April 12th, 2015

Janda Baik asalnya 
kisah janda Orang Asli

Asalnya kisah janda Orang Asli
KAMPUNG Janda Baik pada asalnya mula diteroka dan dibuka oleh tiga orang individu yang datang dari Bentong, Pahang pada 1932 iaitu Haji Yaseh Da’un, Haji Kadir Hitam dan Haji Idris Awang.

Namun, cerita di sebalik nama kampung yang unik itu sebenarnya bermula daripada kisah yang disampaikan secara turun-temurun oleh generasi ke generasi penduduk kampung tersebut.

Menurut anak jati kelahiran Kampung Janda Baik, Prof. Dr. Kamaruzaman Moidunny, sebelum orang Melayu dari Kampung Ketari dan Kampung Benus di Bentong berpindah ke Kampung Janda Baik, kawasan itu merupakan hutan belantara yang tidak pernah diteroka oleh sesiapa.


Salah seorang individu yang mula membuka Kampung Janda Baik, Haji Yaseh Daun (berkot hitam) bersama-sama penduduk di atas pelantar masjid pertama di kampung itu pada 1933.

Jelasnya, Orang Asli dari suku kaum Temuan yang diketuai seorang Tok Batin bernama Emok telah mula menduduki sekitar kawasan tersebut.

Kamaruzaman yang merupakan Pensyarah Kanan Jabatan Penilaian dan Peperiksaan, Institut Aminuddin Baki berkata, Tok Batin Emok dikisahkan pernah terpikat dengan seorang anak dara dari suku kaum Orang Asli lain yang mendiami Hulu Kenaboi di Negeri Sembilan.

“Kawasan Hulu Kenaboi ini merupakan kawasan yang boleh dilawati dengan menggunakan jalan hutan dari Kampung Janda Baik. Oleh kerana Tok Batin terbabit terlalu mencintai anak dara jelita berasal dari Hulu Kenaboi itu, maka dia pun menceraikan isterinya bernama Endut,” katanya.

Beliau yang pernah menjalankan kajian berkenaan Kampung Janda Baik berkata, setelah Tok Batin Emok berpindah ke Negeri Sembilan untuk tinggal bersama isteri baharunya, bekas isterinya Endut tinggal seorang diri di kampung asal.

Bagaimanapun, Tok Batin Emok yang pada asalnya kaya telah jatuh miskin akibat terlalu mengikut kehendak isteri mudanya yang cantik. Selepas jatuh miskin, isterinya lari ke Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan meninggalkan suaminya.

“Maka pulanglah semula Tok Batin itu ke Kampung Janda Baik. Dia mendapati jandanya tetap menunggunya dengan penuh setia dan sedia menerimanya semula sebagai suami. Mereka pun bersatu kembali dan hiduplah mereka dengan kebahagiaan. Sejak dari itu kampung ini dikenali sebagai ‘Janda Balik’ yang diambil daripada peristiwa seorang janda ‘berbalik’ kepada bekas suaminya,” katanya.

Namun, menurut Kamaruzaman, nama Janda Balik lama-kelamaan telah bertukar menjadi Janda Baik apabila perkataan itu disebut berulang kali secara cepat.


Pelajar Sekolah Kebangsaan Janda Baik bergambar di hadapan bangunan sekolah beratap rumbia yang mula dibina pada 1939.

Kemudian katanya, pada 1934, Pegawai Daerah Bentong ketika itu, Orang Kaya Shahbandar Datuk Hussain yang merupakan datuk kepada Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, mahukan kampung tersebut diwartakan.

Katanya, sehubungan itu, orang kampung telah berpakat untuk menetapkan nama dan hasil pungutan suara, mereka telah mencadangkan tiga nama untuk diwartakan secara rasmi.

“Tiga cadangan itu adalah Kampung Tiga Haji, Kampung Hulu Benus dan Kampung Janda Balik. Nama Kampung Tiga Haji dicadangkan berdasarkan tiga orang haji yang membuka kampung ini. Cadangan nama Kampung Hulu Benus pula diambil berdasarkan kedudukan Janda Baik yang terletak di bahagian hulu kepada Kampung Benus Ulu dan Kampung Benus Hilir.

“Manakala cadangan nama Kampung Janda Balik pula diambil berdasarkan peristiwa seorang janda Orang Asli suku Temuan yang berbalik semula ke pangkuan bekas suaminya setelah diceraikan.

“Setelah dibuat pemilihan di antara tiga cadangan nama tadi, maka persetujuan diambil untuk memilih nama Janda Balik sebagai nama kampung. Nama ‘Janda Balik’ ini akhirnya diubah suai sedikit lalu menjadi nama ‘Janda Baik’,” katanya.

Dalam pada itu, katanya, Haji Yaseh, Haji Kadir dan Haji Idris melalui pelbagai cabaran dalam usaha mereka membuka kampung tersebut untuk dijadikan penempatan orang kampung dari Bentong.

Katanya, pada peringkat awal, ketiga-tiga mereka telah meminta kebenaran daripada Pegawai Daerah yang ketika itu adalah orang Inggeris, namun ditolak dengan alasan kawasan tersebut merupakan hutan simpan dan sekiranya diterokai dikhuatiri akan menjejaskan kawasan tersebut.

Setelah beberapa kali ditolak, akhirnya pada 1930, ketiga-tiga mereka mendapat kebenaran untuk mengusahakan penerokaan dan pembukaan Kampung Janda Baik apabila kelulusan diberikan bagi tanah berkeluasan 800 hektar bagi menggantikan kawasan Kampung Benus Ulu dan Benus Hilir yang telah ditenggelami banjir besar sebelum itu.


Buka Janda Baik selepas banjir besar

BANJIR besar yang melanda Kampung Benus Hulu dan Kampung Benus Hilir di Bentong, Pahang pada 1926 merupakan antara punca Kampung Janda Baik dibuka untuk didiami penduduk dari kampung berkenaan.

Kampung Benus di Bentong,Pahang merupakan kawasan yang didiami oleh penduduk yang kemudian berpindah ke Janda Baik bermula 1932 selepas berlaku banjir besar.

Menurut seorang pengkaji yang membuat kajian berhubung Kampung Janda Baik, Zabidi Othman, kejadian banjir besar tersebut juga telah memberi kesan kepada Kampung Ketari yang terletak kira-kira dua kilometer dari Bentong.

Katanya yang berkhidmat sebagai Pegawai Perkhidmatan Pendidikan di Institut Aminuddin Baki, oleh kerana banjir telah menenggelamkan ketiga-tiga kampung yang menjadi penempatan awal orang Melayu di sekitar Bentong maka mereka mengambil inisiatif mencari penempatan baharu yang lebih selamat di kedudukan lebih tinggi.

“Kedudukan Kampung Janda Baik di kawasan tanah tinggi iaitu lebih kurang 500 meter dari paras laut serta salirannya yang baik menjadi alternatif penting bagi penduduk Kampung Benus dan Ketari. Tambahan lagi, tanah di Kampung Janda Baik sesuai untuk bercucuk tanam termasuk sawah padi,” katanya.

Tambahnya, pada masa sama, dasar perlombongan bijih timah juga memberikan kesan kepada penduduk Kampung Ketari dan Benus apabila sebahagian besar tanah pertanian di Bentong dibeli oleh dua orang saudagar berbangsa Inggeris yang membuka lombong secara besar-besaran di kedua-dua kampung tersebut.

“Oleh itu, penduduk Melayu di sekitar Bentong (Ketari dan Benus) tidak berpeluang untuk bercucuk tanam dan mengusahakan penternakan kerana kekurangan tanah. Sebahagian besar kawasan pertanian dan penternakan mereka telah bertukar menjadi kawasan perlombongan bijih timah menyebabkan mereka terpaksa mencari kawasan baru untuk meneruskan kehidupan cara lama iaitu bercucuk-tanam dan memelihara binatang ternakan.

