December 18th, 2012

Bila Sanusi buka mulut

Sudah lama tidak mendengar bekas Menteri Pembangunan Negara dan Luar Bandar, Tan Sri Sanusi Junid berpidato. Kelmarin, Sanusi melepaskan geramnya pada majlis Pidato Peradaban Melayu anjuran Institusi Peradaban Melayu, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), Tanjung Malim. Sememangnya, beliau mempunyai pandangan yang berbeza yang memerlukan penilaian.

                                           Sanusi Junid
Beliau memetik kenyataan Aristotle yang mengatakan adalah mustahil bangsa yang tidak mempunyai kuasa ekonomi mampu memiliki kuasa politik. Dengan kata lain, sesebuah bangsa yang mahu menguasai kuasa politik mesti menguasai kuasa ekonomi. Begitu juga dengan keadaan sesuatu bangsa yang tidak mempunyai kuasa ekonomi, tidak boleh menguasai kuasa politik. Jika ini satu teori politik, bermakna ia perlu ditolak. Teori ini tidak terpakai di Malaysia. Apa apa yang dikatakan oleh Aristotle itu tidak praktikal di Malaysia. Menurut Sanusi, inilah antara kehebatan orang Melayu, tanpa kuasa ekonomi pun mereka boleh mendapat kuasa politik, manakala orang Cina yang mempunyai kuasa ekonomi dibawa bersama menguasai kuasa politik dengan orang Melayu. Senario ini juga berlaku di Indonesia tetapi dengan cara yang berbeza meskipun kuasa ekonomi di republik itu juga dikuasai kaum Cina. Bercakap dengan tajuk Perpaduan Dalam Peradaban Melayu, Sanusi berkata bangsa Melayu adalah bangsa yang sangat hebat. Beliau memberi contoh sikap, karakter, amalan, budaya hinggalah kepada soal bahasa bagi mengukuhkan hujah beliau untuk menunjukkan betapa hebatnya orang Melayu.

Sanusi juga menjelaskan proses atau putaran peradaban orang Melayu daripada satu keadaan kepada satu keadaan yang lain berikutan perubahan sikap dan suasana semasa. Beliau juga mengambil kira peradaban dan keagungan Kesultanan Melayu sebagai institusi terhebat di dunia hari ini. Walaupun ada sifat-sifat positif orang Melayu, beliau juga sinis khasnya terhadap perpecahan orang Melayu. Beliau membuat analogi perpecahan orang Melayu dengan alam perkahwinan yang berkesudahan dengan perceraian. Setelah hidup berbelas atau berpuluh tahun bersama, tentulah begitu banyak kebaikan yang dilakukan oleh suami atau isteri ke atas pasangan masing-masing. Jika menjalin hubungan sebelum ke jenjang pelamin, tentunya mereka sudah terlebih dulu mengenali hati budi antara satu dengan lain. Malangnya, semua kebaikan yang mereka tempuh bersama tidak diambil kira apabila berlaku hanya satu atau dua peristiwa yang menyebabkan mereka bercerai. Hanya ‘kejadian buruk’ itu saja yang mereka ungkit saban hari sedangkan kebaikan yang berpuluh tahun tidak pernah dikenang. Inilah yang menyebabkan berlakunya perpe-cahan orang Melayu.

Sanusi juga bercerita mengenai perbezaan Melayu profesional dan profesional Melayu. Baginya, Melayu profesional adalah golongan yang memikirkan soal bangsa mereka dengan semangat yang tinggi. Sebarang keputusan mengambil kira soal budaya, peradaban, generasi dan sebagainya, manakala profesional Melayu adalah sekumpulan Melayu yang dilatih supaya menjadi tokoh korporat dan bertindak secara profesional tanpa mengambil kira soal bangsa. Jika berasakan dari segi perniagaan, menjual sesuatu hartanah itu menguntungkan, profesional Melayu akan menjual atas keputusan profesional.

Mior Kamarul Shahid Berita Harian Online Rencana 17 Disember 2012

Set high standards for schools

I REFER to the letter "A US education opens many minds" (NST, Dec 4). We need to recognise that the purpose of education is the preservation and enhancement of knowledge, the development of character and the cultivation of human potential which will best prepare the individual for the evolving cultural, social, economic and political conditions both at present and, more importantly, in the future.

Secondly, we need to empower "players" within the education system (policy-makers, administrators, teachers, students and community representatives) to pursue achieving excellence and to ensure that everyone who passes through the system has access to all that's needed -- without compromise, impediment or discrimination -- to pursue that goal.

