Archive for December 18th, 2013

Deficit-cutting measures take toll on Najib’s popularity, survey shows

By Zurairi AR | December 18, 2013
The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — A series of painful measures to trim Malaysia’s chronic budget deficit has hit Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s popularity hard, according to a survey by independent pollster Merdeka Center that showed his approval sliding to a new low of 52 per cent in December.

Conducted from June to September and supplemented by an updated poll this month, the survey took place during a time when Putrajaya rolled out a fuel price hike, confirmed the long-delayed Goods and Services Tax (GST), eliminated price support for sugar, and announced an increase to power tariffs next year — all of which have angered Malaysians already struggling with rising cost of living.

News is also swirling now of extensive toll rate increases next year.

Sixty-seven per cent of respondent cited worsening costs and inflation as their main grouses.
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Najib’s approval rating takes a plunge, Merdeka Centre survey reveals

The Malaysian Insider | December 18, 2013

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s approval rating has taken the lowest dip since assuming office in 2009, declining to 52% in December, from 62% in August, a Merdeka Centre survey has found.

Two months after replacing Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as prime minister, Najib had a 65% approval rating.

The pollster said the survey was conducted between December 4 and 12, 2013, after the reduction of fuel subsidies in September 2013, and the tabling of the 2014 national budget during which the government announced the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2015.

Merdeka Centre said in a statement that concerns over the economy, particularly rising costs and inflation, rose to its highest ever level, up to 67% of all respondents.
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Think tank warns of grim outlook for Malaysian education following poor ranking

The Malaysian Insider | December 18, 2013

A think tank has urged Putrajaya to urgently address what it said was a crisis in the Malaysian education system, following the recent findings that Malaysian students scored poorly in an international assessment test.

The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), referring to the results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), which saw Malaysia ranked 55th among 65 countries, said the test scores revealed that the country was behind less developed countries such as Vietnam.

Ideas chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan also cited a recent World Bank report titled High Performing Education, which showed a connection between the country’s future economic growth and access to quality education.

“This is an important point, access to education is no longer the main issue. The real issue is access to quality education,” Wan Saiful said, urging the public to pay closer attention to the looming education crisis.
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Zahid Hamidi, stop making Malaysia a laughing stock

– Dyana Sofya
The Malaysian Insider
December 18, 2013

Dear Zahid Hamidi, what happened to innocent until proven guilty?

The controversy surrounding Zahid Hamidi and Mat Sabu where the minister claimed that Mat Sabu is a Shiite, followed by the Ministry of Home Affairs’s 10 pieces of evidence to back the claim, has become the laughing stock throughout the nation.

Soon after, the ministry covered up by saying that the 10 pieces of evidence are only Grade B evidence, and that it would soon provide Grade A evidence to prove the Minister’s claim.

Not just that, Mat Sabu was asked to prove his innocence or rather his non involvement with Shiite movement.

Dear Minister of Home Affairs, what happened to rule of law where one is innocent until proven guilty? Read the rest of this entry »


Idris Jala should “walk the talk” to “stop politicizing education” and get agreement of PM and Cabinet to establish Opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on Education

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and the head of Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), Datuk Seri Idris Jala should “walk the talk” to “stop politicizing education” and get the agreement of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet for the establishment of an Opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on Education as a bipartisan response to the “triple whammy” of relentless erosion of educational standards in the country, viz:

* 2011 TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study);

* 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment); and

* World Bank’s adverse Malaysia Economic Monitor themed “High-Performing Education”.

If Idris can announce such an agreement by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to the establishment of a bi-partisan Opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, this will be the most cheerful and best end-of-the-year news for Malaysians who had been buffeted by an avalanche of bad news on all fronts in the past seven months after the 13th general elections creating unprecedented division, disunity and negative vibes about the future of Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »


Will ‘The Heat’ wilt from Government heat?

– Kee Thuan Chye
The Malaysian Insider
December 17, 2013

The relatively outspoken weekly newspaper The Heat has been given a show-cause letter by the Home Ministry and reportedly told to tone down its fervour. And this has come about only three months since the paper sparked to life in early September.

This shows how tightly the Government still controls the media, and how difficult it is for any print publication to be critical of the ruling party. It also blows to bits the promise that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made in September 2011 that he wanted to establish in Malaysia “the best democracy”. Unless, of course, he has a radically different understanding of “democracy”.

The online news website The Malaysian Insider had reported that the action taken by the ministry was believed to have been prompted by The Heat’s front-page article on Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor’s “spendthrift” use of public funds – on overseas trips, utilities in their official residence, the hiring of consultants, the use of the Government’s private jets, allocations for the Prime Minister’s Department. Read the rest of this entry »