Archive for December, 2014

31
Dec
14

‘Eminent Malay’ lashes out at Perkasa, Isma

One of the 25 top former civil servants, who recently issued an open letter calling for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to show leadership in the face of intolerant right wing groups, has launched a barrage of scathing criticism against Perkasa and Isma.

According to a report in Sinchew Daily today, former Malaysian ambassador to the Netherlands Noor Farida Ariffin slammed the two NGOs for resorting to personal attacks instead of arguing on the points raised in the letter.

She said that if claims from Isma and Perkasa that they represent the majority of Malays are true, that would be a cause for concern.

“This is because these two groups clearly have low standards, are poorly educated, intellectually challenged, incapable of seeing their own racism, intolerant, blindly obedient and are destroying the fabric of our country’s society,” the daily quoted Noor Farida (left) as saying.

She said, they (the 25 former civil servants) were deeply concerned that if these religious extremists and bigots were not kept in check, the whole country would suffer, the SinChew report said.

Noor Farida and 24 others issued an open letter that also called on like-minded moderate Malays and Muslims to speak up for a rational and informed discussion on Islam in the country.

Its signatories include former director-generals and secretary-generals of various ministries and government departments, a founder of the National Heart Institute, several former ambassadors, a former court of appeal judge and a retired military officer, among others.

…more
Dec 11, 2014 – Malaysiakini
‘Eminent Malay’ lashes out at Perkasa, Isma

30
Dec
14

‘Only way to stop nuclear plants is to change gov’t’

Malaysians do not have any other choice but to change the present government if they do want their safety not to be compromised due to the building of nuclear plants in the country.

The former president of International Physician for The Prevention of The Nuclear (IPPNC) Dr Ronald McCoy said this in an anti-nuclear plant forum held in Kuala Lumpur last night.

“The only way to stop the building of nuclear plants is to change governments.

“I do not see any other way,” said McCoy (left).

The forum titled “Nuclear Plant 2015: Permanent Danger” was organised by Kumpulan Anak Malaysia Anti Nuklear (AMAN), a group of youths against nuclear plant building in the country.

The forum also protested against the government’s decision to build two nuclear plants scheduled for 2015.

Two other panelists include Bukit Merah activist dan anti-Lynas Professor Dr Tan Ka Kheng dan Malaysian Science Academy Fellow Professor Ir G Lalchand.

The forum was moderated by the Bantah-TPPA founder Anas Alam Faizli.

Put it in Putrajaya

Lalchand said that there were too many questions on the proposed nuclear plants which the government has yet to answer.

He said that at the present moment, Malaysia does not need nuclear to generate power as it has other alternative ways to do so,

“At least until 2015, nuclear should be the last resort,” said Lalchand who proposed that Malaysia implement the Energy Efficiency programme as the alternative.

He also called on the government to build the nuclear plant in Putrajaya, if it is as safe as claimed.

…more
Dec 24, 2014 – Malaysiakini
‘Only way to stop nuclear plants is to change gov’t’

29
Dec
14

Putrajaya snubbed cheaper energy savings scheme for nuclear plans, forum told

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 24 – Putrajaya “ignored” a proposed energy savings scheme that could have saved Malaysia billions of ringgit and scrap any need to construct nuclear power plants here, a former civil servant claimed.

Energy efficiency activist Zaini Abdul Wahab, 40, told a forum last night that the government was well aware of alternative options to the two nuclear power plants it was planning to build in Malaysia.

“Because I know for a fact that it was mentioned in Parliament and in many seminars by the agencies, by having just a 10 year programme on energy efficiency, the only money required from the government is less than one billion (ringgit), average [RM100,000] a year, we can avoid capacity of at least 3GW of power demand, equivalent to three nuclear power plants,” he told a 60-strong crowd at a forum here last night.

Zaini, who has worked with the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry (Kettha) and Sustainable Energy Development Authority (Seda) during his eight-year service, claimed that the government had “ignored” the proposed programme, which would have purportedly translated into billions of savings as Putrajaya would not have to fork out money to subsidise nuclear energy.

“But they ignored that. As for now, they ignore that. That’s my first argument why I’m against nuclear, because they have the options, they ignore that,” said Zaini, now an energy management consultant in the private sector.

Zaini, who was not listed as a speaker but was invited to address the crowd, said there was a need to be “realistic”, however, and that he expects nuclear plants will eventually be introduced in a few more decades to meet power demands.

His arguments echoed the stand of Prof G. Lalchand, a speaker at the same forum.

Lalchand, a former Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) staff, told the crowd that he was not anti-nuclear, but he believes that nuclear plants should only be a last resort in another decade.

“We do not need nuclear before 2025, in the meantime, the chances are there for energy efficiency to drop the demand from consumers to the same as the nuclear power can generate,” said Lalchand, who is both an engineer and an academic, adding that it would be cheaper

Nodding to major disasters involving nuclear power plants such as the US’s Three Mile Island’s 1979 accident, Ukraine’s Chernobyl 1986 accident, Japan’s Fukushima 2011 incident, Lalchand said that such accidents had always prompted the raising of safety standards.

