December 16th, 2013

Faktor gagal raih sokongan Melayu tewaskan PKM

FAKTOR kegagalan Parti Komunis Malaya (PKM) melancarkan gerakan bersenjata di Tanah Melayu dikenal pasti kerana kesukaran dan kelemahan parti itu meraih sokongan orang Melayu.

Perkara tersebut dinyatakan oleh pegawai komunis paling kanan dalam Jawatankuasa Pusat PKM dikenali sebagai Ah Su * dalam ceramahnya yang turut dihadiri oleh ketua Unit Penggempur Kelima PKM di Perak, Chong Chor pada Mac 1962.

Dalam fail sulit pengakuan Chong Chor yang pertama kali didedahkan, PKM berdepan tugas sukar untuk melancarkan 'perang rakyat' terhadap British disebabkan ketiadaan sokongan kaum Melayu yang merupakan lebih 50 peratus penduduk Tanah Melayu, dengan majoritinya tinggal di kawasan pendalaman.

Yang mana satu kah anda ?


ANGGOTA komunis yang menyerah diri kepada pasukan keselamatan pada 16 Oktober 1958.

Analisis kekalahan itu terkandung dalam ceramah Ah Su yang ditujukan kepada anggota-anggota komunis tegar semasa mereka berundur ke selatan Thailand kesan tindakan berkesan pihak keselamatan Malaysia ketika itu.

Ah Su menggariskan lima faktor kegagalan PKM meraih sokongan ramai kaum Melayu iaitu kononnya, orang Melayu terkongkong dan tertindas di bawah sistem feudal di negeri-negeri Melayu, mendapati mereka sukar memahami dan menerima konsep komunisme.

Faktor kedua: Orang Melayu sentiasa dibohongi penjajah British terutama menerusi dasar 'Pecah dan Perintah'. British mengambil kesempatan ke atas prinsip-prinsip agama Islam yang merupakan agama orang Melayu bagi menolak doktrin komunisme.

Faktor ketiga: Semasa PKM melancarkan perang anti-British, orang Melayu memberi sokongan terhadap Tunku Abdul Rahman (Perdana Menteri pertama Malaysia) dan kerajaan campuran pimpinannya.

Faktor keempat: Majoriti kaum Melayu buta huruf dan pengetahuan mengenai politik adalah cetek. Oleh itu, kaum Melayu mudah diperdaya oleh kerajaan Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Faktor kelima: Dari sudut strategik, PKM gagal disebabkan mereka mengenepikan gerakan mempengaruhi kaum Melayu di kawasan pendalaman, semasa melancarkan perang bersenjata. Maka apabila PKM melancarkan perang, mereka tidak mendapat sokongan kaum Melayu sekali gus mengehadkan kawasan operasi PKM.

Menurut Chong Chor, pasukan pimpinannya yang terdiri daripada lebih 20 anggota komunis, berhimpun di kem Kampung Jok, Bannang Sata di Yala, selatan Thailand. Di situ, dia bertemu buat pertama kali dengan Rashid Maidin dan Abdullah CD. Kem tersebut menjadi markas latihan ideologi komunis.

Chong Chor menganggarkan lebih 100 anggota komunis dari Regimen Kelapan, Ke-10 dan Ke-12 berada di dalam kem tersebut.

Diistilahkan sebagai Sekolah Parti untuk menguatkan semula pegangan komunisme di kalangan anggota PKM, kem tersebut juga berperanan sebagai pusat untuk mereka mengkaji dasar baharu parti.

Dasar baharu PKM ketika itu ialah, parti akan meneruskan gerakan bersenjata sebagai wadah utama perjuangan dalam usaha mencapai kejayaan dalam revolusi membebaskan Tanah Melayu.

Bagi mencapai matlamat tersebut, PKM telah membatalkan keputusan awal untuk tidak melaksanakan tugas merekrut anggota di selatan Thailand. Ini adalah kerana dalam usaha membina semula kekuatan parti, PKM tidak peduli jika tindakan tersebut mencetuskan kemarahan kerajaan Thailand.

