Archive for January, 2016

29
Jan
16

More packing up and leaving Malaysia

It’s the dawn of 2016 and at least another 10,000 Malaysians of various ethnic background can be expected to take the emotional, life-changing step to uproot and move to Australia in the course of the new year.

They will join the rapidly-expanding Malaysian diaspora who are now either permanent residents or have become citizens down under.

In the 2011 census, the number of Malaysia-born in the country was about 116,000 but the annual increase has been considerable since then.

The data for June 30, 2014 put the number at approximately 154,000 – a sharp jump of about 38,000 from the last count.

The migrant flow from Malaysia to Australia has thus been more than 10,000 a year within that short period – the highest ever recorded.

In comparison, the number of arrivals from Malaysia from 2006 to 2011 was about 32,000. It’s not just the Chinese and Indians but the Malays as well who have been heading south.

The 2011 census also show that among the Malaysia-born in Australia 7, 224 gave their religious affiliation as Islam.

Ahmad Zaharuddin Sani, a Malaysian academic, highlighted the emerging Malay population in his research “Malay In Victoria: Past, Present and Future”.

Most have settled in the state of Victoria and a great number of them are professionals. There is also an extensive Malay network for both residents and students, and an initiative to build the first Malay mosque in Melbourne.

In spite of the current rise in resentment against Muslims among some sections of the local community, it has been envisaged that the number of Malays in Australia will continue to increase.

The recent ruling by the courts in favour of allowing the building of a mosque in the township of Bendigo can be read as the triumph of the rule of law over prejudice and bigotry.

Only about 300 of the 110,000 Bendigo’s population are Muslims but the local council’s policies are non-discriminatory and it consequently approved the application for the A$3 million (RM9.3 million) mosque construction.

This was in the face of vocal opposition by various groups, including those harbouring strong ethno-religious sentiments. Appeal after appeal against the council ruling were thrown out by the courts are every stage of the legal process.

Another development that will add to the influx of Malaysians is the relaxation of residency and work requirements for foreign students once they graduate from Australian education institutions.

Canberra in a move to encourage these new graduates to stay back has introduced a Temporary Graduate Visa that enables them to work, travel and study for a further two years or more.

It’s a pretty transparent and straight-forward online application process without the necessity of having to go through an agent or third party. Of course Canberra welcomes these graduates and other professionals. The country needs new taxpayers to support its swelling ageing population.

The Malaysian student population in Australia has been estimated at 30,000 and thousands of them graduate every year.

…more
More packing up and leaving Malaysia
George Chang
14 January 2016 – TMI

25
Jan
16

Lame excuse that illegal bauxite miners would just “run away” during raids!

Bauxite saga: MP raps MB over ‘they run away’ excuse

Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob has come under fire for claiming state authorities could not detain illegal miners as they would “run away” during raids.

Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh said the Pahang government should cease bauxite mining permanently if it is incapable of nabbing illegal miners.

“The entire state Land and Mines Office is unable to control (illegal bauxite mining) and is involved in serious corruption scandals.

“This is a clear indication that we cannot allow mining to continue even after the moratorium expires.

“The Pahang government is unable to control the mining industry before and will not be able to do so after,” she told Malaysiakini.

A three-month moratorium on bauxite activities, negotiated by the federal government, was imposed effective Jan 16 following widespread pollution due to unregulated and indiscriminate mining.

A massive clean-up effort has since commenced and exporters have been instructed to relocate bauxite stockpiles away from the sea and water sources which have become polluted.

In an interview with the New Straits Times published today, Adnan said he does not have a definitive answer on dealing with illegal miners.

“When NST asks me, what are you going to do with the illegal miners, I don’t have a definite answer because based on the current laws and practices, if the illegal mining is done on private land, then we can take action using the National Land Code 1965.

“If illegal mining is done on state land, we can raid the area but, almost invariably when we raid the area, the operators will run away. Then, all we can do is seize their machinery,” he said.

Adnan also appeared to point the finger at Putrajaya over the poor regulation, noting that most of the agencies responsible were under the federal government.

…more
Bauxite saga: MP raps MB over ‘they run away’ excuse
18 Jan 2016 – Malaysiakini

23
Jan
16

Ensure PT3 successful before changing UPSR format

Sort out Form 3 mess first before changing UPSR format, NUTP tells Education

The Education Ministry should ensure that the Form 3 Assessment (PT3) – which is 40% school-based assessment and 60% examination-based – is successful before thinking about applying a similar format to the Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), the teachers’ union says.

National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) president Hashim Adnan said implementing such a format now would only invite problems, because teachers and students were still trying to familiarise themselves with the PT3 concept introduced in 2014.