“Perlombongan di kawasan Batu Empat Jalan Bentong-Kuala Lumpur di Kampung Benus dan Kampung Chamang juga menyebabkan kawasan pertanian dan penternakan semakin terhad. Sebagai alternatif untuk kesinambungan hidup mereka, kawasan baru terpaksa dicari. Alternatifnya, sebahagian kecil penduduk Melayu berpindah ke Kampung Asap di Lebu, Bentong dan sebahagian besarnya berpindah untuk meneroka kawasan baru di Kampung Janda Baik, Bentong,” katanya.

Katanya, ketika pendudukan Jepun di Tanah Melayu pula, orang Melayu di Bentong yang takut dan bimbang telah berpindah ke Kampung Janda Baik kerana merasakan kawasan itu lebih selamat memandangkan jalan dan laluan ke situ berbukit-bukau dan sukar bagi tentera Jepun melaluinya.

Janda Baik terkenal selepas nahas Cessna

Pernah dirancang jadi pusat pentadbiran negara
SEBELUM
Putrajaya wujud, Kampung Janda Baik pernah dicadangkan untuk menjadi pusat pentadbiran kerajaan persekutuan.


Abdul Rani Mat Piah

Malah kawasan kampung itu juga pernah disenaraikan sebagai antara lokasi untuk pembinaan Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kuala Lumpur (KLIA), namun akhirnya kerajaan memutuskan untuk membinanya di Sepang, Selangor.

Menurut bekas Ketua Kampung Janda Baik, Abdul Rani Mat Piah, 78, oleh kerana ramai penduduk yang tidak bersetuju maka rancangan untuk menjadikan Janda Baik sebagai pusat pentadbiran kerajaan persekutuan dan KLIA tidak menjadi kenyataan.

“Jadi, kerajaan ketika itu memilih kawasan Sepang untuk membina Putrajaya dan KLIA. Mungkin kerana selepas rancangan itu tidak jadi, maka ramai orang luar datang membeli tanah di sini dan ada yang membina kawasan peranginan seperti calet dan resort,” katanya.



Kawasan sawah padi yang dahulunya diusahakan penduduk Kampung Janda Baik kini bertukar menjadi kawasan tanaman sayur.

Kata Abdul Rani, Kampung Janda Baik sebenarnya merupakan kawasan penanaman sawah padi yang menjadi sumber pendapatan dan makanan utama penduduk di kampung itu suatu masa dahulu.

Namun dek kerana penghijrahan golongan muda ke ibu kota, maka tiada lagi orang yang boleh mengusahakan penanaman padi di kampung itu.

Katanya, kawasan sawah padi juga telah ditukar menjadi kawasan menanam sayur-sayuran dan kolam ternakan ikan pada masa kini.

Menceritakan lanjut, Abdul Rani berkata, Kampung Janda Baik juga pernah menjadi perhatian pihak tentera Jepun suatu ketika dahulu yang masuk ke situ untuk mendapatkan bekalan makanan kerana mengetahui kampung itu mempunyai bekalan padi dan beras yang banyak.

“Ketika itu, saya masih kecil. Apabila ada maklumat mengatakan pihak tentera Jepun akan datang, maka ada orang kampung terutama kaum wanita akan lari masuk bersembunyi di dalam hutan. Selepas Jepun keluar, barulah orang kampung keluar dari tempat persembunyian,” katanya.


Piramid Melayu di Janda Baik hanya mitos
CERITA-cerita
pelik di dalam internet mengaitkan Kampung Janda Baik dengan kewujudan piramid dari tamadun Melayu lama dan dikatakan ia dibina bagi tujuan tertentu atas sebab-sebab yang menjadi rahsia.



Sebuah bukit yang terdapat di Kampung Janda Baik dikaitkan dengan mitos piramid Melayu di dalam beberapa blog internet.

Namun, dakwaan tersebut dianggap sebagai mitos dan kisah karut oleh penduduk kampung itu sendiri. Ini kerana tidak ada bukti kukuh bagi mengesahkan dakwaan tersebut, selain bentuk muka bumi yang seakan-akan piramid yang terdapat di situ.

Menurut Pegawai Perhubungan Kampung Janda Baik, Azelan Latif, dakwaan itu hanyalah cerita yang mungkin direka oleh sesetengah pihak dan disebarkan di dalam internet apabila mereka melihat bentuk muka bumi di Kampung Janda Baik itu ada yang seperti piramid yang dibina manusia.

“Kami penduduk di kampung ini sememangnya tidak pernah melihat bukti sebenar kewujudan piramid bagi tujuan rahsia kerajaan seperti yang didakwa. Malah tidak pernah pula ada orang luar yang datang semata-mata mahu mencari piramid tersebut. Tiada juga bukti mana-mana pihak berkubu di situ atau menjadikan tempat itu sebagai pangkalan atau sebagainya,” katanya.

Menurut beberapa dakwaan di dalam beberapa blog, Kampung Janda Baik menjadi lokasi kewujudan piramid yang dikatakan mempunyai hubung kait dengan tamadun dahulu kala dan ada pula dakwaan yang mengatakan piramid itu kini sedang dikawal rapi oleh pihak kerajaan.

Kata Azelan, mungkin kerana terdapat bukit-bukau yang sememangnya berbentuk piramid membuatkan orang ramai menganggap dakwaan tersebut sebagai benar.

“Memang bentuk muka bumi di kampung ini seakan-akan piramid membuatkan ada orang percaya bahawa cerita itu benar. Tetapi kami di sini mengetahui bahawa itu hanyalah mitos,” katanya.


Terkenal selepas nahas Cessna
KAMPUNG
Janda Baik menjadi sebutan ramai dan popular apabila Malaysia digemparkan dengan kejadian sebuah pesawat ringan yang membawa seorang menteri Kabinet terhempas di sekitar kawasan hutan berhampiran kampung itu pada Januari 1982.


Ghazali Shafie dimandikan dengan air tolak bala oleh penduduk Kampung Janda Baik selepas peristiwa nahas Cessna di kampung itu pada 1982. -

Seorang penduduk yang juga Pegawai Perhubungan Kampung Janda Baik, Azelan Latif berkata, beliau yang masih bersekolah ketika kejadian nahas itu memberitahu terdengar berita mengenai sebuah pesawat jenis Cessna 206 telah terhempas di Kampung Som Som Hilir yang terletak di Janda Baik.

“Ketika itu, saya terdengar pesawat tersebut membawa seorang menteri Kabinet iaitu Allahyarham Tan Sri Mohamad Ghazali Shafie yang ketika itu merupakan Menteri Luar Negeri. Beliau ketika itu ditemukan terselamat apabila tersangkut di atas rimbunan pokok buluh, sementara dua lagi terkorban,” katanya.

Azelan berkata, dua yang terkorban itu ialah pembantu juruterbang, Varghese Chacko dan pengawal peribadi Mohamad Ghazali iaitu Asisten Suprintenden Charoen Daan.

Katanya, Mohamad Ghazali merupakan satu-satunya yang terselamat apabila pesawat yang dipandunya terhempas di atas rimbunan pohon buluh di kampung tersebut.

“Sejak peristiwa itu, Kampung Janda Baik mula jadi terkenal. Ramai orang dari luar yang datang ke sini ketika peristiwa itu termasuk pasukan mencari dan menyelamat. Mungkin kerana namanya yang unik dan pelik, maka kampung ini meniti di bibir-bibir ramai orang,” katanya.

Sejak dikenali katanya, Kampung Janda Baik tidak putus-putus menjadi tumpuan orang ramai yang bukan sahaja mahu berehat dan menenangkan diri dengan bercuti di situ, malah lokasi di kampung itu juga sering menjadi pilihan penerbit drama dan filem untuk menjalankan penggambaran.

Malah katanya, kampung itu juga sering menjadi lokasi tumpuan bagi golongan ternama dan berada yang memilih untuk membeli tanah di situ serta membina kediaman sama ada untuk menetap di kampung itu atau dijadikan tempat rehat hujung minggu.