Bagi meluaskan kerja-kerja merekrut anggota baharu, dasar baharu tersebut secara mendalam menekankan peranan Unit Min Yuen dan kaedah meluaskan pengaruh PKM di kalangan masyarakat di selatan Thailand.

Dasar tersebut juga memberi penekanan kepada usaha melaksanakan pembaharuan ideologi di kalangan pegawai PKM bagi membentuk kesatuan untuk memulihkan parti.

Menurut Chong Chor, Sekolah Parti itu juga turut membincangkan dasar membenarkan anggota keluar dari PKM yang mengakibatkan semangat dan moral rendah di dalam parti.

Anggota-anggota komunis di kem tersebut turut diberikan ulang kaji mengenai sejarah PKM, latar belakang gerakan bersenjata, pergerakan komunis dunia dan sejarahnya, perbincangan mengenai keperluan seorang anggota revolusi komunis dan isu-isu semasa.



Utusan Malaysia Rencana 20131216

Wanted: Dedicated and innovative teachers

THE results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) in 2009 showed Malaysia in the bottom third of 74 participating countries.

In the recent Pisa 2012 results, Malaysia was ranked 52 out of 65 countries.

According to a 2011 World Bank report, Malaysia’s expenditure on education as a percentage of total government spending at 16% was almost double that of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 8.7%.

It was higher than the average for the economies of Hong Kong (12%), South Korea and Singapore (11%).

Malaysia spends a lot on education but have we achieved the desired results?

What is the quality of our teachers? Do we have world-class teachers?

Recently, a local Chinese news portal reported that some teachers had hired professional thesis writers to write for them.

There are also reports that some teachers are unable to teach the subjects they majored in but studied to become graduate teachers just to get higher pay!

Many teachers have poor command of the English language.

Some of them spend more time giving private tuition than teaching in schools with a few even giving special tips to tuition students just to attract more business.

We need dedicated teachers to help us become a country with world-class education.

There is abundant talent in our country but we are wasting it.

We need innovative teachers who can unleash the great minds of tomorrow!

Concerned Parent Seremban Negeri Sembilan The STAR Online Home News Education 15/12/2013

Pushing for excellence

WHEN it comes to education, money and resources are not the problem, says World Bank’s South-East Asia country director Ulrich Zachau.

According to Zachau, Malaysia spends a lot on education.

“What is important now are the specifics to address quality, and three particular things are important; decision-making powers, teacher recruitment and public information,” says Zachau.

“Malaysia can definitely afford it, and it has the opportunity... all it needs now is to pull through.”

Zachau is commenting on a new report released by his organisation on the local education system.

Published on Tuesday, the World Bank’s Malaysia Economic Monitor: High-Performing Education takes a specific look at the national education system at the primary and secondary level.

From the onset, the report points out that we have never been stingy on financing education — Malaysia’s education expenditure has been high since the 1980s, and more than double that of other countries in the region in 2011.

Acknowledging the success in offering wide access to education, the report’s focus is on the quality of the education provided, saying that “given Malaysia’s high and increasing spending on education against declining enrolments and deteriorating test scores, it is clear that additional inputs will not be sufficient to improve results.”

One example of inefficient spending is the number of schools built despite declining student numbers.

“While the number of primary schools remained more or less stable, the number of secondary schools increased by 18%.

“This expansion is taking place as the number of students enrolled both at public primary and secondary schools declined during this same period by 12%.

“Not only does this expansion in inputs appear of questionable efficiency given a declining student population, but it was also not successful in improving the quality of education — conversely, learning outcomes declined during this period,” says the report.

It also notes that 34% of Malaysian primary schools have fewer than 150 pupils, accounting for just seven percent of total primary school enrolment — these under-enrolled schools cost seven times more per student to maintain compared to regular schools.

Although an exact breakdown of the government’s education expenditure is not given, the report says that a “large share goes towards teacher compensation and incentives”.

Like the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, the World Bank report says that teacher shortage — in terms of sheer numbers — is not an issue.