“We have yet to see what is in the ministry’s proposal. Many students and parents were unhappy when PT3 replaced the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR),” he told The Malaysian Insider.

He said the ministry should not be hasty in implementing the format for UPSR as it would not benefit pupils in the long run.

“The losers here will be the pupils. They will become the victims.

“If there are still many unresolved problems in PT3, how can we implement such a format for UPSR?

“We should solve it first, all the issues surrounding the conversion from PMR to PT3. Once we are satisfied with that, then we can start thinking whether we should change the format for UPSR.”

Hashim said NUTP was not against the ministry’s plan to improve the education system but felt that the risk was too high if done hastily.

“If there are still issues with PT3, don’t go and create a new problem with UPSR.

“NUTP is not hindering any education development plan. We just want weaknesses within the PT3 to be settled before moving on with changes to UPSR.”

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid last Tuesday reportedly said the ministry would meet all stakeholders in stages this year to get their views on the proposal.

He said the proposal to change the UPSR examination to a school-based assessment could materialise in one to two years.

…more
18 January 2016 – TMI
Sort out Form 3 mess first before changing UPSR format, NUTP tells Education
Ministry

21
Jan
16

Parents fed up with education policy flip-flops

Fed up with policy flip-flops, brainwashing, parents turn to home-schooling

An outdated school system, education policy flip-flops and religious indoctrination are among the reasons cited by parents who choose to home-school their children.

This is despite the fact that primary education is compulsory in Malaysia and permission from the Education Ministry is required if parents want to keep their children out of school, which is usually only granted if a child has severe health problems.

And because most parents do not have approval from the authorities, it is impossible to estimate how many children are being home-schooled, whether at home by their parents or at “learning centres” under the guidance of tutors.

Author Chong Wai Leng, who runs a support network blog for parents of home-schoolers called Learning Beyond Schooling, says there is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that the “unschooling” concept, as she prefers to call it, is growing and not limited to the main cities but smaller towns, such as Port Dickson and even in Kota Baru.

Another indication that home-schooling has more followers since it started in Malaysia more than 20 years ago is that there are more and more new faces, especially young parents of all races, spotted at events organised for home-schooled children.

Chong said there were many reasons parents opted to home-school their children, but one of the more recent factors was disillusionment with the schooling system, which she described as “messed up” and subject to policy flip-flops.

There were also parents who have to deal with children who disliked going to school, she added.

“Kids today are exposed to technology and learning from the iPad from the time they are in the womb but then have to go to school and use wooden chairs and tables, and in addition have to cope with so much writing and homework.

“There is a real mismatch right there between the children of today and how schools are teaching them.

“Technology has advanced so much, and in the West, for instance, they do things differently, they are not so bogged down by curriculum, but their children learn just as much, if not more.”

For Jessica, it was the creeping religious indoctrination and her lack of confidence in the school system which prompted her take her eldest son out of a reputable government school in the Klang Valley.

The 46-year-old mother said who only wanted to be known by that name said there was too much focus on one religion in public schools, while those of the other faiths were neglected.

“Indoctrination was one thing, but the neglect of the non-Malay students was alarming at the government school my son attended. They just leave them on their own in class while the Muslim students went to solat camp and other religious activities.

“Then there was the case of the English test paper that was full of grammatical errors to the point that even the students were making fun of it.

“So I took it to the principal, and after staring at it for five minutes, she could not find the mistakes and said she saw no issue with the paper.

“That was the limit for me,” Jessica told The Malaysian Insider.

…more
Fed up with policy flip-flops, brainwashing, parents turn to home-schooling
16 January 2016 – TMI

19
Jan
16

When the rumour-monger is a minister himself…

COMMENT The authorities are rightly concerned about rumour-mongering.

After all, when rumours build up, people become unduly worried over the possibility of a curfew or racial clash, and now, what comes closer to home is another possible terrorist attack equivalent to that in central Jakarta.

Against the backdrop of rumour spreading on social media that an Islamic State (IS) attack may target places like Bukit Bintang, Bangsar, Hartamas and other important tourist destinations, a friend on her way to church in Petaling Jaya yesterday said that she saw the police and an ambulance in the morning.

I am merely using this as an example, because she did not even link it with the IS attack, but given the situation, things could have created a big scare everywhere.

Rumour-mongering is irresponsible

We know the bogeyman of May 13 has been used again and again by BN politicians, but now, even irresponsible statements are made to create a public phobia of another possible IS attack.

What’s worse is that it was also in the news that several hotspots such as key shopping malls and tourist areas have been identified as possible targets for terrorist attacks. This is ‘official news’ announced by a cabinet minister and a senior member of Umno.

