Hop Bing, who chaired the panel, dissented.

Justice Low said the restriction was necessary to “prevent infiltration of political ideologies” among students who were “easily influenced” as it could affect the primary purpose of universities, that is, the pursuit of education.

The appeal was brought by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) then political science undergraduates Muhammad Hilman Id­­ham, Woon King Chai, Muhammad Ismail Aminuddin and Azlin Shafina Mohamad Adza who had faced disciplinary action for being present during the by-election campaign in Hulu Selangor parliamentary on April 24 last year.

Justice Hishamuddin said he failed to see how a student who expressed support for or against a political party could bring about an adverse effect on public order or morality.

Citing the activities a student could do at 21 – enter into contracts, marry, vote – he said it was irrational and an irony that the UUCA barred them from saying anything that could be construed as supporting or opposing a political party.

He said Section 15(5)(a) was “not only counter-productive but repressive in nature” as it impeded healthy development of the critical mind.

“Universities should be the breeding ground of reformers and thinkers, and not institutions to produce students trained as robots.”

Justice Linton held it was an “utter absurdity” that university or college students faced “the grim prospect of expulsion” because of their presence at a by-election.

Justice Low said the restrictions were to protect both the students and the institution’s interest as a matter of policy and therefore were reasonable.

He continued that those finding fault with the UUCA “have their remedy at the ballot box”.

Indians must be wary of Najib’s Nambikei & DAP’s Pseudo multiracialism

“Nambikei” is a word now frequently used by Prime Minister Datuk Sri najib Tun Razak. Najib first used nambikei at the 65th MIC General Assembly in August. Literally, nambikei means believe, trust, confidence and hope. After 54 years under Barisan Nasional – UMNO hegemony, Najib wants Indians to continue to place their nambikei in Najib and Barisan Nasional.

Nambikei as the the rallying call of Najib has become important because in the 2008 General Election, Indians for once had the gumption and the cojonnes to abandon Barisan Nasional. For once, Indians braved and cut their umbilical cord with MIC.

With almost 850,000 Indian voters, 70 % of them living and voting in 50 parliamentary constituencies where Indians form as much as 20% of the voters, nambikei takes a greater importance not only for Najib but importantly for the survival of Barisan Nasional.

From the regular stage managed appearances at Indian events, to the cheerful announcement by Najib that he loves thosai and murrukus, granting 1642 citizenship to Indians (wonder how many Indonesians became citizens during the same period these 1642 Indians were waiting for the citizenship), formation of a task force to look into the problems faced by the Indian community ( after 54 years ) does not hide the fact that Najib and Barisan Nasional is desperate to regain the Indian votes. Indians must not be hoodwinked by the sudden benevolences by Najib and Barisan Nasional.

If Najib and Barisan Nasional has “found” Indians, it is all because of general election 2008 and the rise and effect of Pakatan Rakyat. Najib and Barisan Nasional realize that their survival in the next general election depends on Indian voters and their votes, thus the nambikei cry from Najib.

For more than 50 years, Indians had placed their nambikei in Barisan Nasional. Indians became Barisan Nasional’s fixed deposit. Alas, the gains never reflected the deposit. The Indian community gave so much and gained so little, progressed so little but only to be mired in a quagmire.

Indians must never make the mistake of the past but realize that any small measures now by the Barisan Nasional government is the a result of what the community collectively did in 2008. Some Indians may lament that nothing much has changed for the Indians even under Pakatan Rakyat, but Pakatan Rakyat has only been around for 4 years and is a work in progress as compared to 54 years of Barisan Nasional. Still, in the four short years of Pakatan Rakyat, Indians have benefitted much. For a change, with Pakatan Rakyat, it is Barisan Nasional that is desperate in seeking Indians. Thus, this is is not a time to abandon Pakatan Rakyat, for to believe in the nambikei is a return to Barisan Nasional, which may only mean the return to the status quo – Indians being ignored !