Between 2004 and 2013, the number of teachers in schools increased by 30% and the average student-teacher ratio now stands at 13:1, lower than the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development average of 16:1

Once again, the question is whether all teachers are sufficiently qualified to teach in classrooms effectively.

Based on the Cambridge Placement Test that was administered to all English teachers late last year, only a quarter of English-option teachers in primary schools were deemed proficient in the language in contrast to half of such secondary school teachers.

Among non-English option teachers tested, the percentage of proficient teachers were 12.6% and 29.9% in primary and secondary schools respectively; almost one-third (37% and 23% at the primary and secondary levels respectively) of those teaching English in schools are non-English option teachers.

The report summarises that problems in teacher quality starts at the point of entry itself, and commends the blueprint for taking steps to rectify this by trying to attract more academically-able students into the teaching profession.

The blueprint states that 65% of those who were offered an undergraduate degree in Education (PISMP) at Institutes of Teacher Education (IPGs) last year scored at least 7As in the SPM, and only 3% of offers went to candidates who scored less than 3As.

But the World Bank report notes that enrolment in IPGs increased by 10% from 2012 to 2013.

“(It) appears that a shift of recruitment from the PISMP to the Postgraduate Teacher’s Programme (KPLI) took place.

“The KPLI had lower standards as of 2012 as only 12% of candidates receiving offers were high performers.

“Moreover, half of teacher training is performed by public universities (IPTAs) and quality data is not available,” it says.

The blueprint also outlines plans of an exit policy or redeployment for teachers who consistently underperform, which will be implemented in 2016.

However, commenting on a similar plan for English teachers to be redeployed if they do not pass the required standard by 2015, the World Bank report is a bit more pessimistic over the viability of the plan.

“This suggests a worryingly long duration of professional development — and a large financial investment — for each low-performing teacher, with little or no guarantee of success in terms of improvement in student learning.

“Given the high combined cost of personal emoluments and in-service professional training, one option that the Education Ministry may consider would be to reduce the “grace period” that teachers are allowed for improving performance before they are redeployed,” it says.

A big part of the report also deals with the need for more autonomy in schools and a decentralisation of decision-making from the Ministry, coupled with accountability measures such as making student performance data publicly available.

While the blueprint is making steps to address this, starting with delegating more powers to district education offices and state education departments, the World Bank report calls for more to be done.

“While this change does bestow greater flexibility on states and districts in terms of transfers, it is unclear how expanded powers to move human resources within a limited geographical area would address concerns related to differentials in teacher quality, or how human resource needs at schools will be addressed in a timely fashion.

“Furthermore, schools themselves would still have no influence over who they can hire,” says the report.

It adds that while the end goal of the blueprint is to develop a school-based management system, there are currently no clear plans as to how such a system will look like.

In this regard, the report presents several case studies of schools which can be afforded more autonomy.

The report also warns about over-reliance on students’ test scores to determine a school’s performance.

“The danger is that improvement in test scores is the only improvement that would occur, without concurrent improvements in other aspects of learning.

“For example, such a system incentivises teachers to teach to the test, with no regard to development of non-cognitive skills that might be just as important to success in the long run.

“In the extreme case, over-reliance on such high-stakes testing can result in exclusion of weaker students from tests, student and administrator cheating, and systemic corruption, as schools and districts devise ‘survival responses’ in an environment of increased testing and the race for resources and recognition,” it says.


PRIYA KULASAGARAN The STAR Online Home News Education 15/12/2013

The quintessential teacher

THIS is my farewell article for this column and I’d like to dedicate it to young teachers.

I started writing for The Star in 1996 and had no clue then about the professional and spiritual dividends of writing. I wrote simply because I loved to write!

Being a teacher, I had a ringside seat to witness firsthand the “blood, sweat, toil and tears” of my colleagues and students as they wrestled with their numerous challenges. Thus, I did not lack for stories to tell.

But as time passed and the enormity of my responsibility dawned on me, I wrote more to influence the lives of teachers positively than to fulfil the passion I had for writing.

