Al Fatihah, Latifah Omar

Sad news today as Seniwati Latifah Omar passed away.

KUALA LUMPUR: Veteran actress, Latifah Omar, 74 died today at University Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) 6.19pm today.

She was admitted at HUKM about a week ago due to suffering from colon cancer.

The actress known for her films with Cathay Keris was often paired off with Nordin Ahmad.

Among her many films include Bawang Putih Bawang Merah, Hang Jebat, Jalak Lenteng, Laila Majnun, Gurindam Jiwa and Putus Sudah Kasih Sayang.

Latifah-Omar-sbg-DahliaShe was one of the great Malay primadonnas of that era. For the young generation, they should know that the movies that were made back then were actually more than movies. They are the collection of stories and tales from the malay world. Any of the younger generation now knows by heart the story of Bawang Putih Bawang Merah? And most of the malay kids these days do not know the lessons that can be learned from Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup, much less the whole story.

To all the old malay actors and actresses, singers and dancers who had brought forth and continued the legacy of tales from times long forgotten, our highest gratitude and thank you which we could never repay in a million years.

Al Fatihah.

#malaysian-education

Towards improving our national education system

The admin at the One School System website were gracious enough to host an article of mine over there. Please have a read at it here. Thank you.

#malaysian-education, #one-school-system, #ppsmi

A plea for common sense

A question allegedly from a Form 3 History workbook

This snapshot is currently making its rounds in Facebook pages. And many people are aghast with this type of question and criticise it as against the spirit of 1Malaysia.

To the masses that feed on sensationalised issue and unable to think beyond the typical knee jerk reaction, this question was deeply riled as a racial and political plot to promote the much maligned ‘Ketuanan Melayu’  dogma.

If people would dare to apply their common sense and step back and breathe for awhile, the question posed was in the context of Malayan Union and the struggle of Malayans against their British oppressors.

Obviously the exploits of Datuk Onn Jaafar was learned by all of us and kids these days are not excluded from learning the history of Malaysia.

Try answer the question please.

Done? What have you answered if you were Onn Jaafar? What would you do in order to maintain the status quo of the Malays at that time in the face of being colonised formally by the British through the Malayan Union?

Don’t know? Are you not Orang Malaysia? Why are you offended with this type of question in the first place?

It is part of history.

The snapshot above is from a History subject. It is not a subject about 1Malaysia or current affairs or current political studies.

This is History education.

I wrote sometime back which greatly emphasised this exact issue:

History as a subject has two pronged objectives. One, to instil patriotism into the heart of every citizen from their childhood stage. Two, as source of knowledge on their surroundings and how they perceive their world.

In America, History was a touchy subject for the people especially with the advent of multiculturism among its people. With the influx of foreigners and the calls for equality among the afro-american movement, history as a subject was a sensitive issue indeed.

For example, how do you reconcile the fact that George Washington, the founding father of United States of America, has many black slaves and treated them harshly?

How can one see Abraham Lincoln as one of the greatest President the United States had ever had but at the same time he ‘supported projects to remove blacks from the United States’ and said that ‘blacks could not be assimilated into white society and rejected the notion of social equality of the races’?

Multi-culturism pose a big threat to the learning of a country’s history because history in the eyes of each community living in a particular country is different from one another.

Was the Great Settlement of the Mid West by the white colonials in America a great human achievement for the whites? Or was it a mass extermination of the native Red Indians and their way of life by the europeans?

So what if George Washington owned slaves? So what if Abraham Lincoln was racist?

Each and every American out there reveres them both as the founding father and a great leader based on their achievements alone and what good they had brought to the Americans even centuries after they had passed away.

In other aspects, the native Americans in the USA are very patriotic regardless what happened to their people in the past.

Back in Malaysia, we hear so many negative opposition from the people who are against the subject of history made compulsory in schools. This is precisely because their views came from the racial angle.

All the prejudice, the stereotyping, the paranoia are the by-products of segregated education they experienced in their early childhood. At the very least, their views were contaminated by the very people that champion the need to segregate our children.

In the end, history is being promoted by these clustered group of people as evil and should not be taught to our children. We see so many unsavoury characters in the cyberspace trying hard to re-write history based on fiction and malicious motives.

In any case, like how the Americans are accepting their history, Malaysians must accept their country’s history from the eyes of Orang Malaysia.

The need for racial posturing when it comes to history must be stopped. Only desperate politicians would look through the racial lense and try to skew history to further their agenda for power. People must not look at history as if it is a disease that must be eradicated.  – Full article here.

You may also like to read this.

#malaysian-education, #one-school-system

Mat Sabu, Selamat Hari Merdeka ke 54!

