September 11th, 2015

Perlembagaan dan perundangan

BIDANG kuasa Persekutuan dan negeri ditetapkan oleh Perlembagaan Persekutuan (Perlembagaan). Undang-undang jenayah terletak di bawah bidang kuasa Persekutuan. Kuasa membuat undang-undang Persekutuan terletak kepada Parlimen Persekutuan (Parlimen).

Perlembagaan juga memberi kuasa kepada Badan Perundangan Negeri (BPN) untuk membuat undang-undang bagi mewujudkan kesalahan-kesalahan berkenaan suruhan agama Islam (precepts of Islam) khusus bagi orang yang menganut agama Islam sahaja. (Penggunaan kata-kata “jenayah Islam” bagi kesalahan-kesalahan itu tidak tepat kerana terlalu luas).

Parlimen tidak boleh membuat undang-undang mengenai perkara yang terletak di bawah bidang kuasa negeri dan BPN tidak boleh membuat undang-undang mengenai perkara yang terletak di bawah bidang kuasa Persekutuan. Jika dilakukan, undang-undang itu tidak sah.

Selain itu, bagi kesalahan-kesalahan yang terletak di bawab bidang kuasa negeri pun, terdapat had hukuman yang boleh diperuntukkan. Ia ditetapkan oleh undang-undang Persekutuan iaitu Akta Mahkamah Syariah (Bidang kuasa Jenayah) 1965 (Akta 355) yang mengehadkan hukuman penjara tidak lebih daripada tiga tahun dan denda tidak lebih daripada RM5,000. Jika BPN menetapkan hukuman selain dari itu atau lebih dari itu, peruntukan tersebut tidak sah.

Undang-undang jenayah Persekutuan terkandung di dalam Penal Code (memberi satu misalan mudah yang telah wujud sejak 1936. Semestinya kesalahan-kesalahan yang terkandung di dalamnya adalah “undang-undang jenayah”. Jika tidak apa lagi?

Sepanjang yang penulis tahu, Parlimen tidak pernah melanggar bidang kuasa negeri. Masalah timbul sekarang kerana BPN cuba melanggar bidang kuasa Persekutuan.

BPN Kelantan telah meluluskan Enakmen Kanun Jenayah Syariah (II) (1993) dan Pindaan 2015. Enakmen itu membuat undang-undang (legislate) mengenai undang-undang jenayah Persekutuan yang terdapat dalam Penal Code mengenakan hukuman berlainan dan lebih daripada yang dibenarkan oleh Akta 355, oleh itu bercanggah dengan Perlembagaan dan Akta355 dan oleh itu, tidak sah dan batal.

Meminta kebenaran Parlimen kemudian dan meminda Akta 355 kemudian tidak akan menjadikannya sah, sebab pada masa BPN membuat undang-undang, ia tidak ada kuasa untuk berbuat demikian.

Apakah Kerajaan Negeri Kelantan boleh buat sekarang? Enakmen itu hendaklah diketepikan sahaja. Selain itu, ada beberapa pilihan yang Kelantan boleh buat. (Untuk memudahkan perbincangan penulis tumpukan kepada hudud sahaja).

Pertama, Kelantan boleh minta Kerajaan Persekutuan (Persekutuan) untuk meminda Akta 355 untuk membolehkan BPN membuat undang-undang bagi mengenakan hukuman hudud yang terletak di bawah bidang kuasa negeri (zina, menuduh orang berzina, murtad, meminum minuman yang memabukkan).

Jika Persekutuan melalui Parlimen meminda Akta 355, maka BPN bolehlah membuat semula undang-undang yang mengenakan hukuman hudud kepada kesalahan-kesalahan tersebut. Undang-undang itu adalah undang-undang negeri, terpakai kepada orang Islam sahaja dan ditadbirkan oleh Mahkamah Syariah. Penulis namakan ini sebagai pilihan pertama.

Pilihan kedua yang boleh dilakukan oleh Kelantan adalah meminta Parlimen supaya membenarkan BPN membuat undang-undang (legislate) mengenai kesalahan hudud yang terletak di bawah bidang kuasa Persekutuan (membunuh, mencuri, merompak, merogol).