Stephen King was once asked, “What makes a good writer?” He replied simply: “Read a lot. Write a lot.” I did both and learnt a lot.

Meanwhile, as far as teaching was concerned, I grew the most in the year I reported to my first school.

It was 1986 and for the fact that I was still “green”, I was “hoodwinked” into becoming the head of the Science panel.

The quintessential teacher


THIS is my farewell article for this column and I’d like to dedicate it to young teachers.

When self-doubt brought upon by the gravity of the assignation kicked in, I sought counsel from a senior English Language teacher.

She reassured me: “Don’t worry my dear, you’ll soon get the hang of it. And Mr T will help you out.”

She was right. Mr T was the man who had “passed the buck” to me.

While this senior gentleman had been only too glad to relinquish his position, he took the responsibility of showing me the ropes seriously.

I can still remember him. With his glasses perched on his nose and a lit cigarette in his hands, he handed out crisp and sound advice. How could I not learn from him?

Fortuitously for me, I was a gregarious creature who loved social interaction.

I mingled easily with the older teachers and because they knew a whole lot more than I did, my development soared.

Nostalgia assails me when I think back to the days of the congeniality we shared as teachers.

Frankly, even in the way they laughed off their worries, they taught me a lot.

Why teach?

Today, I can’t help but notice how lackadaisical some teachers are.

Teaching is one of the most challenging professions around but one shouldn’t forget how noble a vocation it is.

For me, teaching was a dream job because it assured me of both a steady income and sufficient time to be with my family.

If I took the ups and downs of my profession in my stride, it was because I was brought up by my parents to be strong and to persevere. In one teaching stint in Sabah, I had to drive for an hour along a pothole-riddled laterite road before I arrived at the school gates.

Despite being alone and not knowing what setbacks awaited me on the route, I still did it as there were students waiting for my lessons.

To take my mind off the journey, I listened to my favourite music and revelled in the majestic beauty of Borneo.

Even when I was alone for four months in 1989 when my husband was posted back to the Peninsular, I stayed resilient and motivated.

The point here is: you have to count your blessings. As for the benefits of teaching, they are gratifyingly worthy of sacrifice.

I had a student once who thanked me for making him feel that he could actually learn something. His remark stayed with me for days.

On another day, a funny story I told made a 13-year-old boy laugh so hard, he fell off his chair! And everyone else laughed all the more!

In a rural school, a mother cried because her son had finally passed a test.

All these and more rejuvenate the spirit and make you proud to be a respected teacher.

Don’t allow the grind of work to darken your heart, but reflect, see the bigger picture and stride forward.

Meanwhile, listen actively to parents who share their dreams, hopes and aspirations with you. It’ll make you see your job differently.

In my case, even joining my husband’s circle of men friends and hearing their private sector woes never failed to strengthen my resolve to be the best I could be at school.

Yes, if you avail yourself of every avenue and opportunity to learn, how can you not progress?

Leading others

In its Latin origins, the word “education” springs from the root word educere which means to “draw out”.

Young teachers often misinterpret the true significance of their role.

Unsure of themselves, they dole out facts and fear questions rather than stimulate thinking or prompt reasoned thought.

Truth is, before you can “lead forth” the best in others, you have to first cultivate and “bring out” the best in yourself.

All these verbs — “draw”, “bring” and “lead” — indicate strongly that every person is an achiever in his own right. You have to hone these latent faculties.

To grow confident, secure and capable, it’s a good idea to stop saying “impossible”; instead, choose to say: “I am possible.”

I emphasise the word “choose” because it is said that if you can’t change your mind, you can’t change anything.

While the power of conscious choice is a matter of will, the power of informed choice is a matter of education.

John Milton Gregory, the author of The Seven Laws of Teaching, summarised: “If you stop learning today, you stop teaching tomorrow.” How about putting this reminder on your Facebook wall?

Ever wondered how to handle an irate parent? Can’t answer a difficult question posed by a student?

Don’t know how to deal with a “toxic” colleague? Just “google” the topic!