Dalam hari-hari terakhir bulan Ramadhan yang lepas, kita mendapati satu pembohongan besar telah di lakukan oleh Timbalan Presiden Parti Islam Se-Malaysia yang bernama Mohamad Sabu.

Ianya dilakukan di satu ceramah politik di Padang Menora, Tasek Gelugor. Video tersebut boleh di lihat di bawah:

Ada beberapa perkara kejam Mat Sabu sudah lakukan dalam ucapan beliau tadi. Pertama, beliau mempermainkan lagu Negaraku. Tidak perlulah kita mempertikaikan asal usul melodi lagu kebangsaan kita sendiri. Yang penting, ianya diterima dengan sebulat suara dan hati yang terbuka sejak lebih 50 tahun yang dahulu hinggalah sekarang.

Tabiat memperlekehkan lagu kebangsaan sendiri demi perjuangan politik yang muflis seperti apa yang Mat Sabu bawa ini amatlah menyedihkan. Apatah lagi, beliau adalah orang nombor dua tertinggi di dalam parti yang mempunyai ahli teramai di dalam pakatan pembangkang.

Kedua, memperlekehkan Hari Kemerdekaan itu sendiri dengan mengaitkannya dengan filem Bukit Kepong arahan Jins Shamsuddin. Tujuan beliau sebenarnya adalah untuk memperkecilkan perjuangan Umno menuntut kemerdekaan tanahair kita ini.

Akibat satu nyamuk, habis satu kelambu di bakar… akibat musuh politik, sejarah negara di tukar-tukar.

Beliau mengatakan bahawa penyerang Balai Polis di Bukit Kepong di dalam tahun 1950 merupakan hero sebenar kemerdekaan. Jika Mat Sabu buat buat tolol, yang menyerang balai polis berkenaan adalah ahli Parti Komunis Malaya. Secara langsung, mereka adalah komunis.

Mungkin Mat Sabu terlupa atau terlampau dangkal fikirannya hingga boleh melupakan kekejaman yang dibuat oleh komunis ke-atas rakyat Malaya ketika zaman darurat tersebut. Ianya boleh di baca di sini dan di sini. Komunis telah melakukan huru-hara di dalam negara kita dengan membunuh ramai rakyat yang tidak berdosa. Bagaimana pula Mat Sabu boleh mengangkat komunis sebagai ‘hero’ Malaya?

Oleh itu, Mat Indera bukanlah sekadar ‘hero penyerang’ balai polis. Dia adalah salah seorang ahli komunis yang menjadi sebahagian daripada Rejimen ke 4 Parti Komunis Malaya yang diketuai oleh Goh Peng Tun.

Di dalam suratkhabar The Star pada 30 Ogos 2011, Mat Sabu mengatakan bahawa:

“What I said in my ceramah was that Mat Indera was a hero because he fought independence. He was a labour leader, a freedom fighter,” Mohamad said when contacted.

Mohamad said he did not use the word ‘communist’ in his speech.

“Yet, Utusan claimed that I said ‘the communists were heroes’. Also, Utusan mentioned that Goh Peng Tun led the insurgency at Bukit Kepong.

“I never heard this name before, until Utusan mentioned it.”

Sebab itu, kita berharap supaya Mat Sabu tidak hanya menghadkan pembacaan beliau kepada komik sahaja. Pelajarilah buku buku sejarah agar tidak menampakkan diri sebagai orang yang amat cetek ilmu pengetahuannya. Semestinya, jika beliau banyak membaca, beliau akan tahu siapa itu Goh Peng Tun.

Tidak menyebut perkataan komunis bukan bermakna kita tidak menyebutnya secara tersurat. Mat Sabu kelihatan amat terdesak hingga alasan beliau seperti kebudak-budakkan.

Manakan tidak, ketua beliau yang juga Pengerusi DAP Malaysia, Karpal Singh mengeluarkan kenyataan yang secara tersiratnya merujuk Mat Sabu sebagai amat tidak pintar sekali. Kenyataan tersebut boleh dibaca di sini.

Suka diingatkan kepada Mat Sabu, jika anda mengangkat senjata dan membunuh orang awam dan anggota keselamatan negara, anda bukan lagi dianggap ‘labour leader’ atau ‘freedom fighter’.

Ketiga, mengatakan bahawa kisah Tok Janggut dan Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy tidak diceritakan di dalam sejarah negara. Ini adalah tohmahan yang tidak tepat sekali. Kita boleh membaca kisah mereka di dalam buku-buku teks sejarah pendidikan negara. Mereka ini di anggap pejuang kemerdekaan negara.

Bahkan nama Rashid Maidin juga disebut di dalam buku-buku teks kita. Walau bagaimanapun, memandangkan Rashid Maidin adalah komunis, maka tetaplah dia di anggap sebagai musuh negara. Ini sejarah yang tidak mungkin bertukar walaupun terdapat seribu Mat Sabu di dalam negara kita.