Jika Parlimen memberi kebenaran tersebut, maka bolehlah BPN membuat undang-undang (legislate) untuk mengenakan hukuman hudud kepada kesalahan-kesalahan itu. Tetapi, perlu diingati bahawa kesalahan-kesalahan itu kekal sebagai undang-undang jenayah Persekutuan. Sebabnya, Parlimen hanya membenarkan BPN membuat undang-undang (legislate) mengenainya.

Parlimen tidak memindahkan kesalahan-kesalahan itu daripada bidang kuasa Persekutuan kepada bidang kuasa negeri. Untuk berbuat demikian Perlembagaan perlu dipinda. Ia memerlukan undi dua pertiga. Kesalahan-kesalahan itu terpakai kepada orang Islam dan bukan Islam dan ditadbirkan oleh Mahkamah Sivil. Adakah itu yang Kelantan mahu? Persekutuan perlu fikir tentang implikasinya:

1. Adakah orang bukan Islam di Kelantan menerima hukuman hudud bagi kesalahan-kesalahan itu?

2. Sanggupkah Persekutuan menyerahkan sebahagian daripada undang-undang jenayah yang terletak di bawah bidang kuasanya kepada Kelantan untuk dipakai hukuman hudud baginya?

3. Mahukah Persekutuan melihat, bagi beberapa kesalahan yang sama, di Kelantan lain hukumannya dan di negeri-negeri lain, lain pula hukumannya?

Pilihan ketiga ialah gabungan pilihan pertama dan kedua dengan implikasi-implikasinya sekali.

Paling ketara ialah di Kelantan akan ada dua set “undang-undang hudud”: satu set di bawah undang-undang negeri, terpakai kepada orang Islam sahaja dan dibicarakan oleh Mahkamah Syariah manakala satu set lagi adalah undang-undang Persekutuan yang terpakai kepada orang Islam dan bukan Islam dan dibicarakan oleh Mahkamah Sivil. Itukah yang dikehendaki?

Pilihan keempat ialah minta Kerajaan Persekutuan meminda Penal Code an mengenakan hukuman hudud kepada kesemua kesalahan hudud yang terletak di bawah bidang kuasa Persekutuan.

Jika itu dilakukan, kesalahan-kesalahan hudud Persekutuan itu (bunuh, merompak, mencuri, merogol, liwat) akan kekal sebagai undang-undang jenayah Persekutuan yang terpakai kepada orang Islam dan bukan Islam dan dibicarakan oleh Mahkamah Sivil.

Sanggupkah Persekutuan berbuat demikian? Adakah Kelantan mahu keadaan seperti itu? Sanggupkah orang bukan Islam menerimanya?

Pilihan kelima ialah gabungan pilihan pertama dengan pilihan keempat dengan kesemua implikasinya. - Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad Utusan Malaysia Rencana 11 September 2015

Need for students to strive for top scores

IN response to Samuel Yesuiah’s letter, “Push for excellence may prove too much for UPSR pupils” (NST, Sept 8), I disagree with his point regarding “overemphasis on examination excellence and the obsession with zero-defect in examinations”.

There should always be a need for students to strive and obtain top-level A results. The problem with the Year Six pupils is that they have never been given the impetus needed from the very beginning, when they were in Year One.

‘ What some of the pupils are learning in Year Three should have been taught in Year One when they enter the national school system from kindergarten.

The assumption from the establishment is that in Year One, pupils would not be able to master learning procedures hitherto given to Years Three to Five. I know this to be a misconception.

These post-kindergarten students are regularly helped to understand school programmes by their parents. Many teachers “are put through a lot of stress and pressure for the sake of their children”.

However, this would not be the case if the parents were more involved in their children’s education. Classes for parents to understand what their children are studying will benefit the children, especially in the one to two years before they experience the more complicated sentence compilation needed for essays.

We need to see and know that our children can master essay writing by the time they are in Form One. We must continue “the overemphasis on examination excellence for 12-year-olds”.

This will not subject the pupils to any stress. It will happen because we would have laid a firm foundation from the beginning of their learning to the cementation of a very good primary infrastructure from both teachers and parents. Philip Rashid, Johor Baru, Johor The NST Letters 10 September 2015

Language only taught for 5.7 days in a year

THE English language is taught as a single subject in the primary and secondary school curriculum. English is taught for 200 minutes a week in secondary schools, or 40 minutes a day for five school days.

