September 23rd, 2013

Malaysia is laughing stock over ‘Chin Peng’ affair, says ex-IGP

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — The world will laugh at Malaysia if Putrajaya insists on not allowing Chin Peng’s remains to be buried in his home country here, former top cop Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Mohd Noor has said.

Abdul Rahim — who had led the peace negotiations between Malaysia and the Malayan Communist Party (CPM) as the Special Branch chief then in the late 1980s — said it was unfair to ban Chin Peng from the country, noting that other Malay former communists have been allowed to return home.

“If the government — the authorities — succumb to this public pressure not to allow Chin Peng’s ashes to be brought back, I think, we are making Malaysia a laughing stock to the whole world,” Abdul Rahim said in an interview aired on business station BFM yesterday.

“If you say that Chin Peng as secretary-general of the party (CPM) is the highest-most member, then he qualifies to get all the privileges, advantages or whatever promises made in the agreements, which includes for him to be allowed to come back,” he added, referring to the Hat Yai Peace Accord in 1989.

The peace talks in the 1980s had led to the three-way peace treaty between the CPM and the Malaysian and Thai governments that allow CPM members, who have laid down their arms, to return to Malaysia if they so desired.

Abdul Rahim, a former inspector-general of police, said it was “grossly unfair” that Chin Peng had not been allowed to return to Malaysia permanently or to even make social visits, pointing out that CPM chairman Abdullah CD was even given an audience with Perak Sultan.

“Rashid Maidin, I was told, performed his pilgrimage through KL with the help of the Malaysian authorities. What’s all this?” said Abdul Rahim, referring to the CPM central committee member.

MCA urged Putrajaya again yesterday to allow Chin Peng’s burial in Malaysia, hinting that the government’s refusal to let the ethnic Chinese’s remains enter the country could be viewed as a racially motivated decision.

Datuk Heng Seai Kie, publicity chief of the Barisan Nasional (BN) Chinese party, pointed out that two Malay suspected terrorists who were allegedly behind the bombings in Bali and Jakarta — Dr Azahari Husin and Nordin Mohamad Top  had been buried in Malaysia.

Abdul Rahim also said yesterday that the argument against allowing Chin Peng to be interred in Malaysia was “a bit naïve”, but stressed that he would not presume the ban was made along racial lines.

“As far as Chin Peng’s case is concerned, we created a situation where we made a mockery of the agreements,” he said.

Abdul Rahim also warned that barring Chin Peng’s burial from his hometown in Sitiawan, Perak, would make the once-feared communist leader an icon.

“Specifically, I think it is not good for the ruling party, particularly in their attempts post the 13th general election, to win back Chinese Malaysian support,” he said.

Abdul Rahim said that Chin Peng, the man born Ong Boon Hua, should be remembered for his role and the CPM’s role in fighting against British colonial rule.

Chin Peng died in Bangkok, Thailand, on Monday at the age of 88 after spending his final years there in exile.

Chin Peng’s last wish was to be buried in Sitiawan, but Putrajaya had strongly rejected the idea immediately after his death, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak labelling him a “terrorist leader that waged war on the nation”.

Chin Peng’s aide had reportedly confirmed that the former CPM secretary-general will be cremated according to Buddhist rites in Bangkok next Monday.

Yesterday, Najib said Putrajaya will not send representatives to attend Chin Peng’s funeral and insisted that the government will not allow his remains to enter Malaysia.

“We do not pay respects to people who are responsible for the deaths of thousands of people,” he said, referring to the decades-long bloody insurgency by the Communists that lasted until the Hat Yai Peace Accord in 1989.

Najib said he had personally gone through details of the accord, and confirmed that CPM members who agreed to the terms had to apply for citizenship within one year of the signing of the agreement.

“He refused to do that and did not do anything to pursue it, so his rights have expired. He has relinquished his rights,” he said of the government’s refusal to recognise Chin Peng as a Malaysian citizen.