Saya merasa sedih kerana sejarah negara kita diputar sewenang-wenangnya oleh para pemimpin pembangkang yang bankrap idea untuk mengetengahkan perjuangan mereka. Seolah-olah tiada sifat terima kasih kepada mereka yang bertungkus lumus mempertahankan negara kita sewaktu waktu dahulu.

Mentaliti Mat Sabu senang sahaja difahami. Beliau mahu rakyat Malaysia menidakkan segala usaha dan budi pemimpin-pemimpin Parti Perikatan yang membawa kepada kemerdekaan negara. Salah satu daripada parti tersebut adalah Parti Umno – musuh politik PAS.

Tidak kisah jika kita menyokong pembangkang atau kerajaan ataupun atas pagar sahaja; yang penting sejarah negara kita adalah kebanggaan kita. Apa yang telah terjadi, begitulah yang terjadi.

Adalah membimbangkan jika orang seperti Mat sabu diangkat sebagai pemimpin nombor dua negara. Menjadi Timbalan Perdana Menteri Malaysia. Apa mungkin beliau boleh menaikkan taraf negara kita jika pengetahuan beliau hanya berbekalkan ilmu seperti murid darjah satu sahaja?

Apa mungkin beliau dapat memberi keyakinan para pelabur di luar negara jika cara percakapan beliau lebih mirip celoteh kedai kopi sahaja?

Sempena Hari Kemerdekaan kita yang ke-54, marilah kita bersama-sama menguatkan iltizam dan bersatu padu membanteras gejala meremehkan perjuangan para perajurit tanahair yang telah berkorban tenaga dan jiwa raga menentang kezaliman komunis dan British.

Sesungguhnya, negara kita Malaysia aman makmur kerana semangat patriotisma rakyatnya yang tinggi dan tidak pernah goyah biar pun ada yang cuba melunturkannya.

Keranamu Malaysia!

Kepada Mat Sabu, rajin-rajinlah baca buku.

#karpal-singh, #malaysian-education

One School System – It’s now or never

If you are one of the many people that support the One School system, you can almost feel that this post is coming up.

For the past few weeks, there have been some positive development regarding this issue. After the sense of acute racial polarisation is about to take place here in Malaysia, the importance of a single stream education system, significantly at the primary level has begun to permeate in the psyche of ordinary Malaysians.

It is a simple and logical explanation and also the most profound solution for the problems on the lack of racial integration we have here in Malaysia.

Many hurdles were met along the way. The most disappointing and no less disparaging remark was the accusation from the opposition that those who support the One School system are racists.

In one hand, those who desire to see a more unified and integrated society are labeled as racists while on the other hand, those who support the chinese and tamil schools had labeled themselves as victims. Nevermind the fact that chinese and tamil schools are in fact, schools that were established based fundamentally and historically on racial grounds. But according to these opposition members, vernacular schools are not racist. The One School system is!

Are we racist in trying to get all our children to be together? I am sure we are not.

The opposition should just discontinue playing rhetorical taunts and decide if they want to support a more pertinent issue such as national unity and integration. Obviously, segregating the society into clusters of people instead of governing one seamless mass of people are much easier to do. Divide and conquer is an ageless tactic which had lent a helping hand to so many conquerors in this world.

And vernacular schools contribute greatly towards the segregation and polarisation of our society. This is undeniably the most telling symptom of our society. It is so undeniable that any effort to deny this can only be delivered through arguments incongruous with reason.

Take the reasons brought forth by DAP Youth Chief, Anthony Loke.

He argued that the proficiency of Bahasa Malaysia among the chinese is mainly due to the government’s failure in giving enough emphasis and assistance to those who were weak in the language.

He said:

“I think that probably this is because the learning of the language is not really enhanced in both the primary and secondary levels. 

“I am sure that there will be critics blaming the vernacular schools but I disagree… because even there, BM is a compulsory subject and after that, they go to secondary school where BM is even more prominent. There is just no proper programme in place to help these Chinese primary school students to adopt when in the secondary level,” he added.

We have a solution. That programme that Anthony Loke mentioned will be called the One School system.

A study was made by the National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) whereby it was revealed that significant number of secondary school dropouts with Chinese primary vernacular education have little, or zero, command of English or the national language. To be precise, it was found that one-third of students from those schools cannot understand either English or Bahasa Malaysia (BM) when they transfer to national secondary schools.

The inability to communicate in the national language stemmed from the limited interaction with other races. If at the early primary stage the children are handicapped by this social impediment, we can be certain that in later stage of life, prejudice and paranoia will arise and will make it difficult to integrate with one another.

This will happen not only among the children from chinese vernacular schools, but also among children from the tamil vernacular schools and the national schools where the malay students are dominant.

