Archive for November 16th, 2007

RM70 m Brickendonbury Sports complex – bury idea and probe why RM2 million wasted

Now that the British East Herts Council had rejected the Malaysian government’s application to establish a RM70 million Sports High-Performance Training Centre (HPTC) at the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TARRC) in Brickendonbury outside London, the siren proposal to appeal against the decision must be decisively resisted and struck down.

The Cabinet next Wednesday should just bury the idea of the RM70 million Brickendonbury Sports HPTC and establish an inquiry to ascertain who were responsible for the folly of wasting RM2 million in pursuing the project and who had really benefited.

The Council had publicly said that the Malaysian government had been consistently advised of the constraints in developing the Brickendonbury site due to the Green Belt policy, the site’s remoteness, the listed mansion and the historic park land. The Council had been doubtful about how outdoor sports facilities would assimilate satisfactorily and be accommodated within the historic garden landscape.

Why then was the Sports Minister, Datuk Azalina Othman and the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Sports, so stubborn in ignoring these objections to the extent of throwing RM2 million of public funds down the drain, when good governance and good sense would have advised against it? Read the rest of this entry »


Raja Nazrain very good choice as Chairman of RCI to restore confidence in judiciary

From the statement by the Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim that the government was open to the possibility of setting up a royal commission on the “Lingam” videoclip, it is evident that there is a significant momentum which will make any failure to establish such a Royal Commission of Inquiry a direct, personal and major crisis of confidence for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Early this month, when I told Parliament that I had seen and vouched for the existence of the second part of the 14-minute Lingam Tape, before Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim released another 10 seconds of the six-minute portion which had been withheld from the public so far, there was no surprise, astonishment or demand from the government or Haidar Panel that I reveal the details or the source.

This could only mean that by that time, all those involved in authority knew that the Lingam Tape was genuine and that any attempt to deny or ignore it would be at their grave personal peril in terms of public credibility and integrity. Read the rest of this entry »


Recognition of universities – Mustapha’s very strange request to Chinese govt

The request by the Higher Education Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamed, currently on a seven-day visit to China to promote Malaysia as an educational hub and to strengthen ties with some of the top Chinese universities, makes for strange reading.

Mustapha wants the Chinese government to recognize more Malaysian universities and colleges.

At present, China only recognizes 50 institutions in the public and private sector in Malaysia when their total numbers more than 500.

Mustapha wants more of our educational institutions to be recognized by the Chinese government for obvious reasons. Students from China form the second largest number of foreign students in the country after Indonesia and the Higher Education Ministry is marketing Malaysia aggressively to lure more Chinese students to Malaysia.

There is nothing wrong with such objective or marketing but Mustapha’s request is nonetheless very strange and extraordinary.

Firstly, it has come as news as well as shocker too to Malaysians that the Chinese government has recognized 7 IPTAs (public institutions of higher learning) and 43 IPTSs (private institutions) for two reasons:

  • The Chinese government recognizing more Malaysian universities and colleges than the Chinese universities and colleges recognized by the Malaysian government, although many Chinese universities are internationally recognized for their academic merit and excellence while Malaysian universities have disappeared from the international radar of academic excellence as well as the vast difference in numbers of educational institutions between the two countries.
  • When China recognizes 43 IPTS and only 7 IPTAs, it is a clear and indisputable sign that the IPTAs, despite their head-starts and public funding, have been overtaken bhy IPTSs in terms of international recognition of academic excellence and repute.

In the recently-released World’s 2007 Times Higher Education Supplement (THES)-Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World Top 200 University Rankings, six Chinese universities made into the Top 200 list while Malaysian universities had been suffering free fall in international rankings in recent years, with not a single one making into the prestigious 200 Top ranking. Read the rest of this entry »


Yet another book banned

by Zainah Anwar

We have just been alerted to another round of book bannings by the Book Censhorhip DIvision of the INternal Security Ministry.

This time it includes a very important book by a very progressive religious scholar from Indonesia, Kyai Hussein Muhammad who runs a pesantren in Cirebon and sits on the Women’s Commission, appointed by the President of Indonesia.

This is really disgraceful as the govt is sending out the message that anything written about equality and justice for women in Islam is considered a threat to national security!

And yet the PM goes on and on talking about a rational and progressive Islam that is open to reinterpretation to meet the challenge of change; the 9th Malaysia Plan and the cabinet committee on gender equality has set a minimum quota of 30%women in decision making positions, Islam Hadhari promises to eliminate injustice agianst women – are these all empty words?

SIS has translated Kyai Hussein’s book into BM as we find it most useful to help Muslims understand that Islam stands for justice and equality and there is much within the tradition that is progressive and supportive of women’s rights.

The version banned is the original Indonesian version. I do hope you and your colleagues would be able to raise this issue in Parliament