The Malay Mail OnlineSat, Sep 21, 2013

The world will laugh at us, says ex-top cop who negotiated 1989 peace treaty with Chin Peng

A former top cop has warned that Malaysia will be made a laughing stock if the government is adamant about its “naïve” decision to refuse to allow Chin Peng’s ashes to be brought back to be interred.

Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Mohd Noor, a former inspector-general of police, said this would also help turn the ex-communist leader into an icon and that it was a step backwards in the government’s attempts to win back Chinese support following the poor performance in the last general election.

“There is a hue and cry from the public not to even allow his ashes (back into Malaysia). My God... this is stretching the argument a bit too far. It’s a bit naive I think.

“If the government succumbs to this public pressure not to allow Chin Peng's ashes to be brought back, I think, we are making Malaysia a laughing stock to the whole world,” he said in an interview from the United Kingdom that aired on BFM yesterday.

Abdul Rahim, who was Special Branch director at that time, led the peace talks which culminated in the Haadyai Peace Treaty 1989. It officially ended the Communist Party of Malaya’s armed struggle against the government.

The refusal to allow Chin Peng into the country even when he was alive, he said, also made a mockery of the 1989 treaty.

He said he convinced the government at that time to engage with the communists in talks, more than 30 years after the failed 1955 Baling negotiations.

He said that even though the 12-year Emergency was lifted in 1960, security forces were still battling communist remnants in the 1980s, but the decline of communism in the region was an opportunity for renewed peace negotiations.

At that time, there were still around 2,000 communists along the Malaysian-Thai border, with the two largest groups being the North Malayan Bureau and the 10th Regiment, which largely comprised Malays, he said.

He said that with the backing of then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Special Branch secretly initiated negotiations with the communists at the end of 1987 and early 1988 on Phuket Island over five rounds of talks.

As a result, the 1989 treaty was signed in Haadyai comprising two agreements, one containing the core terms and the other administrative details on how the terms would be implemented.

“I was involved in the drafting of both agreements, so I know full well that under the terms of the agreements, all the agreements applied are binding on every CPM member, from the highest topmost to the bottom.

“So if you say that Chin Peng, as secretary-general of the party (CPM) is the highest most member, then he qualifies to get all the privileges, advantages or whatever promises made in the agreement, which includes for him to be allowed to come back (to Malaysia),” Abdul Rahim said.

He said, according to the agreement, in the event these former communist members were not allowed to permanently return to Malaysia, they should be allowed to enter the country on social visits.

“But in the case of Chin Peng, he was not allowed both. To me, it’s absurd, totally absurd. It’s unfair, grossly unfair... There were other ex-communists who were allowed to come back and they were mainly Malays,” he said.

“Abdullah CD (CPM chairperson) was allowed to come back to Malaysia and was even given an audience with the current sultan of Perak. Rashid Maidin (CPM central committee member), I was told, performed his pilgrimage through KL with the help of the Malaysian authorities. What’s all this?”

He, however, was not prepared to presume that the government’s decision was along racial lines. As far as he was concerned, in Chin Peng’s case, the government had made a mockery of the peace agreement.

He said the public did not seem to understand the context of the international communist struggle and instead perceived the 40 years of communist insurrection in Malaya was Chin Peng’s fight alone and that he was the only one calling all the shots.

“I do not know why it should develop along this line (Chin Peng versus government). The fact is that good or bad - whatever Chin Peng was - the background is a peace treaty had been signed. We got to jolly well honour the terms and conditions,” he said.

Chin Peng spent a third of his life in exile in Thailand.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has said the country will not budge from its stand to prevent Chin Peng’s remains from being brought back, and challenged those unhappy with the decision to seek legal redress.

Checkpoints into the country were also on high alert to prevent his remains from being smuggled in.

Yesterday, Barisan National coalition party MCA said that Chin Peng's remains should be allowed to be brought back here for last rites.

The party's bureau chairman Datuk Heng Seai Kie, in explanation, pointed out that the remains of terrorists Dr Azahari Husin and Nordin Mohamad Top were allowed to be buried in Malaysia.