“That’s why I said it should be as late as possible to get more safe,” he said, when explaining that a delay in Malaysia’s rolling out of nuclear power plants would enable the use of newer and safer technology.

Until then, Lalchand pushed for energy efficiency ? where users maximise the work done through the energy used ? to save costs and avert the need to build new power plants.

During the forum, another panellist, Datuk Dr Ronald McCoy spoke about the hidden costs in using nuclear technology to generate electricity, citing studies on how the number of cancer-related deaths had risen among those living near nuclear power plants.

According to McCoy, the hidden costs include the maintenance of nuclear power plants, and the disposal of radioactive waste, as well as the decommissioning of plants.

…more
Putrajaya snubbed cheaper energy savings scheme for nuclear plans, forum told
By Ida Lim
December 24, 2014 – MMO

28
Dec
14

Education fiasco: Thinking skills missing at ministry level

QUICK TAKE: In the years past, it was very common for students to score straights A’s in the Lower Secondary Assessment examination (PMR). This year PMR was replaced with Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (PT3) or Form 3 Assessment, and that run stopped abruptly.

The idea was to produce students with higher order thinking skills (HOTS), said the Education Ministry in April when the new school-based assessment was introduced.

Yesterday, we saw the results from the inaugural PT3, and along with it a litany of complaints from parents and students.

The fact that today’s newspapers failed to produce their customary full page photographs of straight A students also indicated something was amiss.

Suddenly this year, top scoring schools have become average while students who have been performing well from Form 1 right up to the trials failed to pass with flying colours.

And to add to the misery, official announcement of the overall PT3 examination were kept in the dark. The speculation is that the results will not be disclosed due to poor performance.

The aim of the PT3 is excellent as it will give a true reflection of students’ performance as they are assessed in different aspects of education, such as cognitive, affective and psychometric.

The assessment will help in nurturing out-of-the-box thinking, maturity and resourcefulness.

However the question is, was the implementation of PT3 done in a proper manner to give this year’s batch of students a proper bedding in period? By the numerous grievances raised yesterday, one only gets the feeling that these students were used as guinea pigs.

Chief among their grouses is that they had only three months to prepare for their written exams. They were not told on how and what to prepare for. On exam day, they were faced with a new and unfamiliar format.

Some students even complained that they were given different exam formats just a week before the exams.

And when the HOTS questions were posed to them in the exams, the students found themselves in a quandary. Why? Because this was not something they have been prepared for in the classrooms.

Under the PT3 system, teachers play a bigger role in continuously assessing their students. They have taken added responsibilities to produce thinking students. And in order to do that, their teaching pedagogy includes updating the progress of each students into a mainframe computer.

This new system, however, only caused added stress for the educators as a faulty computer system resulted in slow data entry process, forcing teachers to stay up late to complete their tasks. Needless to say, this frustration drew their energy away and most did not have the motivation to do well in classrooms the next day.

The other question which crops up immediately is if the teachers had been given sufficient training to implement the new teaching philosophy to produce thinking students? After years of being told to stick to the textbooks, the teachers were given a sudden jolt as to what was now expected of them.

This may also be a reason for why suddenly some schools have done well in this year’s PT3 while others faltered. The final outcome could have been as a result of the quality of teachers the schools have.

The PT3 is a school-based examination with the ministry wanting to do away with encouraging comparison between schools. Under this system, the schools and their teachers would administer, assess and provide the score on assessment, and the students’ scores will be moderated and verified by appraisers from the Examinations Syndicate and state education departments.

In any event, the seeds of these thinking skills in students must be first introduced when they start their school life at Year 1, not after finishing eight years in school. And to test them on these skills at the ninth year in school is being unfair on them, and on their Form 3 teachers.

…more
Education fiasco: Thinking skills missing at ministry level
K Kabilan
23/12/2014 – theantdaily.com

28
Dec
14

On 1MDB – PM answers Dr M but not ELECTED MPs?

Come clean on 1MDB investigations, PKR lawmaker tells Putrajaya

Putrajaya and police must break their silence over the ongoing probe into controversial 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MBD), said an opposition lawmaker today.

This, according to PKR Padang Serai MP N. Surendran, follows The Malaysian Insider report of a meeting between Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to discuss issues related to the strategic development firm.

Surendran said the public was entitled to a transparent and comprehensive investigation into the “massive financial mess” involving up to RM42 billion in public funds.

“Neither Najib nor Dr Mahathir has so far denied holding such a meeting. If true, this secret meeting raises serious questions about the ongoing investigations into the scandal,” he said in a statement today.

He added that despite promising that police were investigating the case, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has yet to provide information on the progress of the probe.

Police had opened an investigation paper on 1MDB after Batu Kawan Umno division deputy chief Datuk Paduka Khairuddin Abu Hassan lodged a report against the company over its alleged dubious financial activities and massive borrowings.