A further study albeit a simpler one was done by The Malaysian Insider recently to gauge the command of the national language among the chinese here in Malaysia.

The most profound data that was gathered revealed that about 26% of respondents do not understand Bahasa Malaysia at all. Close to 19% do not have to use Bahasa Malaysia at all or only use it less than three times in their daily lives.

This suggest that within the Chinese community, there is a significant class whose members only interact with those who speak Chinese.

It is just a matter of time when we have a complete segregation of society where the two main race will not interact with one another in a lifetime. Do we really want this?

Anthony Loke must be delusional if he still want to blame the government for not giving assistance for the students in chinese vernacular schools to increase their proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia. But then again it is not vintage DAP if they do not blame the government for everything.

The most cost effective way is for everyone to enrol in national school where Bahasa Malaysia is the main medium of instruction.

It does not make any sense for the government to pour more resources into vernacular schools just to strengthen  the usage of Bahasa Malaysia in mandarin medium schools.

For every ringgit given to vernacular schools, a ringgit loss for the national schools.

The trick Anthony Loke is playing is for the government to give more money to vernacular schools so that his politics will continue to survive. His racist tactic has always been the bread and butter for his political party.

Too bad the government would always fall for this trick. What the opposition do not want gullible Malaysians to know is that every year, the government is already spending more than RM1.8 billion to pay the salaries of teachers in the chinese and tamil vernacular schools.

That is RM1.8 billion wasted just to produce more polarisation in this country. Not to mention the millions already spent on infrastructures and on by election ‘gifts’.

Another ridiculous statement was issued by the DAP deputy secretary-general, Ngeh Koo Ham when he opined that ‘national integration had nothing to do with a person’s inability to converse in the language and explained that it was likely that many people saw it more beneficial to master English or Mandarin than BM

Ngeh noted the civil service was taken up by at least 80 per cent of Malays, causing the non-Malays to focus their attentions on obtaining jobs that do not require extensive knowledge of BM. 

“We master a language for the betterment of our future, like finding a good job, a good career and so on. So since many non-Malays do not opt for posts in the civil service where BM proficiency is required, their focus on learning the language is almost negligible,” he said.’

Bahasa Malaysia is the national language of Malaysia. The importance and the sanctity of this language is greatly determined by the way it is treated in the national education. If in a school where 90% of the time Bahasa Malaysia was not spoken then naturally, the students will not or cannot see the importance of it. This is a given.

If the students do not lay importance to it, coupled with the fact that there are minimal or zero interaction with students of other races, then almost certainly they will not master the national language. If you are unable to master the national language, you cannot join the civil service.

Therefore Ngeh Koo Ham made a malicious assumption where he asserted that because the civil service has 80% Malays, the non-Malays will not join it due to the fact that proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia is required.

Logically, the argument should be the other way around – due to the inability to converse well in Bahasa Malaysia, the non Malays failed the tests to enter the civil service leading to the burgeoning of Malays in the civil service.

This can again be traced to the existence of vernacular schools. The opposition especially the DAP frequently lamented about the unfair policies of the government and tried to colour their arguments with racial undertones when we can observe that the very core of their existence if to perpetuate their own racist politics. Working within the sphere of racism (whether playing the victim or in any other multiple levels of racial rhetorics) is the simplest and quickest way to gain prominence in national politics.

The DAP national vice-chairman Chong Chieng Jen joined this absurdity by strongly disagreeing  to the fact that national unity are affected by the Chinese community’s lack of proficiency in BM.

‘He pointed out that 30 years back, racial polarisation and segregation were less rampant than it is today despite the widespread lack of understanding of the BM language among the community. 

“Less people understood BM then but there was less segregation. People mingled better than they do today. “So at the end of the day, national unity and integration is more about fairer policies…. Barisan Nasional politicians should stop playing racial politics,” he said.’

I am not sure from which abyss he excavated this kind of logic. If there were less segregation and polarisation 30 years ago and yet the people back then understood Bahasa Malaysia even less than today, how on earth did we communicate with each other 30 years ago? Through sign languages?!

We had better national education system back then. There were less people that went to vernacular schools back then. That was why the society were less segregated. But in recent decades, the emergence of extremism in politics of both divide had destroyed our education system. The only way to go now is through a comprehensive and well coordinated effort to standardise the education system. We should start at primary level as the first phase.

The government recently announced that they are looking into the One School system to promote unity and harmony. It is high time that we should look into this.

Summarily, it was proposed that:

1) The first phase will be a co-ordinated exchange of programmes between vernacular and national schools

2) The second phase will be the introduction of a third language in both schools.

3) The third phase will be co-locating of schools and,

4) The final phase is the implementation of the 1School system.