Not forgetting such news could have been picked up elsewhere, and this will drive down tourist arrivals. Even a cousin of mine from Australia sent me a WhatsApp message: “Is it true attempted bomb in Malaysia I had TV on but doing work kitchen heard M’sia didn’t hear full news” (quoted word-by-word).

I had to pull out the news about two South Korean tourists causing a minor bomb scare at Bukit Bintang, but at the same time, I came across the federal minister’s statement.

Although it is now clear that it was the case of the parang-wielding gang robbery at a petrol station in Kampung Sungai Ara, what if my friend had immediately linked it to the rumour that she heard about a possible attack at the Curve and she started spreading on WhatsApp that she noticed the presence of the police and an ambulance?

Would tension not be raised so high that if I had to react to it, I might have to stock up a lot of food for my family? While I may be prudent in urging members of my extended family not to visit these places for now, this is what rumour-mongering can lead us into and we become unnecessarily frantic.

Would tourists also cancel their visit to Malaysia? After all, the possibility of a terrorist attack on Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore cannot be denied, and I am glad that the Royal Malaysian Police is taking this seriously.

My question is, what if the source of the rumour is himself a cabinet minister? In short, how embarrassing it is that the rumour-monger is none other than Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor himself!

Justice must be seen to be done

Would Tengku Adnan also be investigated for rumour-mongering? In fact, even worse, he came out in the news as a member of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s cabinet identifying the specific hotspots and key shopping malls where an IS attack may be imminent.

This is not good for the economy. What is his motive? Did he even have the authority to say anything of this nature, especially since he is the Federal Territories minister and the Curve is not even under his jurisdiction?

Did he do justice to those shopping malls he had identified, which are located in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur? Did he hurt the sentiments of the traders in these shopping malls, whose businesses have already dropped? Should they also lodge a police report against him, for making public statements that confirmed the rumours already spreading on social media?

Would the police now charge him over the statement he made, since he has no authority to make such a statement, since he is not a member of the National Security Council? Had the unauthorised statement come from a civil servant, would he have been transferred immediately, or sacked?

Is Tengku Adnan also just as guilty of rumour-mongering, perhaps was he trying to stifle and sabotage the country’s economy, leading to what is sometimes an overused statement – everything is “a threat to our national security”?

…more
When the rumour-monger is a minister himself…
18 Jan 2016 – Malaysiakini

17
Jan
16

Norway invested oil wealth and has sovereign wealth fund now worth US$865 billion, and Malaysia…?

Blessed with sweet crude, but cursed with bitter debts

COMMENT Petronas has contributed about RM800 billion to the government since its inception in 1974.

In 2008 alone Petronas contributed about 44 percent of the federal government revenue, but this has dropped to 31 percent in 2014 and it expected to drop further to 22 percent in 2016.

Fossil oil, called black gold, was once priced at US$110 (RM482) a barrel is now hovering around US$30 (RM131.43) a barrel.

Crude oil has plummeted to a new low, never seen for a long time, and the market foresees a worsening supply gluts along with slowdown in demand. So the good old days of high oil revenue are over and Malaysia has to tighten its fiscal belt.

Wastage, pilferage and leakages in public spending have to be curbed but the Umno/BN government has a poor record on this spending. The government for the first time has turned to tax people by introducing GST to raise revenue. It’s a known fact that governments with rich natural resources are poor in managing wealth.

Petronas, the government saviour, sits tight in its 88-storey Twin Towers, once the world’s tallest twin buildings, dominate the skyline of Kuala Lumpur.

Over the years, prime ministers have tapped into Petronas’ funds to build their dream projects, such as the Twin Towers, and bail out their mistakes, like Bank Bumiputra Bhd in 1985 with RM3.5 billion, saving a debt-ridden shipping company and even rescuing Proton at one point.

Petronas is only accountable to the Prime Minister’s Office but it has been used by powerful Umno politicians for lucrative and exorbitant contracts.

Now, Petronas is finally trying to say ‘no’ – which may lead to strained relations between Petronas and the government.

The resource-rich Umno/BN government has been less dependent on taxes for revenue and thus less accountable to Malaysians – and therefore became more authoritarian, using oppressive laws and tactics to rein opposition and dissenting voices.

Opposition to the construction of white elephant and extravagant projects, built at high prices, went unheard.

Now that oil revenue has reduced drastically and a new indirect tax, the goods and services tax (GST), has been introduced, the government will be forced to be more accountable.

The divide-and-rule policies of yesteryear may lose their bait and those taxed now, for the first time, will demand more accountability.