In response, Malay rights group Perkasa took MCA to task, warning the party not to “upset the Malays”.

Its secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali said many Malays and Chinese had died at the hands of the communists.

Chin Peng, whose real name was Ong Boon Hua, died in a Bangkok hospital on Malaysia Day, a month short of his 89th birthday. He had repeatedly voiced his wish to be buried in his hometown of Sitiawan, Perak.

He fled to China in 1961 and later settled in Bangkok where he was granted an alien passport.

He reportedly moved to Haadyai in recent years and shuttled between Haadyai and Bangkok for cancer treatment.

He became secretary-general of the Communist Party of Malaya at the age of 23 and was Britain’s “enemy number one” in Southeast Asia at the height of the communist insurgency in Malaya. - September 21, 2013.

The Malaysian InsiderSat, Sep 21, 2013

Kurang tepat kaitkan semangat guru dengan pilihan terakhir pekerjaan

'BANYAK guru tidak memiliki semangat untuk mengajar kerana profesion itu adalah pilihan terakhir dalam mencari pekerjaan'. Demikian satu daripada resolusi yang dibangkitkan dalam Forum Konsep Baharu Pendidikan Abad Ke-21 di Universiti Malaya pada 10 September lalu.

Benarkah guru tiada semangat mengajar? Berapa banyak yang terlibat dan apakah pendekatan yang digunakan untuk mengukur tahap minat mereka? Isu tidak minat ini sering dikaitkan dengan profesion perguruan. Adakah masalah ini tidak berlaku dalam profesion atau kementerian yang lain?

Eloklah soal minat ini diberikan penekanan dalam proses pengambilan pelajar untuk mengikuti kursus perguruan. Kaedah yang berkesan perlu digunakan dalam ujian dan temuduga supaya dapat dikenal pasti calon yang benar-benar berminat.

Jika calon A memiliki Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia dengan 10A berbanding calon B dengan 3A 7B; dan setelah dinilai calon B memiliki minat jauh lebih baik daripada calon A, siapakah yang lebih layak menjadi guru? Oleh itu kecemerlangan akademik sahaja bukan syarat mutlak kerana semangat keguruan perlu diambil kira dalam pemilihan pelajar yang mengikuti ijazah perguruan.

Namun perkara yang lebih mencabar ialah bagaimana untuk mengekalkan semangat guru dalam jangka panjang. Setelah 10 tahun berkhidmat, adakah minat mereka semakin meningkat atau berlaku sebaliknya?

Selaras dengan tranfomarsi pendidikan, maka pelbagai program dilaksanakan seperti Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah (PBS), Satu Murid Satu Sukan dan yang terbaharu Pelan Pembangunan Pendidikan Malaysia. Sudah tentu ini menuntut komitmen yang tinggi daripada setiap guru.

Tuntutan terhadap tugas hakiki guru ialah mengajar walaupun mereka menyedari tugas pentadbiran merupakan sebahagian daripada tanggungjawab mereka. Namun tugas tambahan dan perkeranian yang terlalu banyak boleh mengganggu fokus guru dalam proses pengajaran dan pembelajaran. Keadaan ini boleh menjejaskan minat guru terhadap tugas hakiki.

Begitu juga peranan pentadbir sekolah khususnya dalam mengurus sumber tenaga pengajar perlu bijaksana misalnya dari segi kemahiran berkomunikasi, memberi penghargaan dan menghormati pandangan guru. Baharulah wujud suasana mesra guru.

Bagi guru yang terbukti bersemangat rendah, eloklah diberikan motivasi dan kursus. Namun apakah tindakan seterusnya jika mereka tetap berprestasi rendah?

Sebenarnya faktor yang mempengaruhi semangat guru adalah pelbagai seperti beban tugas, pentadbiran sekolah, penempatan, prasarana sekolah, disiplin murid, budaya masyarakat setempat dan sebagainya. Oleh itu kurang tepat jika hanya mengaitkan semangat guru dengan pilihan terakhir mendapatkan pekerjaan.