“The investigation into this unprecedented financial scandal must be done professionally and in accordance with due process of law by the duly constituted enforcement authorities.

“The authorities must break their silence on the progress of investigations. This investigation should be a national priority. The public has a right to know the truth.”

The Malaysian Insider reported yesterday that Najib met Dr Mahathir on Saturday but details of the meeting have not been revealed.

“It was cordial. The PM is satisfied with the meeting,” a source had told The Malaysian Insider.

The meeting came after the country’s longest serving prime minister had repeatedly raised questions about the heavy debt and use of funds at 1MDB and had complained about its operations via his blog as well as at various media conferences.

…more
Come clean on 1MDB investigations, PKR lawmaker tells Putrajaya
23 December 2014 – TMI

27
Dec
14

Unprecedented floods – STOP PLAYING GOLF, NAJIB!

STOP PLAYING GOLF, NAJIB! Over 90,000 displaced by floods – the highest ever but M’sia without a PM

As unprecedented floods hit Malaysian states, Prime Minister Najib Razak came in for a tongue-lashing by critics for not being at home to helm a major co-ordinated emergency move to help distraught victims.

“How can you smile and happily play golf with Obama while the people at home are terrified and confused about what will happen to them and their property,” Chegubard, an Opposition politician, wrote in a scathing attack on the PM’s well-known penchant for overseas trips and rubbing shoulders with the world’s powerful and wealthy.

According to media reports, Najib is in Hawaii, U.S. on a personal visit and was invited to play golf with Obama. The news and pictures appear to have been leaked by his aides in a seeming bid to bolster his prestige amid rising fury at his ‘weak’ leadership.

However, their move may have backfired and Najib is likely to find himself in the doghouse not only with an enraged populace but also with his Umno party-mates, especially former mentor-turned-critic Mahathir Mohamad.

‘Full Moon’ but what about neglected infrastruture? RM50 mil aid approved

The floods, which a harried Meteorological Department has even blamed on a full moon creating unprecedented natural phenomena, are ravaging five states in the peninsula.

The floods have resulted in the evacuation of more than 90,000 people – a figure which might be the highest in the nation’s history.

National news agency, Bernama, reports that 90,250 people were evacuated this morning with the highest number in Kelantan at 32,343, followed by Terengganu (28,991), Pahang (24,316), Perak (4,335) and Perlis (265).

The Finance Ministry has approved an immediate allocation of RM50 million for flood-hit states, said Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Husni Hanadzlah, reports Bernama today.

Worst ever floods in history

In Kelantan, 5,190 people were moved out of their homes overnight to add to the 27,153 already evacuated as of last night, according to the state government flood portal.

The latest evacuees were from the Tanah Merah and Kota Baru districts. Kota Baru has come to a standstill after Sungai Kelantan burst its banks there yesterday.

Seven of the eight other districts in the state – Gua Musang, Jeli, Kuala Krai, Machang, Pasir Mas, Pasir Puteh and Tumpat – are also affected by floods.

Kelantan has closed 37 roads as of today.

In Terengganu, Kemaman is the worst affected district with 19,400 evacuees.

In Pahang, Kuantan district had the highest number of evacuees at 14,350.

…more
25 December 2014 – Malaysia Chronicle
STOP PLAYING GOLF, NAJIB! Over 90,000 displaced by floods – the highest ever but M’sia without a PM

26
Dec
14

World leader criticized for playing golf in Hawaii – Washington Post

World leader criticized for playing golf in Hawaii (but it’s not Obama this time)

HONOLULU — A world leader is under fire for playing golf in Hawaii at a time of national crisis. Only this time, it’s not President Obama.

Rather, it’s Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who hit the links Wednesday with Obama at a course on a Marine base in Kaneohe Bay. Najib’s round surprised some of his countrymen, who are calling on him to return home to deal with massive flooding that has displaced tens of thousands.

Najib’s Facebook page was reportedly flooded with angry comments, and Malaysians also took to Twitter to complain that his vacation trip was inappropriate. Local news organizations picked up on the unhappiness.

“Come home, help flood victims instead of golfing in Hawaii, Najib told,” the Malaysian Insider reported.

“STOP PLAYING GOLF, NAJIB!” the Malaysia Chronicle wrote.

Najib was in Hawaii on a vacation at the same time as Obama, and the White House said the president invited the prime minister for a round. Obama, who has been criticized for playing golf, including after the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by the Islamic State militant group, has played several rounds since arriving on the island late Friday.

The frustration over Najib’s round was apparent on Twitter.

…more
World leader criticized for playing golf in Hawaii (but it’s not Obama this time)
By David Nakamura
December 25 2014 – www.washingtonpost.com




Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 1) (Part 2)
BN govt is directing attention to distant past and distant future, in order to distract people from present misdeeds and poor governance
Felda - A picture is worth a thousand words
How the 1MDB Scandal Spread Across the World (WSJ)
We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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