Indians, instead must make the nambikei-man to redress and correct the injustices of 54 years by Barisan Nasional against Indians.

Interlok: Niat to petition the Agong, rulers

After 10 months and 56 letters or memoranda to the government, a movement seeking to withdraw the novel ‘Interlok’ from school use is heading to the palace.

NONENiat head Thasleem Ibrahim (right) said the group plans to submit a petition to the Agong, as well as the rulers of Selangor and Negri Sembilan, to seek royal intervention to have the SPM Malay literature textbook withdrawn.

Thasleem told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday that copies of the petition will be sent to the premier and his deputy, and that its contents would be made public in due course.

Also present was Lim Teck Ghee, who heads the Centre for Policy Issues. He said the issue is a Malaysian one, as the education system is multiracial and multi-cultural in scope.

"This book is unfit for use as a text book as it is biased, racial and harmful to the students and the society at large,” he said.

"Objections to its use have been raised by educators, students and others, and calls (have been) made for its withdrawal. (All) appeals to officials for its withdrawal have been rebuffed.

sultan mizan zainal abidin the new agong agung king"Now (the issue) has been moved to the national stage. A petition to the Agong is a serious matter and this will not be our last effort to remove the book.”

Stressing repeatedly that the issue is not a matter concerning only the Indians, Thasleem claimed that more Chinese, Malay and Muslim NGOs have come forward to support the demand for the withdrawal of the book.

"We have NGOs from Sabah and Sarawak also supporting the move", he said.

The petition will be submitted to the Agong at 11am on Nov 12; to the Selangor sultan on Nov 19; and to the Negri Sembilan ruler on Nov 26.

Students in dilemma

Another Niat leader, Bala Tharmalingam, said some schools have been given the amended version of the book, while others are using the original version.

Questions for the SPM paper had been set some six months ago based on the original version of ‘Interlok’. The examination will start on Nov 14.

“How will students who have been given the amended version answer questions based on the original version? They are in a dilemma, aren't they?" Bala asked.

Lim suggested that parents and teachers should prepare themselves adequately to advise the students to choose the best options available from the questions given.

Three Buddhists slain by Muslim insurgents in Narathiwat

Narathiwat - Three Buddhists were shot dead by Muslim insurgents inside a grocery store in Narathiwat Sunday.

Police said four insurgents arrived on two motorcycles and pretended to buy goods and petrol from the store, which also sells petrol, and shot the three at point blank.

Malee Masi, 49, was shot dead in front of her 8-year-old son, who was found by police as hugging the body of his mother crying when police arrived at the scene.

Srithong Masi, Malee's father-in-law, 75, was shot at his head while he was about to fill up the petrol for one of the motorcycles.

Thirapong Saelim, 42, a customer, was also shot at his head.

-The Nation

Jingga 13 lodge police report against MCA Chief's hudud remarks

Making another pitch for PPSMI

In its third memorandum to the prime minister, PAGE provides evidence of the PPSMI's success and appeals that the issue stop being politicised.

PETALING JAYA: The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) today submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in a fortified attempt to halt the abolishment of the Teaching and Learning of Science and Maths in English (PPSMI).

Also included in the memorandum were Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, secretary-general Rosli Mohamed in the Education Ministry, ministers in the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) as well as National Key Economic Area (NKEA) education director Tengku Azian Shahriman.

The PPSMI controversy has been raging for the past two years since Muhyiddin announced its replacement with another policy of upholding the Malay language and strenghtening the command of English (MBMMBI).

The uproar sparked by the policy reversal has continued to this day with even students now joining in the protests.

Yesterday, Muhyiddin confirmed that students will not be able to choose between English or Malay as the medium of instruction for the learning of Science and Maths.

In its third memorandum to Najib since its formation, PAGE pointed out that evidence of the PPSMI’s success could be seen in the UPSR, PMR and SPM results over the years.