ZIN MARKAM Pontian, Johor Utusan Malaysia Online Forum 20130923

Usah politikkan isu ranking universiti tempatan

KEBELAKANGAN ini, ramai orang bercakap mengenai ranking universiti di Malaysia yang jatuh merudum. Ada yang menunding jari 100 peratus kepada kerajaan atas kejatuhan ranking ini.

Selain itu ada pula yang berkata, universiti awam negara yang tidak berdaya saing menyukarkan graduan mendapat kerja yang baik dengan gaji yang berpatutan.

Ini termasuk masalah pengangguran di kalangan graduan terutamanya di kalangan graduan Melayu/bumiputra yang didakwa banyak berpunca daripada mutu pendidikan tinggi yang semakin menurun yang saban tahun disahkan oleh kedudukan universiti awam negara.

Saya terpanggil untuk memberi sedikit pendapat dalam hal ini. Pihak pembangkang janganlah mempolitikkan isu ini kerana banyak perkara yang diambil kira dalam penetapan ranking universiti.

Jika dikatakan universiti tiada autonomi, bagaimana dengan Universiti Selangor (Unisel) yang di bawah kerajaan pakatan? Adakah mempunyai ranking yang lebih baik di bawah pentadbiran pembangkang? Bukan ingin mempolitikkan, sekadar perbandingan. Jangan terlalu melulu menuduh kerajaan dalam hal ini.

Rakyat perlu jelas mengenai kriteria-kriteria QS World Ranking Universities bagi penetapan ranking universiti dunia. Ada enam kriteria utama, iaitu:

* Reputasi akademik (40%)

* Kemampuan mendapatkan pekerjaan dan pandangan majikan (10%)

* Nisbah siswa kepada tenaga pengajar fakulti (20%)

* Rujukan penyelidikan mengikut fakulti (20%)

* Nisbah pelajar antarabangsa (5%)

* Nisbah tenaga pengajar antarabangsa fakulti (5%).

Reputasi akademik diukur melalui kajian global yang meminta ahli akademik untuk memberitahu QS di mana kerja-kerja yang terbaik sedang berlaku dalam bidang kepakaran masing-masing.

Pada tahun 2013 lebih daripada 62,000 respons daripada ahli akademik di seluruh dunia, yang dikumpulkan selama tiga tahun. Respons ahli akademik terbaharu sahaja yang digunakan dan mereka tidak boleh mengundi bagi institusi mereka sendiri.

Dalam hal ini pihak universiti perlu memainkan peranan penting dalam mempromosi universiti masing-masing supaya lebih dikenali diperingkat global dengan menggunakan kaedah yang luar biasa. Misalnya menganjurkan forum presiden-presiden universiti Asia atau dunia dan ini memberi impak yang sangat besar kepada universiti tempatan secara tidak lansung.

Bagi kriteria kebolehpasaran graduan serta pandangan majikan juga adalah peranan universiti itu sendiri yang perlu menjalin hubungan baik dengan pihak industri dalam dan luar negara serta membantu graduan dalam mendapatkan pekerjaan yang sesuai.

Pihak universiti juga perlu melahirkan graduan yang mampu memenuhi permintaan pasaran global dan tidak hanya tertumpu kepada pasaran dalaman. Pelajar juga perlu mengambil kesempatan dalam mengambil semua peluang yang ada di universiti dalam menyediakan diri sebagai graduan yang ready mix dalam dunia pekerjaan. Sikap pelajar sendiri juga menjadi peranan utama dalam melahirkan graduan yang mempu mengisi pasaran global.

Manakala kriteria yang paling penting juga iaitu rujukan penyelidikan di mana ahli akademik perlu memainkan peranan ini. Kriteria ini berdasarkan kepada penyelidikan yang dilakukan oleh ahli akademik dirujuk oleh ahli akademik yang lain.

Lebih baik sekiranya menjadi rujukan yang lebih global di mana QS mengambil data ini berdasarkan pangkalan data daripada Scopus yang merupakan pengkalan data terbesar di dunia bagi abstrak penyelidikan dan rujukan.