Anak jati bangunkan Kampung Janda Baik

Anak jati bangunkan Kampung Janda Baik

PUSAT peranginan dan percutian di kawasan tanah tinggi sememangnya menjadi identiti Kampung Janda Baik sejak ia mula popular sekitar 1980-an.


Suasana sungai di Kampung Janda Baik yang menggamit kedatangan pengunjung untuk beriadah.

Jika tidak mahu bermalam, pengunjung boleh sahaja menghabiskan masa seharian bermandi-mandi atau berkelah bersama keluarga ataupun rakan-rakan di sekitar kawasan peranginan yang tersedia di kampung itu.

Banyak calet yang tumbuh bagaikan cendawan selepas hujan diusahakan di kampung tersebut. Namun tinjauan S2 mendapati kebanyakannya tidak mempunyai prasarana lengkap untuk menjalankan aktiviti riadah mahupun kemudahan bilik yang setaraf dengan hotel lima bintang.

Prihatin dengan keperluan itu, anak jati Kampung Janda Baik, Mohd. Fauzi A. Latif terdorong untuk membangunkan kampungnya yang semakin hari semakin padat dengan pelbagai kemudahan dengan menawarkan pakej kem motivasi bina diri.

Malah, dia juga memikirkan kawasan hijau di Kampung Janda Baik perlu dibangunkan dengan cara yang betul dan terkawal selepas melihat banyak kawasan lereng bukit diteroka sesuka hati oleh pendatang luar yang menanam halia.

Untuk itu, berbekalkan pengalaman yang ada, dia membeli tanah seluas 4.4 hektar di Kampung Cherengin dan membangunkan sebuah resort bertaraf antarabangsa, Cherengin Hills Convention & Spa Resort. Resort itu dilengkapi dengan pelbagai kemudahan dan 136 bilik penginapan pelbagai saiz termasuk lapan suite dan dua suite perdana.

Terdapat juga kemudahan kolam renang, bilik persidangan, kafetaria dan restoran yang menyajikan makanan barat, timur serta beberapa makanan popular penduduk Kampung Janda Baik.

Mohd. Fauzi yang merupakan seorang peguam menambah, matlamat utama resort itu diwujudkan adalah menjadikannya sebagai pusat sehenti program bina diri dan percutian lengkap.

“Dengan adanya pelbagai jenis bilik penginapan termasuk kolam renang, bilik persidangan, kafe dan restoran, mereka yang menginap di sini tidak perlu ke mana-mana. Mereka boleh melakukan apa sahaja di sini, lebih-lebih lagi lokasinya yang hampir dengan Kuala Lumpur,” katanya.

Mohd. Fauzi yang merupakan waris kepada salah seorang individu yang mula-mula membuka Kampung Janda Baik iaitu Haji Yaseh Da’un berkata, selepas memfokuskan kepada pakej bina diri dan seminar, pihaknya kini mensasarkan untuk mempromosikan pula percutian keluarga di pusat peranginan itu.


Produk pelancongan berpotensi besar
MELALUI sepanjang jalan menuju masuk ke Kampung Janda Baik, Bentong, Pahang membuatkan penulis seolah-olah sedang berada di Eropah.

Ini kerana barisan pokok-pokok konifer di lereng-lereng bukit di kiri dan kanan jalan menjadikan suasana agak berlainan daripada hutan hujan tropika yang biasanya dapat dilihat di negara ini.

Terasa sungguh segar dan nyaman apabila berada di kawasan dengan ketinggian kira-kira 500 meter dari aras laut itu, jauh dari hiruk-pikuk kota raya.

Jarak memandu ke Kampung Janda Baik tidak sampai 45 minit dari Kuala Lumpur. Justeru itu, ia memudahkan warga kota ‘melarikan diri’ daripada kehidupan yang penuh dengan tekanan.

Tidak jauh dari pintu gerbang yang menyambut pengunjung ke Kampung Janda Baik, Hutan Lipur Konifer menggamit kedatangan orang ramai ke situ.

Hutan pokok konifer itu ditanam oleh Jabatan Perhutanan sejak 1960-an bertujuan menutup muka bumi yang tidak mempunyai pokok besar, selain memenuhi industri pembuatan kertas ketika itu.

Lebih jauh ke dalam, pengunjung akan melalui empat kampung kecil iaitu Kampung Sum Sum, Janda Baik, Cheringin dan Chemperoh, selain terdapat juga kampung Orang Asli di hujung kampung.

Sepanjang melalui kesemua kampung-kampung kecil itu, dapat dilihat banyak calet serta resort kecil yang sedia menanti kedatangan pengunjung untuk menikmati sendiri kehidupan di kampung yang indah itu.

Mohd. Fauzi A. Latif

Terdapat kira-kira 40 buah calet dan resort kecil yang dibangunkan penduduk tempatan dan orang luar di kampung itu sejak Kampung Janda Baik mula popular sekitar tahun 1980-an.

“Kampung Janda Baik merupakan kehidupan yang berasaskan pelancongan. Itu adalah aktiviti utama penduduk di kampung ini yang mana ramai mengusahakan calet dan resort untuk menampung permintaan dari luar yang banyak,” demikian kata Pegawai Perhubungan Awam Kampung Janda Baik, Azelan Latif.

Katanya, tidak semua pengusaha pusat pelancongan tersebut adalah anak jati Janda Baik kerana ada juga orang luar yang membeli tanah di situ dan mengusahakan pusat percutian sendiri.

Walaupun begitu katanya, aktiviti yang mereka jalankan sebenarnya membuka ruang dan peluang untuk kampung itu terus membangun sebagai lokasi pelancongan menarik di Pahang dan seluruh negara.

Beliau berkata, bukan sahaja pengunjung dari ibu negara malah Janda Baik turut menjadi pilihan orang kenamaan yang membeli tanah dan membina kediaman di kampung itu.

“Pembinaan kilang memproses wayar kuprum terbesar di dunia iaitu Elektrisola juga memberi manfaat pekerjaan kepada ramai penduduk di sini. Selain itu, hotel bertaraf tiga bintang, Cheringin Hills Convention Spa & Resort turut melimpahkan rezeki buat anak-anak muda di kampung ini,” katanya.

Tambahnya, terdapat kira-kira 40 buah resort dan calet yang dibangunkan penduduk tempatan dan orang luar di kampung itu sejak beberapa tahun lalu.

Sementara itu, Ketua Kampung Janda Baik, Zahari Arop berkata, setiap hujung minggu, Kampung Janda Baik menerima kira-kira 1,000 hingga 2,000 pengunjung untuk berkelah bersama keluarga mahupun bermalam di pusat percutian sedia ada.

Katanya, kawasan utama perkelahan dan perkhemahan tertumpu di sekitar Pulau Santap yang mempunyai aliran sungai cetek serta tidak merbahaya kepada pengunjung.

Bercerita lanjut, Zahari berkata, Pulau Santap diberi nama apabila Almarhum Sultan Pahang, Sultan Abu Bakar ketika pemerintahannya sering berkunjung ke kampung itu.

“Baginda sering bersantap di situ, selain membina sebuah istana hinggap di tebing sungai untuk beradu apabila berkunjung ke Kampung Janda Baik. Disebabkan itu, kawasan itu diberi nama Pulau Santap. Namun, istana hinggap itu telahpun dirobohkan,” katanya.

Najib, Dr M, KAFA, KLIA dan Sukan

PERTAHAN NAJIB, HORMAT DR. M
Selepas Perdana Menteri Najib Tun Razak tampil menjawab kritikan keras Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, apa pula perkembangan selepas ini?

Perlahankah Dr. Mahathir atau makin kuat lagi tekanan ke atas Najib.

Awang tiada jawapan tetapi berharap Dr. Mahathir mengambil isyarat banyak pihak mahukan beliau lebih bersikap adil kepada Najib.