“The highest passing rate in Science and Maths was in 2007 while the lowest was in 2001 before the PPSMI was implemented,” said PAGE chairman, Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim.

“The highest passing rate in English was recorded in 2008 while there have been no signs of any adverse effect on the passing rate in Bahasa Malaysia.”

False accusations

The memorandum was further accompanied by figures and charts which also showed a marked improvement in the performance in Science and Maths among rural students.

PAGE noted that these findings have debunked the government’s claim that the PPSMI had weakened the performance of students in these areas as compared to their urban peers.

“PPSMI has not only boosted the level of English but also the performance of students in rural areas,”

Azimah emphasied. “The false accusations of extremist groups must be halted because their assumptions will only jeopardise the dignity of our race and country.”

Azimah reminded the government that the PPSMI Facebook page had garnered over 100,00 supporters while 56,000 more had signed a petition in the last two weeks.

Research conducted by PAGE’s newest partner, Jaring Melayu Muda (JMM), also showed that 55% of parents and 79% of students surveyed in rural areas are in favour of the PPSMI so as to enjoy the same future opportunities as those in the urban areas.

Azimah also warned that the students’ aspirations should not be clouded by the agendas of those who do not play a role in a child’s education.

“The Gabungan Mansuhkan PPSMI (GMP) has intensified its harping on this issue lately because they want to enjoy the votes of those who are against PPSMI both in the urban and rural areas,” she stated.

“If its mission succeeds, it will not lose anything but the government will lose the support of parents who are in favour of the PPSMI.”

Azimah added that parents are still holding out that the government would reconsider the reversal and urged that the issue should not be used for political mileage.

“Otherwise it will be the end of our children’s chance to be given the best possible education  from our country’s education system,” she said. “Return PPSMI to us for the sake of our children and nation.”

PPSMI: PAGE rayu PM campur tangan

Kajian itu menunjukkan 66 peratus ibu bapa merasakan PPSMI adalah dasar yang baik untuk menentukan masa depan anak mereka.

PETALING JAYA: Persatuan Ibu Bapa Untuk Pendidikan Malaysia (PAGE) memohon Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak campur tangan dalam isu pemansuhan dasar Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris (PPSMI).

Pengerusi PAGE Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim mempertahankan kajian yang dibuat oleh Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) dan mengatakan bahawa 39 peratus pelajar dan 55 peratus ibu bapa di luar bandar mahu PPSMI diteruskan.

Menurut beliau, kajian itu menunjukkan 66 peratus ibu bapa merasakan PPSMI adalah dasar yang baik untuk menentukan masa depan anak mereka.

Noor Azimah menggesa agar kerajaan menarik balik keputusan pemansuhan PPSMI memandangkan keputusan Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) dan Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) menunjukkan PPSMI sebagai satu dasar yang baik untuk pelajar di bandar mahupun luar bandar.

Beliau yang dihubungi FMT berkata memorandum itu juga akan diserahkan kepada Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin dan Pegawai Eksekutif Unit Penyampaian dan Pengurusan Prestasi (Pemandu) Datuk Seri Idris Jala.

“Kita memohon dan terus merayu kepada Perdana Menteri agar mempertimbangkan kembali keputusan yang telah diputuskan. Kita akan menunggu maklum balas tersebut sekembalinya beliau dari Mekah.

“Ibu bapa masih berharap kerajaan akan meneruskan dasar PPSMI diteruskan di sekolah bagi membolehkan anak mereka bersaing di peringkat global.

“Tolonglah jangan mengusung isu PPSMI ini digelanggang ‘tarik tali’ politik…..nahaslah peluang anak kita yang sekadar mahukan sistem pengajaran terbaik dalam sistem pendidikan di negara ini,” katanya ketika dihubungi FMT.

Muhyiddin pada Sabtu lalu berkata berkata sistem pendidikan negara ini akan kucar-kacir jika kerajaan membenarkan pemilihan bahasa pengantar sama ada Bahasa Melayu ataupun bahasa Inggeris maka pemansuhan PPSMI ini harus dihormati dan diterima baik oleh semua pihak.