There are, at most, 205 school days in a year. So, during the whole school year, secondary school students in each form are taught 8,200 minutes of English a year, which is equivalent to 136.7 hours. This, in turn, is equivalent to 5.7 days in a year!

That is the actual teaching time for English language in secondary schools. A Form One student is taught English for 5.7 days for the whole schooling year.

How much language input can teachers give to the students in 5.7 days? How much oral and written language can students learn in 5.7 days?

A vast majority of students, especially in rural areas, do not have any exposure to the language outside of English lessons in the classroom.

Students in the outskirts generally do not have enough practice or usage of English in the classroom. Expecting students to speak impeccable English, solely based on the lessons in the language classroom, is a far-fetched dream.

It is virtually impossible to master any language without practice and usage outside of the classroom. Learning the language needs active participation and interaction in the language.

The best swimming coach can instruct swimmers orally on the best techniques and effective ways to swim. But, the swimmer has to step into the water to apply the techniques in order to learn to swim.

The swimmer will not be able to swim without getting into the water. In the same way, English language students have to be given an environment where they can have the opportunity to be exposed to the language in real and meaningful situations.

All efforts and policies, programmes and plans by the Education Ministry to strengthen the English language up to this point are mere knee-jerk reactions and will not make any significant impact.

If the government is serious in checking the deterioration of the English language, it has to listen to the major stakeholders and implement policies that advocate a radical transformation.

There is a dire need to create a English-speaking environment outside the classroom.

Students need to be exposed to and immersed in the language outside of the classroom. The school assembly can be conducted in English, and announcements and speeches can also be conducted in the language.

English Day and English Week should be revived with more activities and programmes. More opportunities should be created for students to speak in English in schools.

English-medium schools need to be reinstated in big towns, as they are fundamental to our education system to check the deterioration of English.

The rapid mushrooming of international and private schools, which use English as the medium of instruction, and the high demand for these high-priced schools are testimony to their importance.

According to a report, 15,000 children from Johor are studying in Singapore because of their English education. Why should we deprive our students in public schools of an English education?

Finally, two or more subjects should be taught in the English language in all primary and secondary schools. This is to complement the teaching of the English language. Samuel Yesuiah, Seremban, Negri Sembilan The NST Letters 11 September 2015

We don’t want more excuses

I AM disappointed and angry at the same time. For years, letters and appeals have been made by members of the public, leaders and organisations on the importance of the English language.

It has all fallen on deaf ears. The education sector is a victim once again. Every time we have a new education minister, we have to endure the inane decisions made.

Same answers and same excuses. Many committees have been formed. Many ideas have been given. If they were implemented, we would have seen results by now.

Our education system is going down the drain. And what do we do?

We keep introducing new subjects. Students are bogged down with heavy bags, books and unnecessary pressure. We do not rectify the weaknesses, but pile on the weakness instead.

We brag that we have the best system. This may be true on paper, but in reality, we are a crying shame as countries that used to be weaker than us, have now overtaken us.

Stop blaming rural students for their lack of proficiency in English. If they are not taught well, how do they improve? Increase informal learning.

That will improve the confidence to speak the language and reduce the phobia. School concerts, plays, dramas, singing competition, debate and public speaking should be brought back to school.

Informal learning such as these can be done in English. Reduce the number of learning subjects. For example, we do not need Moral, Civics or Pendidikan Jasmani as three different subjects, but as one subject.

Let our children enjoy learning once again. We do not need roundtable committees and studies on why the standard of English is in such a deplorable state.

We know the answer, but we refuse to accept it. English is not our national language, but it is a global language that covers many aspects of education via the Internet.

Most Malaysians are not readers because they cannot understand what they read. Do not compare us with Japan, Korea or even China, saying that they, too, do not learn English.

While we fight to accept our children's weakness here, these countries have moved forward and embraced English. We have regressed; they have progressed.

Wake up, Education Ministry! Wake up, teachers and parents! We need quality, not quantity.

Children need a good foundation in education to have an employable qualification. This does not mean we have to send them to private or international schools.

National schools can do the job. There is no use producing weak graduates because a person with a Form Five qualification of the past has more quality than a graduate today.

No more excuses. We want change and a good change.

A change that can be seen in a child in terms of language and thinking skills. Education must move with the times, because time and tide wait for no man. Sarala Poobalan, Kuala Lumpur The NST Letters 11 September 2015