Frankly, do we want our children to be segregated like this:

chinese vernacular school

tamil vernacular school

national school (mainly malays)

Or do we want to see like this:

Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua

Support Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua. Thank you everyone.

HAPPY WESAK DAY TO ALL MALAYSIAN BUDDHISTS!

#malaysian-education, #one-school-system, #ppsmi

Straigthening out YB Khairy Jamaluddin’s column

Below is an excellent article by blogger SatD of Pure Shiite. It is to reinforce the MPs into doing the right thing instead of skirting over the problem and sweeping the mess under the carpet. This mess, if left untreated, will torment your own children and grandchildren in the future. Although some of YB Khairy’s points are valid, he had completely misread the wordings in the Constitution as pointed out by the blogger SatD. I am copying the first half of his article. The juicier parts can be further digested here. You can also give your comments there. Thank you.

_________________________________________________________

YB Khairy, what “Virtual Constitutional Guarantee” are you talking about?

Dear YB Khairy.

I was recently notified of your recent column published in the Edge, thank you for having the guts to venture into the subject matter.

Allow me to reproduce your full piece for my readers.

Engage multiculturalism early on

I think the biggest elephant in the 1Malaysia room is the societal behaviour of Malaysians themselves. I do not deny that national unity suffers from politics, political parties and politicians.

People in my profession – from all parties (even those that claim to be multiracial) – are routinely guilty of ethnocentric politics, reaching out to different communities at the expense of others. Politics is also a reflection of the society that we live in. And the fact of the matter is many Malaysians still live in silos with a heightened sense of suspicion towards other ethnic communities.

But rather than philosophising about this fundamental question in generalities, I attempted to address the policy-making behind the often ephemeral question of national unity during the debate on the Agong’s Royal Address in Parliament recently.

It is often said that the reason why racial polarisation is worse today than a few generations back is simply because there is less contact and interaction now. Those who attended local universities in the 1960s and 70s will regale you with stories of how students of different ethnicity hung out together, in marked contrast to the scenes at our varsities today where posses of friends are usually mono-ethnic.

Some have pointed out that the problem starts much earlier, during the formative years of young Malaysians. The fact that today more Malaysian kids of Chinese ethnicity attend vernacular schools rather than national schools contributes to the drastic reduction in contact hours between our children.

Although many of these students end up in national secondary schools, there is already a psychological perspective that has been formed during the earlier (and arguably most impressionable) years of their education in which they grew up in largely mono-ethnic environments. Of course, there are non-Chinese students who attend Chinese vernacular schools but for the most part, the overwhelming majority of children there are from one ethnic group.

One solution to address this polarity that has been brought about by the existence of different types of schools in Malaysia has been to just have one school – the national school. Advocates for this argument say that for as long as vernacular schools exist, our kids will be separated during their formative years and will carry with them a ‘silo-ed’ worldview into their teenage years and beyond.

While there are great merits to this argument, principally the notion that all Malaysian children will be educated under one roof and all the wonderful consequences that this might have on national unity, I doubt there would be any government that would commit themselves to this. Vernacular schools are a virtually sacrosanct institution for many members of the Chinese and Indian communities for which they have a virtual constitutional guarantee for it’s continued existence.

So, rather than pursuing something well near impossible, we are left with trying to find ways towards greater unity while acknowledging the continued existence of different systems in our education system. For a few years, the government’s flagship program to break down the walls that separate our kids has been the national service stint in which SPM leaders are selected at random to spend three months in a quasi-bootcamp where they are taught leadership, teamwork, civic virtue, nation-building in a contained environment.

The architects of the program believed that this could be the magic panacea to cure racial polarisation, social ills and instill a much needed “Malaysia Boleh” sense of pride and patriotism which is apparently not pronounced enough among our youth.

As someone who served on the first national service training council (the body tasked with overseeing the implementation of the programme), I was able to visit some of the camps during the training period. It goes without saying that most participants have fun during their stint. For most young people, the opportunity for adventure and to bond with others of the same age is something that they would naturally be attracted to.

Hence, when the government releases surveys done on national service participants, it is no big surprise that most of them enjoyed their three months. But beyond a superficial analysis of feedback from national service participants, we need to ask whether or not the program has succeeded in making young Malaysians mix around better with one another and, more importantly, believe that the national interest always trumps sectarian or communal considerations.

Anecdotal evidence suggests the situation is less encouraging than one might hope, for the simple reason that many participants enter the program having grown up in relative ethnic isolation. Formative years do not begin at age 17 or 18, when perspectives – including those regarding communal identities – have most likely hardened. I dare say it has never been clear how three months after SPM can possibly overcome years of polarisation. There is of course nothing inherently wrong with the national service programme; but we need to take a step back and face the very real probability that we asking far too much of it – it is not the magic panacea.

