Archive for November 3rd, 2008

Three Higher Education Ministers in 4 years while universities continue plunge in international rankings and losing out to Indonesia after left behind by Singapore/Thailand

Three Higher Education Ministers in four years while Malaysian universities continue the plunge in international university rankings – this is the second consecutive year Malaysia is excluded from the Times Higher Education Supplement’s (THES-QS) World’s Top 200 Universities.

Are these two matters inter-related?

This is the question I posed to the third Higher Education Minister in four years, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin in Parliament this morning when he replied during the winding-up of the 2009 Budget debate, but as expected, he could not throw any light on the conundrum.

It is a sad reflection of the “paradigm shift” in university quality and excellence in Malaysia that while the first two Higher Education Ministers (Datuk Dr. Shafie Salleh and Datuk Dr. Mustapha Mohamed) talked about how to defend Malaysian university rankings in the Top 200 World Universities, Khaled spoke with pride this morning at the inclusion of Malaysian universities in the Top 500 world universities! Read the rest of this entry »


Are Nuris “flying coffins”?

Are Nuris “flying coffins”? If not, why not just upgrade them for a few hundred million ringgit, a small fraction of the cost as compared to the billion-ringgit purchase of Cougar EC725 Eurocopters, which are 40-year-old Cougars in any event?

This is one important question which the Public Accounts Committee should probe, answer and report to Parliament by before the end of the month in its current inquiry into the billion-ringgit Cougar EC725 Eurocopter deal fiasco.

The Deputy Defence Minister, Datuk Abu Seman Yusop, in his winding-up on behalf of the Defence Ministry in the 2009 Budget debate on Thursday, was not only unable to rebut allegations concerning very grave issues about propriety, accountability and professionalism in the decision-making process in the tender for the helicopters to replace the Nuris , but reinforced concerns of unprofessional and below-par leadership running the Defence Ministry.

This raises the even more vital question whether Malaysian defence and security as well as the lives and welfare of the armed services personnel are really in safe and trustworthy hands and the topmost priority of those in the highest echelons of the Defence Ministry.

This is apparent from the video (embedded below) of the parliamentary grilling of Abu Seman by Pakatan Rakyat MPs in Parliament on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »


Irene Fernandez: The Best or Worst of Malaysia?

by Suzette Standring
November 2008
Huffington Post

It is a textbook case of laws being used to crush critics of governmental operations. Malaysia may be 9,296 miles from the United States, but the theme of authorities seeking to silence protest is a universal one. Thus when such a bell tolls, it can toll for thee.

The criminal appeal of Irene Fernandez, age 62, begins (Oct. 28-30) at the Criminal High Court in Kuala Lumpur. It is the longest running legal attempt in Malaysian history to punish a bearer of bad news. In August 1995, Fernandez made public her report, Abuses, Torture and Dehumanised Treatment of Migrant Workers at Detention Centres. It was based on interviews with 300 detainees, each of whom Fernandez spoke with in her role as director and co-founder of Tenaganita, a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Kuala Lumpur that has worked to protect the rights of foreign workers since 1991.

She gave voice to bloodied and abused immigrants held in centers pending deportation. Unspeakable filth, dehydration and rape of children were part of her documented report. In 2003 she was convicted of “maliciously publishing false news,” under Section 8A(2) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (1984) – even though the Malaysian government did admit to 46 detention-center related deaths. Read the rest of this entry »