Monday, October 13, 2014

Treat sedition suspects as guilty until proven innocent, Umno MP says

The Malay Mail Online reports as follows-

Individuals charged under the Sedition Act 1948 must be made to prove their own innocence, an Umno lawmaker said today when calling for the colonial-era law be made stricter. 

In making his suggestion to shift the burden of proof, Tanjong Karang MP Datuk Seri Noh Omar said the nation’s peace was of greater importance than an individual’s civil liberties and legal rights.
“The burden of proof should be on the person who’s charged,” Noh Omar said during the debate of Budget 2015 in Parliament here today.

I was planning to write that the report above, if accurate, really and seriously points to the dire need for legislators to be better schooled in the type of constitutional and legal framework that Malaysia has adopted.

Unfortunately, I have to negate that entire line of thought because online biodata shows that Noh Omar actually read law at Thames Valley University which is now known as the University of West London. He actually has a law degree, for goodness sake.

I'm now going to crawl into a cave to perform omphaloskepsis...

picture sourced here

Friday, October 10, 2014

A nugget

One of the great pleasures of reading is that ever so often you happen upon a well turned phrase, a piece of witticism or a curling remark that gives you a rush of delight. 

In this case it came about when I chanced upon a speech that the late great Malaysian jurist, Tun Mohamed Suffian had given in 1986 at the launch of a book, The Judgments of HRH Sultan Azlan Shah with Commentary

Here's Tun Suffian's passage that gave me so much delight. He was describing Sultan Azlan Shah's demeanour when he sat as a Judge on the Malaysian Bench-

"At work on the Bench he was a good and patient listener, seldom interrupted or asked questions and thereby gave the impression of agreeing to what was being said. It was a good way of curbing prolix counsel, for the experienced judge knows that with some counsel the more you try to steer them away from  tedious repetitions and irrelevancies the more persistent and garrulous they become; all the while you are thinking of the reserved judgments still to be pondered and written and the long list of trials and appeals to be disposed of. It was only after Raja Tun Azlan Shah had delivered judgment that counsel realised to his dismay that the Lord President's reticence meant he was only listening, but not necessarily agreeing."

Monday, October 6, 2014

Malaysian Education and Vernacular Schools - A Story of the Elephant and the Blind Men

As usual, the recent eruption of viewpoints on the matter of vernacular schools in Malaysia is being reduced to polemic. 

One group is calling for its abolition or something stupid along those lines.

The self-anointed defenders are calling for its absorption into mainstream education on the premise that it is the constant need for funding of vernacular schools, which are private, that keeps such schools at the margins of the Malaysian polity.

The problem with contemporary politics in Malaysia is the poor quality of thought and, the awful method of delivery of viewpoints that is devoid of persuasive articulation. Both sides of the divide for any issue are unable to frame the issues coherently.

My small contribution to the matter of vernacular schools is as follows and, my point is that we need to examine the reasons for the shift in enrollment of students by the non-Malays from mainstream public schools to private, vernacular schools.

Without the benefit of statistics (because I'm too lazy to look it up) I believe that up to the mid-1980s, enrollment in mainstream schools was still relatively high. 

What caused non-Malay parents to shift the preference from mainstream public schools to private, vernacular schools?

I believe it had something to do with the decline in quality and standards in the mainstream public schools and the increase in myopic thinking by headmasters since the early 1980s.

I am not a fan of vernacular schools. I strongly believe that mainstream public schools is the best choice. My children attend mainstream public schools.

But, while the quality of students in mainstream public schools in wealthier suburbs are high, I hesitate to give full credit to the schools. Most, if not all, parents send their children for private tuition.

What about students in poorer suburbs? What if their parents cannot afford private tuition fees? What happens to these students?

I very much believe that the key challenge is for the government to focus on increasing the quality and standards of education in mainstream public schools.

I am a proud product of the mainstream public school system that existed in the 1950s through to the early 1980s. I believe that most of the political leaders of today are equally proud products of the system.

Let us focus on what we can do to increase the quality and standards of the mainstream public schools.

If we continue to debate on the symptoms we will never get to the true cause.

source here.

Otherwise, our fate will be to be like the blind men in the story.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

And, we thought it was a good joke...

You know how we like to say about makan places with food and dishes that makes us want to go back to eat again and again and, we tell each other that the cook adds some addictive substance?

The joke turned out to be true here.

This Hotel Allegedly Blocked Your Wi-Fi Hotspot

I'm quite curious to know if this happens in Malaysia too.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

SPM Forecast Results - A clear case of over legislation

This is a clear case of over legislation. Let me be categorical about this-

Firstly, when a private college - emphasis on the word "PRIVATE" - chooses to rely on a student applicant's SPM forecast results that private college is taking a risk. It is, if you will, a BUSINESS RISK. It is a risk in the sense that if that student applicant's actual SPM results falls below the minimum requirements set by the private college the private college will have a vacant position.

It is a BUSINESS RISK in the sense that the number of places available with each intake is, theoretically, finite. So, if a student applicant proves to be below par and, therefore, needs to be ejected, there is a vacancy. Proportionate fees collected by the private college will need to be refunded causing a loss of revenue.

Secondly, when a student applies to a private college using the SPM forecast results, that student is also taking a FINANCIAL RISK and OPPORTUNITY RISK in the sense that if the actual SPM result falls below the private college's minimum entry requirements that student may NOT receive a full refund of the fees paid because time has elapsed and he or she has consumed the teaching services provided by the private college.

The opportunity risk comes in the form of having lost the time and opportunity to have done something else - like join Raleigh International to enrich the student's life through charitable and welfare work...for instance.

This type of transactional relationship is rooted in a private contract between the private college and the student applicant.

It is a free market exchange in the PRIVATE SECTOR that eases the burden on the PUBLIC SECTOR public universities.

All Malaysians understand the need fore private colleges to be licensed and regulated to ensure that there are no scam colleges and, that all academic curriculum offered is in line with Malaysian academic requirements.

But, in the matter of the MOE's notice to private colleges to disregard SPM forecast results the MOE has clearly over legislated.

It is very odd that to date, the MOE has not offered any reasons at all on the basis and intent behind the notice.

Will the Ministers (it is plural because there are apparently 2 Ministers in charge of the education portfolio) or any one of them step up to explain this odd decision on SPM forecast results?

Or, will they abdicate their responsibility and push forward a nameless official with an impassive expression who will drone inanities and irrelevancies on this matter in the vain hope that journalists and parents of students will just tear their hair out and just curl up and shrivel themselves to death - a death caused by exasperation with the Malaysian Ministry of Education which, in recent times, has started to resemble Monthy Python's Ministry of Silly Walks?