Now, if our goal is inculcating a sense of national identity over and above communal persuasions, why not begin at precisely those formative years of a child’s life? During my speech, I touched on the Student Integration Plan for Unity (RIMUP).

Initially introduced in 1986 but never gained a foothold until its revival as a key initiative under the National Education Blueprint 2006-2010. It has since withered away once again. Involving primary school students of different races from national and national-type, vernacular schools to regularly engage in a range of usually co-curricular activities, we have in RIMUP a practical and actionable initiative to encourage early inter-ethnic interaction.

It is actionable in as much as it does not require us venturing into the constitutional and political labyrinth of arguing for a single school system or sidestepping political landmines associated with the Vision School proposal (putting one national school, one Chinese school and one Tamil school in the same compound). It is practical because its nature as an activity-based program on school grounds means RIMUP does not involve extensive infrastructural commitments.

The potential and relative ease of implementation thus makes it rather curious that, across the levels of policymaking and discourse, RIMUP is not given anywhere near the attention it deserves. A study conducted by school inspectors in 2007 revealed that only 27% of schools were extensively and regularly involved in RIMUP activities. Further, only 12% of them conducted post mortems or discussions on how to improve activities organized under RIMUP.

The figures on fiscal expenditure are not much more flattering. RIMUP was allocated only RM25.8 million in 2007. Compare this to the public spending on the national service programme, which stands at an average of RM595.7 million per year from 2009 to 2011 – twenty times more than RIMUP. The glaring asymmetry is further illustrated by the fact that no details on RIMUP were provided in the Federal Government Spending Estimates for 2011.

When I finally received an answer from the Deputy Minister of Education on how much the Government has allocated for RIMUP in 2011, I almost couldn’t believe my ears when he said RM2.4 million. National service will receive RM564 million this year. You do the maths.

I urge the Government to immediately remedy the situation by revitalising RIMUP as a central initiative of promoting national unity organically, as it were. The national service has its many advantages but why pin the entire unity project on it when it can be supplemented by a rather understated program that is so readily incorporated into a child’s everyday life at school?

At stake is no less than the viability of this nation’s multicultural and multiracial character. For too long we have taken a disengaged stance about multiculturalism, self-enchanted by the rhetorical allure of ‘unity in diversity’ without necessarily promoting cross-cultural and cross-communal engagement.

This approach, I believe, is mistaken. A multiculturalism that is satisfied with leaving each other to live in parallel lives is inherently self-destructive; it engenders precisely the prejudices and paranoia that ‘unity in diversity’ is meant to displace.

1Malaysia implores us to move beyond tolerance for good reason – tolerance of the alien is never enough. Rather, a Malaysian identity requires, first, an empathic recognition of each other’s cultural particularities, and then an embrace of the ways in which cross-cultural contact may enrich our own lives. Postponing this project to age 17 or 18 will not do. Source here.

As a strong advocate of the Single School, allow me present to you our side of the story more clearly so that going forward you may have a better bearing in navigating the “constitutional and political labyrinth” with regards to this issue.

First of all there is No such thing as a Virtual Constitutional Guarantee with regards to the Continued existence of Vernacular School.

In fact it is actually against the Constitution of Malaysia and the National Language Act. Allow me to refer to two court judgements where the issue of medium of instruction in a Foreign Language have been put to test.

Case 1 Mark Koding

The question therefore arises as to the true interpretation of proviso (a) to Article 152(1). Having regard to the words used in the proviso, viz. “teaching or learning any other language” as opposed to “teaching or learning in any other language”, I tend to agree with the restricted meaning enunciated by Abdoolcader J when dealing with schools or other educational institutions. In my view, under proviso (a), although the National Language shall be the Malay language, the usage of any other language other than for official purposes, is guaranteed; so is the teaching or learning of any other language in schools, be it Chinese, Tamil, Arabic or English. But there is nothing in proviso (a) to justify the extension of the protection to the operation of schools where the medium of instruction is Chinese, Tamil, Arabic or English. This strict interpretation is consistent with proviso (b) which guarantees the right of the Federal Government or any State Government to preserve and sustain the use and study of the language of any other community in the Federation. Thus, the preservation and sustenance of usage of language of any other community is guaranteed. So is the preservation and sustenance of study of any other community’s language, but again there is no justification in extending the guarantee to the preservation and sustenance of study in the language of any other community in the absence of specific words to that effect. Any other interpretation of proviso (a) would result in abusing the words used in the proviso. It is absurd for instance to think that the proviso gives constitutional protection to teaching or learning in school where the medium of instruction is Russian or Japanese. To my mind, the protection only extends to language but not to medium of instruction in schools. In other words, no person shall be prohibited or prevented from teaching or learning Chinese or Tamil or, for that matter, any language which is not the national language in any school as a language subject, but such protection does not extend to the teaching or learning in a school where the teaching or learning is in any other language. As correctly stated by Abdoolcader J the omission of the preposition “in” after the words “teaching or learning” in proviso (a) makes the distinction necessary