Meanwhile, do you know what true teaching is? It causes change.

Charismatic teachers with sound core values are so powerful that they affect lives for years to come.

In the words of Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets: “Kids don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”

Meanwhile, observe effective teachers. Not only do they work hard to prepare interesting, yet challenging activities but they also commend performance and praise effort.

And yes, it’s a wise decision not to say too much in front of colleagues who are negative, cold and calculating.

Please reserve your attention for those who are positive, warm and giving.

I am confident that you will not regret turning to any caring cikgu who shares knowledge, experience and wisdom with warmth and charity.

In the analects of Confucius, it is written: “The exemplary person is like the breeze, and the common person is like the grass; as the breeze blows, the grass is sure to bend.”

Trust me, you may be the “grass” now, but if you are willing to “bend”, you pave the way for the “breeze” in you!

In my final sign-off, I’d like to urge the Education Ministry to actively address the legitimate woes expressed by teachers through social media avenues and their teacher unions. I would also like to thank The Star and all the wonderful editors I have worked with in the past 18 years. My warmest regards reach out to all my regular readers, both here and abroad.



NITHYA SIDHHU The STAR Online Home News Education 15/12/2013

Don't tar everyone with the same brush

There are good and bad people in every community and we should be careful of how we look at the foreign workers in our midst.

MY barber comes from a small town in Pakistan. He is looking forward to his trip home next year as his son will be starting school soon.

On a good day, especially during weekends, he and his co-workers attend to at least 100 customers.

On a normal day, they get by with half that number.

He gets a fixed salary, half of which he sends back to his family. If you lead a simple life, he says, there is always enough to get by.

I like my barber because he is friendly and speaks good English.

He even reads this column and I suspect that if he could, he probably would like to give me a complimentary haircut at the end of the year.

There are many foreign workers in our land who are dutifully doing their work so they can support their families back home. They have travelled far and may have encountered an unscrupulous agent or two. Whether they are maids or construction workers, they are here to do the work that we locals shun.

The mass rapid transport system is currently one of the biggest construction projects in the Klang Valley. And at this stage, the workers are primarily foreign. Rain or shine, you see them hard at work.

I once took a ride on the LRT and sat next to an Indonesian family that had got on the train at the KLCC station. The couple with two sons looked very happy and I struck up a conversation with them.

I learnt that many years back, the man actually worked on the LRT project.

This is the first time he is back with his family as a tourist, and he is proud to tell his sons that their bapa helped to build the LRT, he said.

It is not just in tough jobs that we see such a strong foreign presence. I was at a top hotel for a wedding dinner last Saturday and all the waiters were foreign.

Some of us may be unaware that there are conditions in the employment of foreign workers in the services industry.

An employer’s application to employ foreign workers in this sector will only be considered after efforts to find qualified local citizens and permanent residents have failed.

We may wonder if the employer has tried hard enough, or if they are prepared to revise the salary scales to make them attractive to Malaysians, but the reality is that we should not complain too much if the foreign waiters are not particularly savvy about how to serve a 10-course Chinese dinner.

Today, each time I read sweeping statements about foreign workers, I am reminded that it is not fair to tar everyone with the same brush.

There are good and bad people in every community and we should be careful how we look at the foreign workers in our midst.

It has been said that Kuala Lumpur is like a foreign country each time there is a long stretch of holidays, but try looking at the situation from a different perspective.

Many of us are privileged enough to head to foreign destinations for family holidays.

The foreign workers here are simply enjoying the sights of Kuala Lumpur on their day off work.

I imagine somewhere in a small town in Pakistan my barber’s son is anxiously counting the days till his father will be home, for one month only, and the family will be reunited.

And maybe the father might be able to promise his son that one day, if he saves enough money from working in our country, he will be able to take him for a real holiday.

Soo Ewe Jin (ewejin@thestar.com.my) cautions against any sweeping indictment of the foreign workforce in our land because of the incident in Little India in Singapore. The majority are simply here to earn an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work. The STAR Online Home News Opinion Columnist 15/12/2013