Kebiasaannya, rujukan ini berdasarkan penerbitan yang dilakukan oleh akademik seperti jurnal berimpak, buku dan sebagainya. Ini perlu menjadi keutamaan kepada semua ahli akademik, bukan sahaja menumpukan kepada bidang pengajaran tetapi perlu juga menumpukan juga kepada bidang penyelidikan serta penerbitan ilmiah agar menjadi rujukan kepada global. Ini secara tidak lansung dapat membantu meningkatkan ranking universiti masing-masing.

Mungkin dalam hal ini, kerajaan boleh membantu dalam pemberian dana yang lebih kepada universiti agar kriteria ini dapat ditingkatkan dengan mengadakan geran penerbitan kepada ahli akademik terutamanya para pensyarah muda yang baharu berjinak dalam dunia penyelidikan.

Berdasarkan pada pangkalan data Scopus 2012, Univeriti Malaya menghasilkan 3,151 penerbitan diikuti oleh Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) 2,968 dan Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) sebanyak 2,874. Jika dibandingkan dengan universiti terbaik dunia seperti National University Singapore (NUS) yang menghasilkan penerbitan penyelidikan sebanyak 6,302 dan University of Cambridge dengan 7,966. Penekanan yang tinggi dalam hal ini oleh pihak universiti dan kerajaan amatlah digalakkan.

Pandangan saya ini adalah sekadar ingin menjelaskan kepada umum supaya salah anggap dalam hal ini tidaklah menjadi isu dengan menunding jari sepenuhnya kepada kerajaan. Semua pihak ada peranan masing-masing dalam meningkatkan ranking universiti Malaysia yang saya anggap masih di tahap yang baik bagi negara membangun dunia.

Semua pihak sama ada pelajar, ahli akademik, masyarakat dan kerajaan perlu memainkan peranan masing-masing agar universiti tempatan menjadi pilihan dunia.

Pihak kerajaan juga boleh membantu menumpukan juga kepada ranking ini kerana ia menjadi kayu pengukur kepada dunia luar dalam menjalinkan hubungan antara universiti seperti penambahan bajet pengurusan, mewujudkan geran penerbitan ilmiah dan sebagainya.

MOHD. MUSTAFA AL-BAKRI ABDULLAH Pusat Pengajian Kejuruteraan Bahan Universiti Malaysia Perlis.Utusan Malaysia Online Forum 20130923

Quality education for a brighter future

We need to use education to hone independence, resilience and creativity.

IT has been 50 years since the formation of Malaysia and 56 years since independence. Our forefathers held dearly that for a country like Malaysia, with its multiracial population, the people should make every effort to understand and respect each other and look at Malaysia as our home and the sole object of our loyalty.

We need to overcome our differences and prejudices in order to build a nation and a future that is beneficial to all, while maintaining progress, peace and goodwill.

High standards: The Tunku believed a sound education was the key to progress.

Everyone needs to play their part and contribute to nation building. We cannot let petty things and differences get the better of us. That is why our forefathers stressed highly on the delivery of good education. Our education policy is one of the pillars that support national unity, and the pillars must be strong to withstand adverse criticism and political storm.

The right to good education is needed for this country to progress, and high standards should be maintained at all times. That is one of the messages left by our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj. He said that “half-educated people will be more of a risk to the nation’s security than to its well-being and peace”. He warned that the government should exercise a great deal of caution and think deeply before making any education policy changes.

I am indeed grateful to God for having the privilege to be Tunku’s granddaughter and look at what he has done for the country. It is a blessing that I am able to advocate for what I strongly believe in for our children and the country, in the path that he had paved.

The Tunku wrote extensively on education during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Among others, he wrote of the then education minister, Tun Musa Hitam, who had to shoulder a great deal of responsibility to ensure that our education policy would serve the nation well. The Tunku was deeply concerned about the change in the language policy and the need to maintain high standards to keep up with progress and the rest of the world.