Case 2 Merdeka University

Reading Article 152 together with the National Language Act, in our judgment, the law may be stated as follows:

* Bahasa is the national language;

  • Bahasa is the official language;

A person is prohibited from using any other language for official purposes — subject to exceptions as regards the continued use of the English language allowed by s 4 and of other languages by other provisions of the National Language Act;

* No person shall be prohibited or prevented from using (to be specific) Chinese for unofficial purposes;

  • No person shall be prohibited or prevented from teaching Chinese;
  • No person shall be prohibited or prevented from learning Chinese;

The Federal or a State Government has the right to preserve and sustain the use and study of the language of any non-Malay community — as indeed the Federal Government is doing in school and at the Institute of Technology, Mara, and in the Departments of Chinese and Indian Studies and in some other departments at the University of Malaya where even Arabic, Japanese, Thai and other languages are taught. (This right belongs to Government).

Government cannot legally prohibit or prevent MU from teaching and offering courses to enable students to learn Chinese.

But the crucial question is: would MU be prohibited from teaching in Chinese as the sole or major medium of instruction? It certainly would if it is a public authority, for then the use of Chinese there would be use for an official purpose which the Constitution read together with the National Language Act says is prohibited.

And this is their decision

In any event, bearing in mind the history of education in this country and the divisive results of allowing separate language schools and the lesson learned from the experience of our neighbour with a private university and the determination of Parliament to so regulate schools and universities and education generally as an instrument for bringing about one nation out of the disparate ethnic elements in our population, we have no choice but to hold, as we have already held, that MU if established would be a public authority within Article 160(2) of the Constitution and that accordingly teaching in Chinese there would be use of that language for an official purpose, which use may be prohibited under Article 152.

As there is no right to use the Chinese language for an official purpose, accordingly in our judgment it was not unconstitutional and unlawful of Government to reject the plaintiff’s petition to establish MU.

We would therefore dismiss this appeal with costs.
For more details on the Legal Basis go here

To be completely honest with you YB Khairy, I’m bored of writing about this subject, especially to address the misconception with regards to the “Constitutional Guarantee”, too many people are walking around like zombies believing in this “Virtual” non existence guarantees.

If you don’t mind me asking, which part of the Constitution says that there is a “Virtual Guarantee”? As an MP you of all people should have studied the document better and to actually look at Article 152 and our National Language Act and perhaps inquire further how they have been interpreted in the court of law.

How did you come up with such strong conclusions that it is impossible and you actually use the words ” I doubt that any Government would commit themselves to this….” YB Khairy, is it not the objective of the Government and the Members of the Parliament to ensure that all the provisions of our Constitution and the National Language Act is adhered to?

MORE QUESTIONS WERE ASKED HERE

________________________________________

Similar articles to this subject can be read here and here.

#malaysian-education, #one-school-system

The aftermath of PPSMI policy

Anak desa masih di pekan
Mencari bunga buat kalungan
Terima kasih saya ucapkan
Budi tuan menjadi kenangan

First and foremost, I would like to thank YOU for all the kind compliments and words of wisdom I received in the previous article.

Obviously I am very appreciative towards any feedback be it positive of negative. But the sincerity I read within the lines gave me a lot of courage to continue doing what I have done for the past 3 years.

Therefore, again, for the millionth time, Thank you.

This time, I would like to add something about the recent announcement of our government leaders and a recent announcement by EF EPI, an international organsation that had recently measured the English proficiency ranking of non native speaking countries.

Back in 2009, the Government had made their decision to reverse PPSMI and gradually abolish it. Starting from 2012, the subjects on Mathematics and Science in all schools will revert to Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin and Tamil in respective schools. By the year 2017 in primary and 2016 in secondary, all children in both primary and secondary will learn all the subjects in Bahasa Malaysia, with the exception of the English subject of course.

And, with the exception of children in vernacular schools too.

All children in national schools will learn mathematics and science in Bahasa Malaysia again, while all children in mandarin and tamil schools will learn those subjects in their respective mother tongues.

That is the outcome of the opposition’s relentless pursuit to oppose anything just for the sake of opposing. I mentioned the opposition because Pakatan Rakyat leaders were involved in the various platforms conducted by the Gerakan Mansuhkan PPSMI (GMP) which incidentally headed by A. Samad Said, an iconic ‘pejuang bahasa kebangsaan’.

Much is left to be desired when this so called pejuang bahasa kebangsaan stopped short in asking the vernacular schools to switch its medium of teaching language to Bahasa Malaysia. Hence I find it really hypocritical of him when he assumed that GMP will bring dignity to Bahasa Malaysia among Malaysians.