Seperti dinyatakan Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Muhyiddin Yassin, berilah peluang kepada Najib meneruskan pentadbiran dengan caranya tersendiri. Beberapa isu yang dibangkitkan oleh Dr. Mahathir terutama 1MDB kini sedang ditangani termasuk di peringkat Jawatankuasa Kira-Kira Negara (PAC).

Pada Awang, kepimpinan Najib perlu dipertahankan sambil kita terus menghormati Dr. Mahathir sebagai negarawan yang banyak berjasa.

Sesungguhnya banyak pihak yang tidak selesa dengan apa yang berlaku dan berdoa agar ada penyelesaian terbaik.

Awang sokong Najib atas banyak faktor dan pertimbangan. Prinsipnya sama. Ketika Dr. Mahathir menjadi Perdana Menteri, ramai termasuklah Najib dan insan kerdil seperti Awang berdiri teguh bersama beliau. Biarpun Dr. Mahathir selalu dikritik hebat atas banyak isu, ramai ke hadapan pertahankannya termasuk melalui penulisan. Sokongan itu bukan kosong tetapi bersandarkan merit dan keyakinan.

Hari ini, giliran Najib pula mendapat sokongan yang sama. Belum terlewat untuk redakan keadaan kerana jika berterusan begini dikhuatiri membawa mudarat besar kepada kedudukan politik Melayu. Apatah lagi dalam landskap politik yang jauh lebih mencabar berbanding era sebelum ini. Buktinya sudah ada pihak yang mahu menangguk di air keruh terutama DAP - tersenyum puas. Memetik komen Dr. Rais Yatim: “Ibarat antan dan lesung berlaga, beras bertabur, ayam yang kenyang.” Awang percaya bukan mustahil untuk Dr. Mahathir dan Najib bertaut kembali. Meskipun ada kenyataan Dr. Mahathir yang dilihat menghina dan membawa aib kepada Najib tetapi Perdana Menteri masih memperlihatkan kesabaran dan ketenangannya. Ruang masih terbuka.

Janganlah bermusim

Awang tidak terkejut dengan laporan utama muka depan Utusan Malaysia semalam iaitu kereta sapu dan ulat teksi kenakan caj RM800 dari KLIA ke Kuala Lumpur.

Memang melampau 10 kali ganda berbanding tambang teksi premium iaitu RM80 bagi jarak yang sama.

Tetapi itulah realiti. Awang kerap tulis tentang gejala penipuan tambang melibatkan ulat-ulat dan segelintir pemandu teksi yang bagaikan tidak terbendung.

Maka apabila Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Awam Darat (SPAD) bertindak menerusi operasi penguatkuasaan dengan menyita beberapa buah kereta sapu, ia sangat melegakan. Tahniah.

Ketegasan seperti inilah yang sangat diharapkan. Janganlah bermusim dan hangat-hangat tahi ayam. Kalau di banyak negara termasuk China, penguatkuasaanya hebat, risikan 24 jam setiap hari dan hukumannya keras - membina kuasa cegah yang digeruni. Pegawai yang tak capai KPI juga ditukar, malah ada dipecat.

Agak menghairankan KLIA, lapangan terbang yang dibina bertaraf dunia, tidak mempunyai sistem keselamatan meyakinkan kepada penumpang. Akibatnya kita sentiasa kecundang kepada golongan yang mensabotaj imej dan ekonomi negaranya sendiri. Tetapi pihak berkuasa masih mampu senyum sengih - tanpa rasa malu.

Hinakah guru KAFA?

Rakaman video seorang guru Kelas Agama dan Fardhu Ain (KAFA) yang dihalang untuk menyerahkan memorandum menuntut kerajaan negeri Selangor menunaikan janji menaikkan gaji guru KAFA, menjadi buah mulut selepas insiden itu viral.

Ekhsan Bukharee Badarul Hisham yang bertindak mewakili hampir 10,000 guru KAFA di negeri itu, tanpa segan silu merintih dan merayu di hadapan para pengawal yang menghalangnya. Pada manifesto pilihan raya lepas, kerajaan negeri gabungan PKR, DAP dan Pas berjanji untuk menaikkan gaji guru KAFA daripada RM1,300 kepada RM1,500.

Sebagai insan kerdil, Awang tersentuh melihat insiden itu sambil mengenangkan nasib guru KAFA. Berikut sedutan rayuannya yang penuh sebak.

“Tolonglah, tolonglah, lepaskanlah, tak payah layan saya macam ini. Hina sangatkah ustaz macam saya ni, saya nak jumpa ADUN pun tak boleh. (Kerjaya) macam saya ni didik anak-anak encik. saya nak beri surat je. Tolonglah, saya merayu nak beri surat tu je. Encik bayangkan (nasib) guru KAFA. Siang ada yang jadi cleaner, malam jaga stesen minyak semata-mata kos sara hidup tinggi. Encik bayangkan gaji kami cuma RM1,212. Tolonglah... saya merayu nak hantar surat je. Daripada sebelum PRU-13, kata gaji kami nak dinaikkan RM1,500 tetapi sampai sekarang (tidak dilaksanakan) ... daripada (era) Tan Sri Khalid sampai Azmin Ali, menteri besar baharu. Asyik kaji, rancang, kaji rancang, itu je. Kerajaan negeri buat kami seperti peminta sedekah, hina sangatkah kami guru KAFA yang mengajar Alif, ba , tha. Jika hina sangat, biarlah kami berhenti kerja.”

Kepada semua, terutama Azmin, renungkanlah. Kepada Ekhsan, usah kecewa, guru KAFA tidak hina malah ia kerjaya yang mulia. Berbanding pemimpin dan parti politik yang peralat rakyat dengan janji manis semasa pilihan raya, itu barulah benar-benar hina.

Sukan jadi mangsa

Tak boleh digambarkan dek akal, kerajaan Selangor mahu gunakan slogan politik Kita Lawan yang dijaja dalam siri demonstrasi jalanan sebagai slogan kontinjen untuk Sukan Malaysia (SUKMA) 2016.

Awang tak pasti sama ada itu idea Menteri Besar Azmin Ali atau orang lain. Sesiapa yang mencadangkan slogan itu patut mohon maaf kepada rakyat Selangor kerana memalukan negeri itu.

Seandainya Sultan Selangor tidak bertindak campur tangan dengan menegur penggunaan slogan tersebut kelmarin, nescaya kontinjen negeri mencatat sejarah songsang.

Ingatlah, ahli sukan atau peserta kontinjen bukannya peserta demonstrasi liar seperti yang kerap dianjurkan oleh PKR. Janganlah lacurkan sukan dengan politik kotor dan murahan. Kalau mahu berpolitik biarlah secara elegan, tidak melampau dan jagalah sensitiviti rakyat. Sekiranya Azmin ketandusan idea, Awang sedia bantu senaraikan beberapa slogan yang lebih sesuai secara percuma. Awang jamin tidak akan beri slogan kitar semula dan berbau politik. Apatah lagi siri demonstrasi Kita Lawan, ternyata telah ditolak oleh rakyat termasuk ramai ahli PKR sendiri. Kerajaan negeri diharap bertindak cepat tukar slogan. Khabarnya, sebelum teguran terbuka dibuat, ada yang degil mahu mengekalkan slogan tersebut biarpun telah diberikan maklum balas yang sama. Tolong jangan main wayang lagi. - Awang Selamat Utusan Malaysia Rencana 12 April 2015

Kenapa enam hari selepas CBP?

Enam hari selepas pelaksanaan Cukai Barang dan Perkhidmatan (CBP) iaitu pada 6 April lalu baru timbul isu cukai perkhidmatan yang dikenakan oleh sesetengah hotel dan restoran. Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri, Koperasi dan Kepenggunaan (KPDNKK) secara tiba-tiba mengeluarkan arahan melarang restoran atau hotel yang tidak ada perjanjian kumulatif antara pekerja dan majikan, tidak boleh mengenakan cukai.