Tiada demo jalanan

Noor Azimah turut menafikan bahawa demonstrasi jalanan dirancang sekiranya keputusan tersebut tidak memihak kepada mereka.

Katanya, walaupun ini pendekatan terakhir dengan bertemu Perdana Menteri, namun kumpulan ibu bapa ini tiada sebarang kepentingan politik sehingga membawa hal itu kepada satu demonstrasi jalanan.

“Setakat ini tiada sebarang demonstrasi jalanan akan diadakan. Kita ibu bapa masih ikut undang-undang dan kami tiada sebarang kepentingan politik. Namun usaha dan hasrat kami agar Perdana Menteri segera menyelesaikan hal ini sebelum terlambat.

“Akan tetapi jika pemimpin politik mahu menyatakan pendirian menyokong, kami tiada halangan. Malah pandangan saya sebelum ini bahawa undi kami akan beralih kepada pembangkang bukannya ugutan. Tapi ia sebagai peringatan sahaja,” katanya.

Sementara itu, Noor Azimah berkata setakat hari ini PAGE menerima sokongan lebih daripada 104,000 orang dalam laman sosial facebook.

Ujar beliau, pelbagai pendekatan yang diutarakan oleh ibu bapa yang menyokong pembelajaran menggunakan Bahasa Inggeris seperti contoh petisyen melalui portal PAGE yang kini mencecah 40,000 orang.

“PM juga perlu pertimbangkan sokongan ibu bapa ke atas kajian JMM dengan 7,000 menyokong malah melalui blog chedet menerima sokongan daripada 86,000 orang,” jelasnya.

Katanya, satu perkelahan keluarga akan diadakan di beberapa negeri seperti Sabah, Pulau Pinang, Melaka, Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur agar ibu bapa dan anak-anak diberi peluang memberikan pandangan berhubung isu ini.

Overseas Malaysians file suit against Election Commission

A group of Malaysian citizens overseas has filed a lawsuit against the Election Commission (EC) asking the High Court to compel the EC to register them as absent voters. The group of six Malaysians, who all work in the UK, applied to be registered as absent voters in order to be able to vote in the coming general election, but were instead registered by the EC as ordinary voters, who must return to Malaysia to vote in person.
At present, the EC only allows government servants, members of any armed forces and full-time students to register as absent voters, so as to be entitled to vote by post at the next election. The bulk of Malaysian citizens living overseas, who are working in the private sector, and those who are retired or unemployed, are required to return to Malaysia to vote in person.
In addition, although the existing regulations allow all Malaysian students over the age of 21 to register as absent voters, Malaysian students overseas who have attempted to register have had to overcome many obstacles put in their way, with some embassies and consulates refusing to register students who were not sponsored by the government, and others refusing to register students who had previously registered as ordinary voters at home. Although the EC has clarified that all students are eligible to register as absent voters, as recently as this month, the Malaysian consulate in New York was still telling students that only government scholars could register as absent voters.
Dr Teo Hoon Seong, one of the litigants, said:
“I believe that the right to vote is the fundamental cornerstone of democracy. It is the absolute duty of government to ensure that each and every citizen is treated equally within the law in a manner which allows them to exercise this right.
The lawsuit, which was filed at the KL High Court on Tuesday and served on the Attorney-General and the EC on Friday afternoon, is based on Articles 8, 10 and 119 of the Federal Constitution, and is supported by the MyOverseasVote campaign for voting rights for an estimated 700,000 to 1 million Malaysian citizens who live and work overseas, and follows in the wake of the Global Bersih 2.0 movement, where Malaysians around the world turned out on 9 July 2011 to support clean and fair elections in Malaysia and to demand voting rights for Malaysians overseas.
A MyOverseasVote spokesman said:
“The extraordinary thing about the current regulations is that a Malaysian serving in the Israeli army would be entitled to vote in the next Malaysian general election as an absent voter, but a Malaysian who works overseas for Petronas, which contributes 40% of Malaysian government revenue, would not”
Dr Teo added:
“To say that only certain groups of citizens are allowed the postal ballot is a nonsense that amounts to outright discrimination against the others who aren’t. There are nearly a million Malaysians living overseas. Re-enfranchise them now and give them their rights,”
Although the EC Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof, announced on 25 August 2011 that all Malaysians overseas would be allowed to vote by post, the EC has recently clarified to MyOverseasVote that the EC Chairman had never promised that the EC would do so before the next general election. Two months after the announcement was made, the EC has still taken no action to enable Malaysians overseas even to begin the process of registering as absent voters, which usually takes 3-6 months. Overseas Malaysians are increasingly worried that the 13th General Election will come and go while they continue to be deprived of their constitutional right to vote.
As the MyOverseasVote spokesman explained:
“Few Malaysians working in the private sector are able to take a few weeks off work and to organise flights to return to Malaysia at short notice. And even if they could, it is improbable that all 1 million of them could book flights to return to Malaysia at the same time. And why should they have to, when the EC is already organising diplomatic pouches to send postal ballots to Malaysian embassies and consulates in London, Sydney, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, etc., to enable government servants and students to vote?”
Dr Teo called for other overseas Malaysians to contribute to MyOverseasVote’s campaign at, concluding:
“It’s time for us to be allowed a stake in our countries future. I want all Malaysians to remember this: the government works for us, not the other way round.”
The lawsuit filed last week seeks to compel the EC to register the six litigants as absent voters and to compel the EC to amend its regulations within 14 days to allow Malaysians overseas to apply to be registered as absent voters. The KL High Court will decide on 14 November 2011 whether to grant permission for the judicial review to proceed.

