Archive for October 17th, 2011

Race quotas, politics led to falling UM standards, says World Bank study

by Leslie Lau
Executive Editor
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 17, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 — A World Bank publication has found that standards at Universiti Malaya have fallen and the institution has been kept at a disadvantage because of race-based admission quotas and political interference in university management.

In contrast, Singapore’s decision to prioritise research, keeping English as the medium of instruction and a merit-based admissions policy have all contributed to the success of the National University of Singapore’s success, according to “The Road to Academic Excellence,” which studies what contributes to a world-class research university.

The study also noted that Malaysian secondary school students are not well prepared for tertiary education.

It points out that the Malaysian education system promotes rote learning, conformity and uniformity rather than fresh and creative thinking. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysian confidence dives as global recovery ends, says survey

By Lee Wei Lian
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 17, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 — The largest-ever global survey of finance professionals by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) shows that all signs of the global economic recovery have disappeared.

The confidence level in Malaysia also deteriorated markedly in the survey as out of 222 finance professionals who responded in Malaysia, only eight per cent reported confidence gains, down from 20 per cent in the last quarter, and 77 per cent believe the global economy is either stagnating or deteriorating compared with 54 per cent.

In terms of the global outlook, three-quarters of the 2,873 professionals who took part in the Global Economic Conditions Survey between August 19 and September 7, 2011 thought global economic conditions were deteriorating or stagnating.

The ACCA’s global business confidence index returned a reading of -34 for the third quarter of 2011, down from -8 in the previous quarter.

It said that based on past observations, a reading lower than -14 should indicate that the developed world is slipping into negative growth. Read the rest of this entry »

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Save Kampung Tambatuon

In May this year I visited Kampung Tambatuon at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu and which will be totally drowned in a proposed RM450 million Tambatuon Dam project.

Although the proposed Tambatuon Dam had been mooted for two years, there had been no proper and full consultation by the relevant authorities, including the MP for Kota Belud, who has become the strongest advocate for the Dam project, with the people who would be directly affected with the destruction of their traditional habitat and way of life.

The people of Kampung Tambatuon and concerned communities have protested to the various state authorities against the proposed Tambatuon Dam project. Read the rest of this entry »


5 transformation measures for Malaysia

Proposals which would have given meaning to 2012 Budget as a National Transformation Policy

The theme of of the 2012 Budget is: “National Transformation Policy: Welfare for the Rakyat, Wellbeing of the Nation.”

It is supposed to be a very important budget as it is open up a new decade of National Transformation Policy or DTN effective from 2011 to 2020 when Malaysia is to become developed and high-income nation.

The National Transformation Policy is the final lap of development policies starting with the New Economic Policy 1971-1990, National Development Policy 1991-2000 and the national Vision Policy 2001-2010.

But is there “transformational” in the 2012 Budget which is to usher in a decade of transformation in Malaysia? I can’t find anything transformational or even visionary at all. Read the rest of this entry »


Judicial tribunal for AG and Ct of Appeal judge

b) Judicial tribunal into serious allegations of graft and abuse of power against Attorney-General Abdul Ghani Patail

In the past few months, many serious allegations of graft and abuse of power had been made against the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail notably by the former Kuala Lumpur CID Chief Mat Zain Ibrahim in a series of open letters, former MACC panel member Tan Sri Robert Phang and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

These allegations included falsifying facts and evidence in Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s infamous “black eye” incident in 1998, the graft case against Shahidan Shafie and the judicial abuses in the Altantunya Shaaribuu murder trial.

Unless Gani Patail take legal action against these allegations, the Prime Minister should set up a tribunal to clear the name of the Attorney-General as these are very serious allegations which if unrebutted can only undermine public confidence in the professionalism, independence and integrity of the Attorney-General but also key national institutions, including the judiciary, the police and the MACC. Read the rest of this entry »

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Teoh Beng Hock and Sarbaini – victims of MACC

3. Continued degradation instead of restoration of independence, professionalism and integrity of key national institutions in the country.

(a) Great flaw of TBH RCI report – failure to affix responsibility for TBH’s death on MACC despite evidence galore

The Teoh Beng Hock Royal Commission of Inquiry did not contribute to the restoration of public confidence in the independence, professionalism and integrity of key national institutions but their continued degradation.