The American education system aims to establish and achieve the highest standards through a variety of measures. These include:

Textbooks that will emphasise student understanding;

Student assessments that will test whether students understand and can use at high levels the knowledge and skills in the specific content area;

Instructional programmes and methods that will emphasise not only the basics but also reasoning and problem solving;

Teacher education and professional development that will prepare educators to teach to challenging levels; and

New technologies that will increase learning to meet standards geared to internationally competitive levels of performance.

Achieving high academic standards requires an education system that is rigorous, dynamic and intellectually arousing in content and methodology, has adequate and quality resource support and is regularly monitored and evaluated for corrections and upgrading.

Also, students should be facilitated to be an active part of a system that systematically applies higher order thinking skills combined with creative assignments and projects, and continuous objective assessments based on a broad range of criteria.

In any area of human endeavour, we know the great value of holding those concerned to the highest standards and unless we expect and demand those standards, it will not bring out the best in anyone, or in any enterprise or system.

That's true for the education system as well. When we do not hold all concerned to the highest academic standards that are in the context of the needs of the times, the result can be low, distorted achievements and the tragedy of students emerging, at various levels from such a system without ever having been challenged to fulfill their potential.

Establishing high standards lets everyone in the education system know what to aim for. They allow every student, parent and teacher to share in common expectations of what students should know and be able to accomplish.

Students will learn more when more is expected of them, in school and at home. And, systematically and progressively maintaining high standards will help create coherence and complementarities in educational practices by aligning teacher education, instructional materials and methods and assessment practices.

High education standards achievement doesn't occur by pitching it at a high level and expecting every student and teacher to cope with attaining expected goals. Rather, it starts from preschool years to make certain that all children will start first year at school ready to learn.

Through the school system, every child must be supported and provided all opportunities to graduate, having completed secondary school.

All students should be facilitated to complete their schooling having demonstrated competency over challenging subjects including the national language, English, mathematics, science, pupil's own and foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography,

The nation's teaching complement must have access to programmes for the continued improvement of their professional skills and the opportunity to acquire the knowledge needed to instruct and prepare our students for the 21st century.

Every school should promote partnerships that will increase parental and community involvement in promoting the social, emotional and academic growth of children.

It is, therefore, essential that for the education system to be one of, if not the best, we need to make sure that our children always get the most out of it at different levels, from preschool to primary, secondary and through colleges, universities and trade and technical schools.

Simply put, every school must be geared towards ensuring that all students learn to use their minds well, so they are prepared for further learning as they proceed to tertiary levels, to expand their knowledge and later specialise in selected fields; exercising their rights, duties and obligations as responsible citizens; and, using their knowledge and skills to fulfill productive employment needs in the nation's modernising economy.

Rueben Dudley, Petaling Jaya, Selangor |  New Straits Times Letters to the Editors 18 December 2012 

Corruption: It can only be contained and not eradicated

CORRUPTION, like prostitution, is an ugly word. Professor Syed Hussein al Attas in his book, The Sociology of Corruption, gives a balanced view but takes the position it can do more harm than good.

Businessmen understand the word better than others for they are in the business of competition. They are ruled by the law of the jungle where the fittest and most cunning survive. The competition they are in may not necessarily be a level playing field.

The film Shawshank Redemption is a classic case of a highly corrupt warden where everything has its price. Even his childhood friend was expected to bribe him for a small project.

In theory, businessmen prefer not to corrupt anybody. They know it is a sin to do so for the giver and the receiver are equally frowned upon by God and the law.

In reality, what choice does the businessmen have? How can we change their negative perception that every business dealing is not transparent or above board?

A friend who was an Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) (now Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) officer took optional retirement to go into business. Despite revealing he was a former ACA officer when dealing with unscrupulous civil servants, he was ignored and told that there were others who were willing to pay. After 10 years of heartache, he gave up and decided to work again.

In some countries, corruption is a way of life. It covers not only business; even vagrants have to pay to sleep under the lamp post. Comparatively, Malaysia is not as bad.

Will daily reporting of corruption be good for the country?

Even the corruption index by Transparency International sends shivers as it can affect foreign investment and tourism.

Perhaps the MACC should work quietly but effectively. But then, the rakyat have a right to know and it also gives political mileage to the ruling party.

At the end of the day, we have to accept that corruption, like prostitution, cannot be eradicated; it can only be contained for there is always the "giver" and the "receiver".

Hassan Talib, Gombak, Selangor | New Straits Times Letters to the Editor 18 December 2012