Many people who could afford it, Malays and non-Malays alike, sent their children abroad to make sure they would not be affected by the change of policy. This happened under his nose when my father decided to pack my older siblings off to boarding school in England after the English-medium schools were abolished.

The Tunku fought to maintain English as a medium of instruction for higher learning and Malay as the language of the nation. He believed it would lead to ultimate good and that it would also help the Malays to better their prospects in life. He was also concerned that those who had the means and opportunity to obtain higher studies would leave behind those who were not as privileged.

He received a lot of flak for standing up for English. He said that some of his people were hoodwinked into believing that his policy would benefit others more than the Malays. Regardless, he continued to fight for what he believed was right and good for the nation.

This encouragement for English is not in any way intended to belittle our national language for it too must be given due recognition as a language to unite all Malaysians. The national language is needed to foster close ties and establish the spirit of camaraderie in carving out the Malaysian identity necessary for us to bond and progress as one nation.

Our forefathers even went to the extent of naming it Bahasa Malaysia (BM), knowing full well it is Bahasa Melayu. The significance of calling it Bahasa Malaysia was so that we could create a Malaysian identity.

BM doesn’t belong to a race, it belongs to the nation we created, a new nation with hopes of capitalising on an identity that is race blind.

But things didn’t turn out as they envisioned. Of late, some insensitive people have dished out racial and religious slurs. We need to steer clear of these hazards, and grab a platform that keeps us liberal, neutral, progressive and focused on developing the nation.

We cannot make Bahasa Malaysia the knowledge language while it is still much younger than the other scholastic languages in use. We are trying to jumpstart something that is not yet able to do the job. While we initially borrowed many words from other languages, now it seems we are “Malaynising” words from English at whim, including words like koc, koleksi, koreksi, kaunter and even resab (reserve)!

From Arabic, we have words like muzakarah and maaf. We even had to borrow a word to say sorry? It shows that Malay as a race must step up first and the language would follow suit when more of us are intellectually rich and reasonably affluent. For now, it is like putting the Proton car to race in Le Mans. It can’t do it on its own yet. It needs to partner with something that is already up there.

Everyone who agrees with me sends their children to international schools. If they can afford it, they will do their best to give their children an edge for a brighter future. Many of them are fathers and mothers who are representing us in Parliament. In fact, they are the ones who develop the policies but stay clear of national schools and national universities for their own offspring.

Meanwhile, how would those who do not have an edge compete once they leave school/university for work? Is giving more bumiputra assistance schemes going to help?

It is true that Malays make up a large number of the people who need help but they certainly cannot be pampered. We cannot spoon-feed the Malays and bumiputras and hope they can survive in the real world. It is like breeding orang utan in captivity and then releasing them in the jungle without teaching them how to fend for themselves.

We need to use education to hone independence, resilience, creativity, and develop ability to overcome hurdles. This is why the international schools teaching in English are so much in demand because much of the knowledge, proven practices and experience are in English.

In our enthusiasm to promote BM to a higher level, we have neglected English and that has brought our standards down. It affected the quality of teacher education and made the teaching profession less desirable. That was why Tunku was adamant in not making drastic changes to our education for there would be adverse effects in these changes.

The top 10 universities in the QS University ranking 2013 all use English as their medium of instruction. These are the universities with the latest in research and development that we can take lessons from in building a more affluent and progressive nation. Even the top non-English language university, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ranked 12th, uses English for its graduate programmes.

Malaysians need universities we can be proud of and show off our capabilities and competitiveness to the world. But as long as many local undergraduates at our national universities shy away from English, there will be a loss of knowledge and, ultimately, a loss to the nation.

The Malaysia Education Blueprint has all these grand plans and targets to thrust our education system to the top third in the world. But as long as we do not take care of the basic things that can go wrong and maintain high standards, it is questionable if we can ever achieve that objective.

Tunku Munawirah Putra is honorary secretary of Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) Malaysia (Twitter @PAGEMalaysia). The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own. The STAR Online Home Opinion Columnist Sunday September 22, 2013