Kenapa selepas enam hari CBP dilaksanakan? Adakah sekiranya rakyat tidak membangkitkan perkara itu, cukai perkhidmatan itu akan terus dikenakan kepada pelanggan? Kalau benar isu cukai perkhidmatan ini dibincangkan di peringkat awal, mustahil dikuatkuasakan secara tergesa-gesa selepas enam hari CBP.

Pelanggan pun sebenarnya keliru apakah definisi “perkhidmatan” yang dimaksudkan oleh restoran dan hotel. Bayangkan selama ini sudah berapa banyak restoran dan hotel yang tidak ada perjanjian kumulatif mengutip cukai perkhidmatan.

Seperti biasa, apabila timbul sesuatu isu yang melibatkan kemarahan rakyat, maka disebutlah berjela-jela akta itu dan ini yang sebenarnya ada tetapi tidak pernah digunakan. Maka berkatalah pegawai-pegawai tinggi itu, sekiranya melanggar arahan tersebut, pengguna boleh melaporkan kepada KPDNKK dan disiasat di bawah Akta Kawalan Harga dan Anti Pencatutan atau Akta Perihal Dagangan atau Akta Perlindungan Pengguna.

Bukan main panjang lagi aktanya sampai orang tua-tua tergeliat lidah untuk menyebutnya. Lalu terbongkarlah sebenarnya arahan tergesa-gesa itu dikeluarkan kerana tidak ada badan khusus yang menyelia cukai perkhidmatan di negara ini. Nasib baiklah ada dalam kalangan rakyat yang cerewet, kalau tidak cukai 10 peratus daripada barangan di restoran entah ke mana perginya. Kepada pekerja tidak, kepada kerajaan pun tidak.

- Utusan Malaysia Rencana 12 April 2015

English proficiency: Consider suggestions by famous education pioneers

THE concern shown by the National Institute of Public Administration over our students’ poor level of English proficiency, “Poor English level a poser” (NST Letters, March 27), should make schools, parents and especially English language teachers reflect on their efforts in helping children master the language, both for academic purposes and for them to be prepared for the working world.

English teachers are still facing problems activating and developing language skills in learners.

Some students are motivated to learn the language, but their passion and perseverance are seasonal and only for short-term goals – achieving excellent grades to make everyone proud, or to meet the requirements for university admission.

Others perceive English as a difficult, unimportant and uninteresting subject to learn, and to love. Teachers need to integrate old and new pedagogies to engage students, regardless of the level of proficiency.

The use of information and communication technologies as well as collaborative teaching are recent strategies that may be effective, but let us also consider suggestions by renowned pioneers in education, including John Dewey, Friedrich Froebel, Johann Pestalozzi, Maria Montessori and Jean Piaget, who proposed various teaching methods to help teachers cope with learners with different personalities and learning styles.

Froebel agreed that the inclusion of songs, stories, games and gifts are suitable for children experiencing early childhood and elementary education, and with necessary and creative amendments in lesson plans, these teaching ideas are likely to attract teenage learners to learn English too.

Students can learn about pronunciation and enunciation through songs; stories help learners develop their curiosity and become critical thinkers; language games make it possible for them to learn and play at the same time while extrinsic rewards like gifts serve as icing on the cake.

Piaget thought that it was important for learners to interact with the environment and he also encouraged teachers to provide concrete materials that children can touch, manipulate and use during lessons.

This direct and informal style of teaching is suitable for weak learners who usually have problems understanding grammar, memorising vocabulary and appreciating literature.

Besides, learners should be allowed to express their thoughts during sharing sessions, as suggested by Dewey, as this will arouse their interest and increase attention span.

Since parents are mutually accountable in helping schoolchildren become proficient in English, they should play their roles by conducting spontaneous learning, as proposed by Montessori.

In this homely yet conducive for-learning environment, children will learn using didactic materials while parents act as facilitators.

Children are gifted with multiple intelligences, and it is our responsibility to discover and develop their individual learning styles.

Some may be able to sit back and listen, but others may need to move to learn.

Muhamad Solahudin Ramli,Marang, Terengganu The NST Opinion Letters 6 April 2015

The struggling history of Dr Mahathir

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been attacking Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in recent days, the sharpness of his criticism is even greater than criticisms from the opposition.

Some criticisms are justified while some are so unfounded to the extent of character assassination, showing his determination of destroying the target at all costs.

However, he does not seem to care at all!

The question is, why does Dr Mahathir keep doing this? Should we ask Machiavelli? Or Freud?

Machiavelli might say that it could be due to political power struggles and interest conflicts; Freud might tell you it could be a psychological problem of a political strongman.

It reminds me of Singapore's founding father, the late Lee Kuan Yew.

Also a former Prime Minister, also a strongman who had named his successor, Lee, however, did not break relationship with his successor, he did not attack him with abusive words either. The leadership baton of Singapore was passed smoothly.

When Lee passed away, his successor Goh Chok Tong made some emotional words, "He made sure he arrived before me for all events.

"As I respected him as my elder and mentor, I told him to dispense with this practice at non-formal events.

"But he explained that it was important to observe this protocol.

"Otherwise, people might draw the wrong conclusion that he did not respect me and take their cue from there."

Lee had considered even such details. No wonder he was so respected and loved by his team and the whole government was so united.

In contrast, even when he was still a freshman, Dr Mahathir had already contradicted the then Umno President and Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.


Some criticisms are justified while some are so unfounded to the extent of character assassination, showing his determination of destroying the target at all costs.

When he became Prime Minister, two giants in the party and government, Tun Musa Hitam and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, had broken relationship with him, become his political opponents and were eventually defeated by him.

His hand-picked successor, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was stopped when he was about to step into the Prime Minister's Department and imprisoned, smashing his dream of taking over the office into pieces.

Another successor Tun Abdullah Badawi, a nice guy who tries not to offend anyone, had to step down under Dr Mahathir's severe condemnation.

Today, it’s Najib's turn.

Lee said in one of his books, "If the new PM fails, I have failed… Mahathir never thought that way. He undermined his successors."

Lee said that as a former Prime Minister, his role was to advise the next generation of leaders in the republic.

As for Dr Mahathir, more than half of his "role" was to defeat his opponents, including the opposition parties, his leaders, colleagues and successors over the more than half a century from the 1960s to 2015.

It is indeed weird as Malaysia has been played in his hands over all these years.

If he spent the energy on fighting against corruption, improve government efficiency and unite the people, he could have won more respect and gratitude from the people.

It makes people wonder whether his actions are for the good of the country? Or himself?

In China, you can hardly imagine Hu Jintao hindering Xi Jinping. In the US, it is quite impossible for Bill Clinton to criticise Barack Obama.

It is a question of the system, as well as part of political ethics. Otherwise, how can a country be governed?

Under a sound system, the opposition and the media are responsible to monitor the government while the Parliament and jurisdiction will restrict the government. Ethically, veteran or former leaders can give advice and criticise policies, but it should not be made based on personal preference. They should never get involved into an endless struggle because of personal and family interests.

What Najib can do is to positively respond to Dr Mahathir's accusations and put everything under the sun to let the people make their judgements, instead of confronting endlessly with the old man. This Opinion article was first published by Tay Tian Yan Sin Chew Daily on April 5, 2015 as published in the NST Opinion Letters April 6, 2015

Education blueprint will forge top global talents

THE Malaysia Education Blueprint for Higher Education (2015-2025), launched on April 7, seeks to prepare future students to meet global challenges through three Bs: Bakat (talent), Benchmarking (to global standards) and Balance.

As a student myself, I hope that the system will nurture students with high spiritual and moral values who are globally competitive. We now hardly produce students who can compete at the global level.

It is a quality required in the 21st century. Thus, we should monitor students’ performances against international benchmarks.

With the blueprint, I hope that we will not be satisfied with just producing mediocre students.

There are 10 areas of focus in the blueprint: holistic, entrepreneurial and balanced graduates; talent excellence; nation of lifelong learners; quality technical vocational education and training graduates; financial sustainability; empowered governance; innovation ecosystem; global prominence; globalised online learning; and transformed higher education delivery.