A great flaw of the Teoh Beng Hock (TBH) Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) report is its failure to affix responsibility for Beng Hock’s death on the MACC although there were evidence galore before the RCI proceedings.

It was not just persons, namely various MACC officers led by Hishammuddin Hashim the then Selangor MACC Deputy Director and the “mastermind” of the illegal and massive 33-officer MACC “operation”, who must bear responsibility for Beng Hock’s death but also the institution of MACC as well. Read the rest of this entry »


Political ploy or genuine democratisation?

2. The undemocratic clampdown on July 9 peaceful Bersih 2.0 rally for fair, free and clean elections.

Democratic and political transformation must be furthest from the mind of a government which could mount the undemocratic clampdown on the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally for free, fair and clean elections, launching mass arrests, locking down the Federal Capital and irresponsibly, indiscriminately and recklessly firing tear gas and chemically-laced water cannon at peaceful and patriotic demonstrators, including Pakatan Rakyat and Bersih 2.0 leaders.

The weeks before and after the historic Bersih 2.0 rally were undoubtedly the worst period for Datuk Seri Najib Razak since becoming the sixth Malaysian Prime Minister 27 months ago in April 2009 – his greatest failure of leadership which made him the object of ridicule and scorn not only in the country but also internationally, and forcing him to cut short his overseas trip.

Are Malaysians to believe that it was during this period that Najib had a sudden change of heart as to be converted to the agenda to democratisation and political transformation resulting in the establishment of the Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms and the announcements on the repeal or amendment of repressive undemocratic laws like the Internal Security Act? Read the rest of this entry »


Why Malaysian universities fallen so low in international rankings?

Is Malaysia on the cusp of a major national transformation to restore national unity, achieve excellence and regain international competitiveness after the slew of policy initiatives, like the “1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now” and the impementation of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) with seven National Key Result Areas (NKRAs), Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) with 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs), the New Economic Model with eight Strategic Reform Initiatives (SRIs), and latest the Political Transformation Programme to repeal and reform undemocratic laws?

We are still very far from it and the following events and incidents in the past few weeks and months are salutary reminders of this solemn fact that we still have a very long way to go to have any transformational mindset and mentality, viz:

1. Exclusion of Malaysian universities from Times Higher Education (THE) 400 Top World University Ranking 2011/12.

The recent release of the Times Higher Education (THE) 400 Top World University Ranking 2011/12, where not a single Malaysian university is included, has punctured the elation and euphoria just two months ago over the QS 200 World University Rankings 2011/12 which saw University of Malaya making to the top 200 Top Universities moving 40 places to 167 compared to 2010.

In the QS World University Rankings 2011/12, four other Malaysian universities slid down the rankings – University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) ranked 279 this year compared to 263 in 2010; Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) ranked 335 (309 last year); Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) ranked 358 (319 last year) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) at between 401 and 450 (365 last year).

But in the just-released THE 400 Top World University Ranking 2011/12, none of the Malaysian universities made it into the placings.

A total of 60 Asian Universities made it into the THE 400 Top World University Ranking, with 16 from Japan, 10 from China, eight from Taiwan, seven from South Korea, six from Hong Kong, two from Singapore, and one each from India and Thailand. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib’s many firsts in 2012 Budget

Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 2012 Budget achieved many “firsts” in Malaysian parliamentary and budgetary history.

First, it beat all the other 53 budgets since 1957 in being the greatest cornucopia of goodies for votes in the forthcoming 13th general elections to reach out for voter support from a whole swathe of targetted groups comprising important vote-banks.

Second, it ranks at the most brazen and cynical budget exercise chalking up the highest Federal Government debt in history – set to break the RM500 billion mark next year, when for 2011, the Federal government debt to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ratio of 53.8% has increased by 12% from RM 407 billion 2010 (i.e. 53.1% of GDP) to RM456 billion in 2011.

After 13 consecutive years of budget deficit, the Federal Government debt has increased by leaps and bounds – more than quadrupling from RM103 billion in 1998 when it was 38.3% to GDP to RM455.7 billion in 2011 or 53.8% to GDP.

Thirdly, in painting an overly-rosy picture of the economic future without taking into realistic account the grim international picture. Read the rest of this entry »