In fact, his foray in politicising the national language will further alienate the races between each other.

I believe the PPSMI would be one of the factor that would attract Malaysia parents to send their children to the national schools. The other main factor is the lessening of Islamic /Arabic influence in the daily routine of activities of the school. But that is another matter altogether.

At that time, if GMP and the Minister in Education said that Bahasa Malaysia has finally and correctly ‘dimartabatkan’, then so be it.

The aftermath of the decision has led to various lobby groups being set up to lobby for the return of PPSMI. The most prominent is called Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE).

The stark contrast between GMP and PAGE is the absence of street demonstrations. We all remember the pretentious street demonstrations organised by GMP and led by several opposition leaders back in early 2009. It was pretentious because Bahasa Malaysia now became the domain of the Malays; not the rest of Malaysians.

Only the Malays should dignify the national language. The non-Malays can continue strengthen their own mother tongue. Only the Malays are chastised if they use English as their main language to converse. Non-Malays can use English with impunity.

Nevermind the fact that Bahasa Malaysia should be used by all Malaysians. GMP forgot to support the one stream education system which suggested the use of Bahasa Malaysia as the main medium of learning in most of the subjects.

GMP, if they were serious, should make Bahasa Malaysia the mother tongue of all Malaysians.

To me, it doesn’t make sense to chastise Malays who wanted to learn mathematics and science in English when Bahasa Malaysia is already their mother tongue. Being the mother tongue of approximately 17 million of the population is already a dignified accomplishment of Malaysia. What they should have pursued is the usage of Bahasa Malaysia as the mother tongue of 100% of the population.

Hence the one stream education system is the way to go. But GMP seemed more interested in looking at narrower view i.e., looking only at the Malays and not the overall populace.

That is why they are labeled as pretentious and not serious enough in their battles for Bahasa Malaysia’s survival.

Fortunately and finally, PAGE’s objectives had been heard by the Government. Last week, the Minister of Education, announced the possibility of a dual medium of instruction in schools.

Although the details are sketchy, I believe the MOE will give schools the power to decide which language to teach mathematics and science. The Parent-Teacher Associations of  each school will undoubtedly be given the voting power to decide on this matter.

But what is unclear is whether this will cover vernacular schools as well. Those  powerful vernacular cartels such as Dong Jiao Zong will almost certainly and vehemently defend their racial turf.

We all know a lost cause when we see one. The only way for them to see beyond racial lenses is to have a strong national leader that can make them see the benefits of having one stream national education system.

All things considered, I think this is the best time to propagate PPSMI. In 2009, the MOE made a good decision to limit the number of subjects in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) to 10 subjects.

With smaller number of subjects for the students to study, all the excess energy that was used to gain 15As, 18As and even 20As  in the previous years can be channeled into learning mathematics and science in English. Also, extra co curricular activities will automatically be emphasised more by the students as they would certainly want to make their curriculum vitae more marketable than their peers.

Being in sports, clubs, societies and uniformed groups will enhance their social skills and leadership qualities.

Those are a couple of great assets for an aspiring student to venture into the realm of tertiary education and beyond.

The recent survey made by Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) listed the ability of good written and spoken English as the main criteria to employ new employees.  Out of ten traits, 68% of employers listed that as the most sought after attribute of a prospective employees.

Good academic results came out 7th at 37.9% while 56.2% of employers valued interpersonal skills as the 3rd most sought after trait.

Bottomline, your paper results will not be nearly as important as your social interactivity skills. And the ability to write a nice business letter and to speak English with confidence top everything else.

You will be a star employee if you can master scientific or business terminologies with ease.

Anyhow, we hope the Ministry of Education will not forget to improve the overall standard of education in our national schools and continue to produce more positive news and good results in order to promote the national education to the masses.

It is enlightening to read about the news that among the non native English speaking country in this world, Malaysia is ranked at 9th position and the 1st among Asian countries with population that has high proficiency in English.

It is ironic to note that Singapore which has Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin and Tamil as their official languages  is not considered non native English speaking country anymore. In other words, Singapore is now considered an anglophile state according to international standards.

They do speak good Singaporean English.

But Malaysia, that had laid so much importance towards her national language, can strive to be among the best English speaking country in the world, speaks a lot about our education system.

We want to be global. Yet, we retain our identity as Malaysian.

Orang Malaysia bukan sahaja mesti pandai berbahasa Malaysia tapi mesti pandai berbahasa Inggeris juga. Baru boleh duduk sama rendah, berdiri sama tinggi. Boleh mengharung globalisasi tapi tak hilang jati diri.

Terima kasih. Thank you.

#malaysian-education, #one-school-system, #ppsmi