The blueprint is aligned with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (Unesco) vision for the post-2015 development agenda.

It is an ambitious strategy for Malaysia, and it is a rigorous model for reform. Unesco director - general Irina Bokova said: “Its greatest strength lies in a values-driven approach.”

I agree that students must first have positive traits, leadership and higher- order thinking skills to produce “well-rounded and balanced individuals” who can make good use of their knowledge and intelligence for society.

As the prime minister stated, ethics, spiritual strength, and moral values should be stressed in our students.

Since Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, moral and spiritual aspects should be emphasised to achieve its scientific and professional goals.

Moral education in Malaysia has been applied since two decades ago. The first moral education syllabus was implemented in 1983.

It consisted of 16 values: compassion, self-reliance, humility, respect, love, justice, freedom, courage, physical cleanliness and mental health, honesty, diligence, cooperation, moderation, gratitude, rationality and public spiritedness.

The syllabus has been revised and revisited since then for improvement. In educating diverse students, as is the situation in Malaysia, it is important to encourage them to discover the needs of their cultures and the challenges in a global community.

Globally, moral decay has become a big issue. We face corruption, scandals, cybercrimes and other crimes. It is, therefore, a great challenge for the government and university leaders to produce graduates who can face secular ideas and systems wisely. With the new education blueprint, we hope that we can produce spiritually and morally talented students.

In the long run, we can expect to have good future leaders for a better community.

Ahmad Faizuddin, doctoral candidate, Kulliyyah of Education, Educational Management and Leadership, International Islamic University Malaysia The NST Opinion Letters 10 April 2015

Intan inspires English aspiration

WE refer to the letters “Intan missing the point, students not to blame” by Hassan Talib (NST, March 31) and “Consider suggestions by famous education pioneers” by Muhamad Solahudin Ramli (NST, April 6).

We are on the same page that while the proficiency of English is imperative in steering the nation towards internationalisation and prosperity, its mastery among citizens is on the decline.

We are of the view that concerted efforts are required in this regard.

The National Institute of Public Administration (Intan), as the premier institute for public service learning and development, is tasked with ensuring that civil servants are proficient in English.

Apart from conducting English courses, Intan ensures that English is used in public sector career development courses, especially its signature courses, Diploma in Public Management for Cadet Administrative and Diplomatic Officers at the foundation level, Advanced Leadership Assessment Programmes at the middle management, and Advanced Leadership Management Programmes targeting the top echelons of the civil service.

In addition, English is widely used in preparatory courses for officers selected for post-graduate studies, Intan Ministerial Talks, and Public Policy Lecture Series.

Intan acknowledges that synergised and holistic approaches are required to raise English language competency in the nation.

We believe that this aspiration is the responsibility of all, and Intan hopes that the journey towards English language excellence will be for the greater good of the nation.

National Institute of Public Administration (Intan), Kuala Lumpur The NST Opinion Letters 10 April 2015

Sedition (Amendment) Bill ― Internet users beware!

KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 ― Much has been said about the Sedition (Amendment) Bill, tabled in Parliament this week. There are major concerns about many of the provisions of the Bill. But for internet users, the Bill, if passed, will severely restrict our freedoms online.

The Bill will empower the Sessions Court to make what is known as a “prohibition order” for publication which is “likely” to lead to bodily injury or damage to property, “appears” to promote feelings of ill will, hostility or hatred between races or classes of persons or “appears” to promote feeling of ill will, hostility or hatred between people on grounds of religion.

Unlike many other provisions of the Bill, it appears that the Sessions Court does have some discretion in granting the order. However, the threshold will be low as the bill uses words such as “likely” or “appears”.


If the Sedition (Amendment) Bill is passed, for seditious publication by way of electronic means,
a prohibition order shall require the person making or circulating the seditious publication to remove the said publication. ― File pic

For seditious publication by way of electronic means, a prohibition order shall require the person making or circulating the seditious publication to remove the said publication. So if you have uploaded a status onto your Facebook, the order will require you to delete the post. What is more worrying is that the person making or circulating the seditious publication will also be prohibited from accessing “any electronic device”. So, if you tweet something seditious and the Sessions Court issues a prohibition order against you, you will be prohibited from using a smartphone, tablet, desktop and any other electronic device.

Failure to comply would make the person liable to a fine of RM5,000.00, imprisonment of not more than three years, or both. For a continuing failure, the penalty is RM3,000.00 per day and if the person defaults in payment, he is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 1 year.

The Sedition (Amendment) Bill will also now make it an offence to ‘propagate’ seditious publication. ‘Propagation’ is not defined in the Bill; the normal meaning of the word would be to reproduce, disseminate or spread the publication. For social media users and those using smartphones, this would mean that a person would be liable if he or she shared on Facebook or Whatsapp or retweeted a seditious publication, even if he or she is not the maker of the said publication.

The penalty? A conviction will land the person in jail for at least 3 years, maximum 7 years. For the “aggravated” offence under the proposed Section 4(1A), it will be a maximum of 20 years imprisonment.

The internet does not exist in a vacuum. Laws operate online as much as they do offline. There is certainly a case for a more responsible and mature use of social media. But the Bill goes beyond that. Freedom of speech and expression has always thrived online. With these proposed amendments, these freedoms are now under severe threat.

* Syahredzan Johan is a civil liberties lawyer and reader of Malay Mail Online. The Malay Mail Online Malaysia 10 April 2015

Learning portal for Kedah students

THE Kedah state government has embarked on an ambitious plan to facilitate learning and raising the education standard among its school-goers to a higher level. It has invested RM18mil in the ‘Kedah e-tutor’ programme, a free online education portal which would benefit some 280,000 students from Years Four to Six and Forms One to Five in the state.

Kedah is the first state to offer such a portal for its students, covering at least 80 subjects.

The subjects are Bahasa Malaysia, English, Chinese, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Perdagangan, Pendidikan Moral, Additional Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

The video-based virtual learning programme which kicked off this month, would last until end of the year when the students sit for major national examinations.

The results from their exams would then be used as a yardstick of the programme’s effectiveness before the state government decides if the learning method should be continued.


Easy learning: Mukhriz (right) chatting with students as they view the portal’s official web page.

Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said the state government took human capital development seriously in an effort to transform Kedah into a developed state.

His objective was to make Kedah among the top five states with regard to academic achievements.

“Although we are not a rich state, we don’t compromise when it comes to education.

“The Kedah e-tutor programme is not meant to “disrupt” the rice bowl of tuition teachers but will supplement current efforts be it for students in the city or rural areas.

“With this, everyone would get the equal chance to access and learn like everyone else,” he said after launching the portal at the Sungai Petani Municipal Council’s Dewan Kenangan here recently.

High speed Internet connectivity was not being experienced by 25% of the state and the shortcoming is being rectified.

Mukhriz added that he would not be calculative when it came to education expenditure.

“It’s an investment, not expenses and we’ll get the returns in various forms. Students will contribute to the state one day,” he said.

The portal was created and managed by IT company TH3 Holdings Sdn Bhd. The company was also providing an online education portal for the Perak state government at SPM-level Additional Mathematics and Physics


Who is Sunny Yee?

The portal content provider Sunny Yee said the portal enabled students to surf the Internet for their studies anywhere and at any time

“What makes this online portal so interesting is that the students learn through videos in an interactive way.“We’ve created at least 4,000 videos in this portal, using high-quality green screen production.

“At least 40 teachers, all experts in their respective subjects were roped in to prepare the content in video form,” he explained to The Star.

He said the content of Kedah e-tutor took a year to be completed and the duration for each video is 10 minutes.

During the launch, Yee, who has been giving seminars for the past 30 years, explained to the students the steps to use the portal.

Being well-versed in Bahasa Malaysia and English, he spoke in both languages and also Chinese, while adding in jokes and real-life experiences to make his explanations easy to understand.

The content of the portal is only accessible to Kedah students. For more information, log on to www.kedah-etutor.com.