Nation remains heavily indebted

Despite the RM800 billion oil revenues paid by Petronas for the past 50 years, Malaysia remains heavily indebted, with public debt at RM582.8 billion or 54.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and household debt at RM940.4 billion or 87.9 percent of the GDP at the end of 2014.

Malaysia had to face a continuous budget deficit for the past 16 years. Essential services, such as the supply of water, electricity and highways, just to name a few are all privatised.

Malaysia has driven away its skilled and knowledgeable citizens to other countries and instead imported 6.7 million legal and illegal unskilled foreign workers, who are stagnating the wages of Malaysian workers. Only 28 percent of our labour force is considered skilled, compared with 50 percent in Singapore.

Malaysia did create the National Trust Fund in 1988 to ensure revenue from natural resources, including oil and gas, continues to generate wealth for future generations.

As of 2013, Petronas was the sole contributor to the fund, with cumulative contributions of RM8 billion. With more demand for dividend payment from the government, Petronas will have less to contribute to this fund in future.

Malaysia has spent away RM792 billion of the revenue received from Petronas since 1974.

Norway started oil production in 1971 and had managed its oil wealth to protect future generations and invest the money generated in education and human resource development.

For many countries, resource wealth seems to have been a curse, rather than a blessing. But Norway has invested, instead of spending, and the country today holds one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, which has grown from zero to US$865 billion within 18 years.

…more
Blessed with sweet crude, but cursed with bitter debts
S Ramakrishnan
15 Jan 2016 – Malaysiakini

16
Jan
16

Race to make money from bauxite with high cost to human health

Bauxite Mining

(source: Drone)

The race to make money is carried out at any cost

QUICK TAKE: When will the people of Kuantan learn that all that glitters is not gold, and all that the Umno Baru politicians tell them is not the truth? Have they forgotten Lynas?

It was alleged that when the Lynas rare-earth facility was built, the Malays were the last to take heed of the dangers. Urban legend has it that the Chinese stopped buying the keropok Lekor.

The Malays investigated the drop in sales, and found out that the Chinese were afraid of putting their children’s health at risk by feeding them the keropok, which was made from fish, caught in the waters off the coast of Kuantan. Only then did the Malay take an interest in what was happening at the Lynas plant.

Now, history is repeating itself. The authorities do nothing, and have no desire to intervene because the leaders who allow the mining, both legal and illegal, do not want to upset their potential voters.

China has an insatiable appetite for bauxite, the ore which yields aluminium. When Indonesia stopped exports of bauxite to China last year, Malaysia picked up the slack.

There has been a meteoric rise in exports and the government, both federal and state, are unwilling to regulate bauxite mining.

People are digging up their backyards in the Felda settlements, because they can make easy money from just selling the earth.

There is nothing to do, nothing to process, filter or collect, unlike harvesting the oil palm or rubber trees. They just dig up the land, dump the soil onto lorries and race to the port, in Kuantan, where it is loaded onto ships bound for China. Easy work. Easy money!

The price has been the red dust and red sludge that covers buildings, trees, vegetation, rivers and seas. It stains clothes, buildings and vehicles, clings to skin and hair, and gets into your lungs. It is an environmental and health disaster that is about to explode.

Don’t depend on Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob to do something. He is not known for being proactive. In August 2015, the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) took samples of earth, water and bauxite from the mining areas, and the results were released a month later.

Warned of this action, the people merely intensified extraction of the bauxite. They wanted to make money quickly, in case the mining would be regulated. As a precaution, Adnan should have stopped the mining activities, until the results were known.

He claimed that the state government treated the bauxite matter with utmost seriousness, but he said that it was not possible to stop people from making an income. Perhaps, there are other reasons, too sensitive to mention.

His lack of leadership has now turned Kuantan into a living, red nightmare, which will continue for decades. Not everyone benefited from the mining, but they and the opposition politicians, who tried to highlight the dangers, were powerless to stop the operation.

Come GE14, it is hoped the electorate will know what sort of failure Adnan has been. He only thinks of himself and his party. He failed to think of the well-being of everyone in Kuantan and in Pahang.

Eco-tourism activities will suffer. Fishermen will be affected, as will normal road users and ordinary households, in and around Kuantan.

Bauxite contains arsenic, mercury, lead and other radioactive material. It affects marine life and poses a threat to human health. In the near future, there will be an explosion of health problems, and a pollution of land, air and water, that may never recover.

This is Adnan’s legacy.

…more
The race to make money is carried out at any cost
13 Jan 2016 – Ant Daily
by Mariam Mokhtar




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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