Rosmah Mansor beli mutiara $150,000 di Perth, Australia

ISTERI Perdana Menteri, Rosmah Mansor yang diketahui umum sebagai seorang yang boros dan gemar bermewah-mewahan dengan pelbagai barangan mahal, kali ini kantoi lagi.
Sewaktu mengikuti suaminya Najib Razak ke persidangan negara-negara komenwel, CHOGM di Perth Australia, menurut Akhbar The West Australia, Rosmah Mansor dilaporkan telah membeli sejumlah mutiara bernilai $150,000 (RM387,888).
Malah anak perempuannya juga turut berbelanja sakan di David Jones sehingga $60,000 (RM193,944).

BERNAMA - Using Manpower Contractors Aimed At Protecting Workers' Rights - Subramaniam

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 (Bernama) -- The government's move of creating manpower contractors to provide workers for employers under the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2011, is aimed at protecting workers' rights.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said it was not to institutionalise the system.

"As a control mechanism, the government through Section 2A of the Employment Act 1955 will formulate regulations specifically to list out the types of work now allowed through the hiring of manpower contractors to ensure the workers' welfare would be protected and to avoid manipulation by any quarters.

"This matter has been discussed with employers and workers' unions, and the feedback has been positive," he said after a dinner function with media representatives, here, tonight.

Dr Subramaniam said the employers' representatives had in fact admitted that improvements were necessary to prevent malpractices by irresponsible quarters.

He said workers salaried through the manpower contractors could also join the workers' union at their workplace as there was no legal provision to prevent them from doing so.

"At the same time, the workers are also bound by the collective agreement agreed upon by the employer and union they have joined."

For example, he said, there was agreement between the Malayan Agricultural Producers Association (MAPA) and National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW) to cover workers supplied by the manpower contractors.

"For this, the proposed amendment is management transformation to protect the rights and welfare of the workers and does not at all adversely affect the security of tenure or the future activities of workers' unions in this country."