Last year, Yee was also invited by the state government to give a mind-mapping workshop for Additional Mathematics and Physics to some 1,500 students here.

Also present during the portal launching were state Education, Transportation and Public Works Committee chairman Datuk Tajul Urus Mat Zain, state Education Department director Datin Azuyah Hassan and TH3 Holdings chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr How Kok Choong.

Charting a new path for tertiary learning

Much has been done, but the new education framework will see the nation stay abreast, if not ahead, of global trends.

IT IS a glossy and thick document which charts the direction of higher education for the next 11 years.

Or as it says in its executive summary, the blueprint was developed by Malaysians for Malaysians and will equip Malaysia for the final leg of its journey towards becoming a high-income nation.

Ambitious plans indeed, and the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education) was drawn up in order to achieve them.

It is obvious that much work has gone into preparing the new blueprint. Just as important is for the Education Ministry to see it through the next 11 years and to ensure that these are not just pipe dreams.

Although the blueprint mentions that “these measures are not intended to be exhaustive and may evolve over time”, it is important that the framework which sets out its plan of action is adhered to.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who launched the blueprint earlier this week, has rightly pointed out that implementation is key.

And, on the road to delivering a comprehensive and necessary transformation of the higher education system, everyone involved has to truly understand what the blueprint is all about.

It took about two years for the blueprint to be ready.

After consulting more than 10,500 individuals and referring to studies by the World Bank, Unesco and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the blueprint will now guide the transformation of Malaysia’s higher education landscape.

An extension of the National Higher Education Strategic Plan 2007-2020, work on the new blueprint started in 2013 with the ministry collecting input from multiple sources through town hall sessions, forums and public feedback through their web portal.

Based on discussions and feedback from local and international academia, leaders of Malaysian higher learning institutes and the general public, the ministry recognised the “shifts” needed to transform the system.


A model for reform: Najib (fifth from left), Muhyiddin (seventh from left) and Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan
(ninth from left), checking out the blueprint with students during its launch.

They include holistic, entrepreneurial and balanced graduates; talent excellence; nation of lifelong learners; quality technical vocational education and training (TVET) graduates; financial sustainability; empowered governance; innovative ecosystem; global prominence; globalised online learning and transformed higher education delivery.

With more public consultation and under the guidance of the Cabinet, the 10 shifts were then identified (see table).

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said these shifts will support the five aspirations – access, quality, equity, unity and efficiency – as outlined in the blueprint.

By 2025, the ministry hopes to allow more access to higher education by increasing tertiary enrolment rates from 36% to 53%. This would require an additional 1.1millon seats, mainly in technical and vocational education and training (TVET), private higher learning institutes and online learning.

Muhyiddin said the ministry targets to have an enrolment of 650,000 TVET students by 2025, a 2.5-fold increase.

“Besides that, online learning will be expanded through initiatives such as a compulsory 70% ‘blended learning’ model for all courses and more usage of massive open online courses (MOOCs),” he added.

“Quality” would encompass quality of graduates, institutions and the overall system.

“We want to change the mindset of graduates from being ‘job-seekers’ to ‘job-creators’,” Muhyiddin added.

To ensure that “the system is not overtaxed and execution fatigue is avoided”, the ministry has carefully planned the strategies and initiatives of the 10 shifts across three waves.

This is to build successively on the system’s capacity and capabilities, and the readiness level of higher education institutions improve.

The first wave will focus on establishing the building blocks of transformation; the second will introduce more structural improvements to accelerate change and the third will strengthen the global prominence of Malaysia’s higher education system.

Najib is confident that the blueprint will create well-rounded and talented graduates.

“With the blueprint, our universities are set to transform as we set benchmarks that are of global standard,” he said.

Najib also said he was pleased that the new blueprint emphasised the efficiency and productivity of the public universities.

This, he said, would be an incentive for these varsities to increase the number of publications and research and development.

“Increase performance, increase productivity, increase efficiency and we’ll increase your budget allocation,” he told the over 2,500-strong crowd at the launch of the blueprint.

He was also happy that the new blueprint will now allow varsities greater autonomy.

For the blueprint to be successful, Najib stressed that “it’s all about execution, execution and execution.”

Muhyiddin who is also Education Minister, is taking on the mantle by chairing a Putrajaya higher education committee that will be set up to realise the targets in the blueprint.

The committee will include Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, public sector leaders, the Performance and Delivery Unit, academics, industry leaders, non-governmental organisations and other experts.

“It will be hands-on for me as I will monitor the implementation of the plan.

“We are committed to making tough decisions, whenever necessary, to ensure that the quality of outcomes meets the expectations of the rakyat,” said Muhyiddin in his speech.

“Other than that, the blueprint would be reviewed regularly, with reports published annually.”

The ministry also aims to ensure equal education opportunities for all Malaysians and is committed to improving the enrolment and completion rate of students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

While there is no widely-accepted method to gauge unity, the ministry is committed to ensuring the enrolment reflects Malaysia’s ethnic mix.

This is to provide students with shared values, experiences and common aspirations by embracing their diversity.

When it comes to efficiency, the ministry aims to maximise the return on investment in higher education while maintaining the government’s current expenditure level per public varsity student.

To ensure financial sustainability, public varsities will have to reduce their dependence on government resources by focusing more on monetising assets, carrying out research and development, and obtaining endowments from alumni members, Najib said.

“When it comes to management of public universties, the ministry will shift from being ‘tight controller’ to ‘ regulator and policy maker’,” Muhyiddin added.

Overall, the blueprint proposes major changes in the higher education system in order to keep up with, if not stay ahead of global trends in the sector.

These changes include the CEO faculty programme, where senior industry or public sector leaders are invited to teach in public varsities.

Also, the new funding formulae for public varsities means there will be less funding from the government.

The proportion of block grants will be reduced. And, a significant proportion of funding from the government to institutions will come in performance funding as well as per-student funding.

Greater levels of investment in higher education can also be expected.

In addition to government funding, more funding will arise from endowment funds and other income-generating sources.

This move will provide Malaysians with equal access to high-quality education that meets international standards.

It also calls for more intensive and frequent engagement, collaboration and partnerships with the industry and the public.

A holistic blueprint

Asia Pacific University College of Technology and Innovation executive director Dr Parmjit Singh.
Dr Parmjit Singh

I think it’s an excellent effort. The Education Ministry has obviously put in a lot of work. There was a massive amount of engagement with all the universities who came forward and enough opportunity for everyone who had something to say. The holistic blueprint is more outcome-driven rather than process-driven. It is definitely more about what we are trying to achieve. It’s got a very clear implementation timeline, meaning it’s very transparent. But, it is left to be seen if it can be implemented properly.

We (Mapcu) would like to continue to be involved because it would affect us and we would like to influence the implementation mechanisms whilst upholding the spirit of the blueprint.

Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh

The blueprint is very progressive and the focus is on the students.

At INTI International University and Colleges, we work with online professional network, LinkedIn, in a strategic collaboration to nurture our students and ensure they are professionally prepared and equipped with the right tools, prior to them entering the workforce.

INTI International University vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Rahmah Mohamed

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) deputy vice-chancellor (Research and Innovation) Prof Dr Rahmah Mohamed.
Prof Datuk Dr Rahmah Mohamed

I am very optimistic about the goals set in this blueprint. They are all achievable as they are a continuation of the previous higher education strategic plan. I am confident it will succeed beyond vision 2020. Malaysia has all the ingredients necessary to create successful entrepreneurs.

There is a growing awareness for the need for entrepreneurs and funding is also widely available. But, lectures themselves are not enough as the entrepreneurship spirit needs to be part and parcel of the university. With the new CEO faculty programme, entrepreneurs will come in and help create an entrepreneurial ecosystem within the universities.

Binary University executive chairman and National Higher Education Council member Prof Datuk Joseph Adaikalam

The new funding formulae for public varsities means there will be less funding from the government. We are already working with a private company on developing hostels at our campus.

Universiti Malaysia Perlis vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Kamarudin Hussin

UM has a land bank in Johor which is planted with oil palm. We could monetise this to overcome having less funding from the government.

The blueprint is more holistic and student-centred. Graduate employability is important but we also want our students to be job creators.

Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Amin Jalaludin

It brings me great joy to see the lengths to which the Education Ministry will go to in order to build a better education system as children really are the future of the nation. What I felt during my schooling days was that the cream of the crop were always whisked away and were trained to become better but average students weren’t really given a chance to excel.

I really hope that this will be changed progressively so that everyone, regardless of race or status, will be given equal opportunity to succeed.

KDU University College student Ira Natashya Khoo Mohamad Roni, 20

I think that these are good and honourable goals to strive for but it’s idealistic when we have to be realistic.

To me, it all comes down to implementation. How does the blueprint reform our education system? How does it ensure constant, stable and healthy growth? At the end of the day, if we can achieve the goals with these 10 shifts, I think it would be great.

Brickfields Asia College student Roeshan Gomez, 23

I feel strongly for shift number 10 — Transformed Higher Education Delivery. There is a need to create a consistent performance standard between the public and private universities. Coming from a public university and having studied in a private university before, I can safely say the standards are far apart. Being fully/partially funded by the state government, the public universities are given an upper-hand in setting greater standards but somehow along the way, the standards are lost and the students produced are not up to par.

Some do strive to stand out from the rest but many are not. Yes, students are to be blamed for that but I feel that if the standards are set high to begin with, then the students would strive to perform their best too.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah student Maleni Devadas, 24

This is certainly a good way to align the current trend of students towards the world’s needs. In order for Malaysian students to grow, I believe the government has heard our needs and made this happen.

Today’s world is all about start-ups and enterpreneurs. Youths need to learn to observe the problems in society and then take the initiative to solve the problems.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak student Liang Jian Zhang, 24

I feel that it’s good to ensure that we produce a steady flow of holistic students that matter.

Earning a place in higher education institutions would be much harder but that would also mean higher quality graduates for a more competitive workforce.

The shift that really stood out was Globalised Online Learning. Advocating online learning means that many students in our country will be able to access information anywhere.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak student Eugene Low Jia Hau, 21

It looks good on paper but the question is whether we have the expertise and the resources to realise the targets in the blueprint. Otherwise, it will just be another initiative launched in grand style but not sustained over the years.

I like how they plan to nurture well-rounded individuals who are experts, strongly grounded in ethics especially in spirituality and capable of taking up jobs in any high income economy. Now, the education system should be able to produce graduates who are confident, have good communication skills and can hold their own not only in Malaysia but overseas as well.

Hockey coach Stephen Van Huizen, 57

New direction for higher studies

Our columnist gives his take on how the blueprint for higher education will affect school-leavers in the long run.

THE Higher Education Blueprint goes beyond education. It is about charting a new direction that will determine the future of our nation – this was what Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said at the launch of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education) on Tuesday.

There is no doubt as to the importance of education to a nation and the statement reaffirms the Education Ministry’s aim in introducing the Higher Education Blueprint – to raise the standard of our higher education system, to build on our strengths and comparative advantages, and to meet the demands and needs of the ever-changing education landscape.

I would also like to state that a student-centred focus lies at the heart of the Higher Education Blueprint. All initiatives and strategies are ultimately pursued with the best interest of the students as foremost consideration.


Towards meritocracy: Idris chatting with varsity students during a recent career expo. The blueprint will meet the
demands and needs of the ever-changing education landscape. – Bernama

Therefore, a question I am frequently asked is “How will the Higher Education Blueprint appear like in action?”

In answering this, allow me to share the following examples involving three friends, namely, Hasiah, Chong and Sam. These stories will reflect the future of the higher education system -- as well as explain the seamless continuity from the Malaysia Education Blueprint (Pre-School to Post-Secondary) 2013-2025.

First, there’s Hasiah. Upon completion of the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations, she applies and is offered a place in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) to study environmental sciences. It’s a good choice because USM’s environmental sciences programme is one of the best in the world (ranking 28th overall).

Hasiah will receive a full scholarship from USM’s endowment fund which covers both her tuition fees and living expenses. USM’s endowment fund would be big as many successful alumni contribute to it.

The environmental sciences programme is competitive with a good number of international students.

They too want to understand better, for example, Malaysia’s tropical forests and its economic potential. This will surely keep Hasiah on her toes.

Hasiah’s favourite lecturer is Prof Lim. He is able to spend ample time with his students because he is part of the “teaching” career track, one of four academician career tracks available under the Higher Education Blueprint.

This teaching-focus enables him to be a dedicated lecturer. Hasiah’s favourite book isWhose Padi Is It Anyway written by Prof Akira. He is a talented writer who doesn’t teach as much because he is in the ‘researcher’ career track for academicians. He shares his knowledge through his published research.

Upon graduation, Hasiah gets to work for a padi research centre run by Mr. Vinod.

This job offer comes after Mr. Vinod spots Hasiah’s potential in one of his monthly CEO Faculty classes in which he and a few top CEOs commit about 30 hours a year of their time to teach in various local higher education institutions.

A few years down the line, Hasiah will be able to open a floral shop using skills she picked up from the entrepreneurial modules while at USM. She may prefer being her own boss and become a job creator rather than just a job seeker.

Vocational education

Chong obtained good results in his PT3 assessment, including an ‘A’ for science. Interestingly however, his psychometric assessment which is part of the School Based Assessment (PBS) indicated that he is more inclined towards vocational and technical education and training (TVET) programmes. Chong was not too sure of what he wanted to do – to get into the science stream or vocational college. The PBS’ psychometric assessment tipped the balance for him.

Chong opted for the Tawau Vocational College, one of the top in the country, for the remainder of his secondary school years. Upon completion, he joined the Ibrahim Sultan Polytechnic, which holds the status as a “Premier Polytechnic” as it is able to confer degrees. It was a tough choice as there are presently 33 polytechnics as well as 91 community colleges that offer various TVET programmes nationwide.

Chong eventually pursued a diploma in mechanical engineering. Upon graduation, he worked as one of the engineers for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Railway project and makes a comfortable living for himself.

Skills-based workers, after all, are in very high demand. In fact by 2020, it is expected that Malaysia will need about 1.3 million skilled workers to drive growth.

Experiential learning

Last but not least is Sam. Sam’s journey turns out quite different from that of Hasiah and Chong. After SPM, since he isn’t keen to enter university immediately; he takes up a part-time job as a mechanic, learning skills of the trade along the way. Eventually, the job becomes full-time.

Some 10 years later, Sam says: “I would like to take up studies in the field of business”. So, he applies for entry into university under the ‘Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning’ or APEL initiative which is administered by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).

APEL is one of the lifelong learning initiatives under the Higher Education Blueprint.

To his surprise, his work experience enables him to enrol for a master’s degree programme without having to first obtain a bachelor’s degree!

Subsequently, Sam joins the Open University Malaysia’s MBA programme. He does not have to give up his day job as most of the courses are available online. With the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) modules and through a blended learning system, Sam watches videos of lectures before going to class for in-depth case study discussions.

The education journeys of Hasiah, Chong and Sam illustrate the aspirations (and subsequent available shifts) of the Higher Education Blueprint. It is towards producing balanced and holistic graduates with entrepreneurial mindsets, the nurturing of “job creators” rather than just “job seekers”, the placing of TVET offerings at par with traditional academic programmes, and to make lifelong learning part of the nation’s culture.

In enabling all these educational avenues, the MOE will leverage on technologies like MOOCs and innovations such as blended learning and scale-up industry participation.

Higher education institutions will become more dynamic in order to ensure financial sustainability. Academicians will be able to opt for one of four career tracks, be it teaching, research, leadership or professional, which gives them greater flexibility and opportunities.

The Higher Education Blueprint is in keeping with the times. We are committed to ensuring that together, our goal of a holistically educated nation will be met.

The Higher Education Blueprint can be downloaded at http://hes.moe.gov.my/event/