Dr Subramaniam said the bill also provided benefits such as more maternity leave for women workers regardless of the wage limit, tackling sexual harassment, payment of wages through bank accounts, Hari Malaysia as compulsory public holiday and extending the Employment Act coverage to those workers earning RM2,000 monthly compared to RM1,500 previously.

On the picket planned by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) at 16 locations nationwide on Nov 3 in protest against the amendments to the Employment Act 1955, he said the MTUC should follow the regulations and conduct the protest peacefully.

The bill was passed in the Dewan Rakyat on Oct 6.

Horrific Halloween train-fuel tanker collision near KK Airport (updated)

A huge dark plume billowed from a fiery explosion near the Kota Kinabalu Airport after a fuel lorry tanker crashed into a train in front of a petrol station. 

“The plume of smoke was something you would only see in the movies,” a motorist, about 100 metres from the scene, told me after the explosion rocked the area at around 5.35pm. He had been stuck in the jam for over 90 minutes.
At least five ambulances have raced to the scene. Red Crescent ambulances and Civil Defence Rescue trucks, sirens wailing, have also responded. The motorist said he heard unconfirmed reports that 18 people could have perished. I stress this is unconfirmed. The Star reported that eight people have been hurt, and 34 of the 200 passengers could not be traced, but police have ascertained, as of 7.45pm, that no one else was inside the wrecked carriages. So far, no one has been reported dead. A more detailed search is being carried out.
The railway track runs parallel to the road on one side while the runway is on the other side.
The collision occurred close to the Jalan Kepayan-Jalan Lintas junction in front of a Shell petrol station near the airport.
From the video, you can see that the railway line runs in between the road and the petrol station, and the crossing to get into the petrol station from the road is unmanned with no gates or barriers, said the motorist. The Star report refers to it as an “unmanned crossing”. The train collided with the lorry tanker, laden with 27000 litres of fuel, as it entered the petrol station to make a delivery.

A loaded fuel tanker driving away from kota kinabalu centre was involved in a traffic accident which made it swerve into a passenger train right outside the terminal1 international airport mayhem followed as the brave firemen tried in vain to put out this ever worst-en fire. There efforts where made harder with no fire hydrant in the near facility thus NO water the airport fire engines took some time to arrive but when they did they could only dampen the growing fire when the second airport engine arrived they got this under control …. what you cannot see in the film is the brave firemen on the other side of the train trying to help the injured and control the now burning train.
Grey clouds in an overcast sky contributed to the lower visibility, just before rain fell an hour later at around 6.45pm. The dark grey plumes matched the darkening clouds, adding to the grim, sombre atmosphere.
The motorist mentioned earlier said that small unmanned crossings without barrier gates are common in Kota Kinabalu. The bigger crossings have barrier gates.
But he noticed that barriers at a railway crossing at the intersection near the Kepayan Police Station didn’t seem to be operating. Whenever a train was about to cross, a safety cone would be placed on the road, and there would be a railway staff standing and waving vehicles to a stop.
It would be difficult to see this in poor light, said the motorist, who added he almost rammed into the railway staff once. The motorist said that he had faxed a letter to a local newspaper pointing this out. “What is the point of having barriers if you don’t use it?” he had asked in the letter. The letter was not published.
He added that he had seen other crossings in the area where the barriers were also not operating. Street lighting in Jalan Lintas was also poorly maintained, he complained.
I got in touch with Hiew King Cheu, the MP for Kota Kinabalu.
“This is definitely the fault of the government,” he said.
Hiew said he had raised the matter of the “accident-prone” Tanjung Aru-Kinarut railway line in Parliament a couple of years ago, when he asked for the 6-7 mile stretch to be closed and the railway station relocated from Tanjung Aru to Kinarut.
In any case, this short stretch is hardly used by commuters. The DAP MP added there were about 50 crossings along this stretch and most of these were unmanned without autogates. A number of accidents have occurred along this short stretch over the years, he noted.
In view of the poor safety precautions at such railway crossings, more accidents could be waiting to happen.