Beberapa Gambar Sekitar Gerakerja Di Kawasan Jerai


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pengajaran Dan Pembelajaran Sains Dan Matematik Dalam Bahasa Inggeris

I had attended a roundtable discussion on the future direction of PPSMI yesterday at the Putrajaya International Conference Centre. It was organised by the Ministry of Education to get feedback from political leaders, NGOs, special interest groups including teachers groups, parents, students and so on about the future of PPSMI. I was informed that yesterday’s roundtable discussion was the fourth and final roundtable talk, mainly attended by Barisan Nasional political leaders and State Education EXCO, Pakatan Rakyat representatives, NGOs, NUTP and Parents’ Groups.

Before I go further, a bit of background on PPSMI. PPSMI or the usage of English to teach Maths and Science was introduced in 2003. Since the announcement, there have been a whole load of debate on this issue – whether it is the right move or not, will our children suffer because of this policy, that it is a step back for all other languages, because everything is in English, then Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and the cultures will suffer and so on. The list of negatives were endless. So were the positives – the lingua franca today is English, the scientific language of today is English, we will lose competitiveness in the world if our children are not proficient in English and the scientific language and so on.

In fact, whenever the topic PPSMI creeps into a discussion, seldom you will get everyone agreeing to a point. Same scenario yesterday. So many ideas and opinions surfaced yesterday. Let me list some of them for you:-

i. Totally scrap PPSMI and revert to pre-PPSMI years. It does not matter the amount of money already spent the last 6 years (RM5.2b for the equipment, teaching aids and teachers’ training and allowances) and that one generation of students have gone through it;

ii. Follow through as it is – don’t quit. Obviously it hurts and there will be a lot of resistance initially but things are improving.

iii. Continue with the dual language option.

iv. Discontinue PPSMI at primary level but proceed at secondary level.

v. Continue PPSMI with adjustments and strengthen implementation.

There was this one Interest Group – Parents Action Group for Education or ‘PAGE’ which stood resolutely that PPSMI should continue. In fact they came up with a list of factual arguments to support their ‘appeal’. They also told the audience yesterday, since they started work a month ago and reached out to other PIBGs and schools in the last two weeks, about 68 schools with a total of 56,000 students have signed up to support their cause.

I was impressed with their work and the response they got in a short span of time. Does this mean the parents, public and rakyat in general actually want PPSMI? And that those who are against it are certain groups who are scared that PPSMI will overwhelm them, or their culture, or whatever else they are afraid of? Are these groups resisting PPSMI because they do not want to learn to change?

I for one would like to give them more time and see what kind of response they get throughout the country. I hope they do not focus on urban schools only. They should also get the response from rural based and vernacular schools. As a politician, who else can we get feedback from if not the Rakyat!

Anyway, I want to give my two cents worth on this matter. PPSMI is actually a good policy. It would help our children to learn and understand the scientific language, and even to an extent conversational English. More than 90% of Mathematics or Science Journals / Research are in English. And obviously we need English to compete with the rest.

I want PPSMI to continue, albeit with some adjustments and strengthening the implementation. Yes, I was the culprit who introduced Option 5 to the Roundtable discussion.

This is my proposal.

Year 1 to Year 3 - PPSMI should be more fun based. Lessons should be
very light. Just to learn the terminologies of things and names of animals, hand, feet, eyes and so on. Teachers should also have lessons out of classroom to teach the environment. The approach should be creative – games, songs and what nots. And it should be interactive.

No exams at this level.

Year 4 – Year 6 - Students should be more exposed to the usage of
simple equations, simple formulas and simple problem solving. The approach should still be creative and interactive but no songs and games. More classroom style.

This is a transition period. Exams should be customised accordingly.

At Primary level, the Ministry of Education (MOE) should allow the usage of dual language for all schools.

Form 1 – Form 6 Full implementation of PPSMI, use English.

Apart from this, I would like to suggest the following:-

i. The MOE should also strengthen the English curriculum as a subject.

ii. The minimum qualification for the intake of new trainee teachers to teach under PPSMI scheme must be high. For example, at least a Credit 3 in SPM English. The same criteria must be observed for Science and Maths too. It is of utmost importance that the teachers have the subject matter fully in their grasp before they can teach.

iii. Five / Six of the Teachers’ Traning Institute (IPG or Academic Faculty in IPTAs) be focussed fully on the training of Trainee Teachers to teach PPSMI.

iv. Training and Retraining for teachers already in service should be more effective.

v. The MOE should also focus on schools identified to be weak such as in rural areas, urban poor areas and so on. More allocation and good teachers should be given to these schools.

I want to do something like an opinion poll here. Please leave comments, opinions, your thoughts and ideas on the post. I will gather all these comments (whether positive or negative) and forward them to YB Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin and MOE officers. Let’s get our voices heard by the decision makers.

So everyone, what do you have to say about PPSMI?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Help Kids Get Back In School Programme

Hi guys, Just for everyone's info, I've received a lot of enquiries on the "Help Kids Get Back In School" Programme and am busy replying/tending to each one. Some of you were selfless and offered your time and services to help make this programme a success. Hat's off to you guys.

I am happy to note we have managed to solve some of the problems and are currently working on a few more. I recently had a question posted with regard to Malaysian children who do not have birth certificates. These 'stateless' children have problems getting into the schooling system because of a lack of identification due to various reasons. However as we all agree no child should be denied their right to a proper education no matter what the circumstance.

As such I would like to share with the readers of my blog that I have discussed this matter with YB Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin’s (YB Minister’s) officers and the Ministry has come out with a solution that will allow the child to proceed with his/her education while their status/documentation are being sorted out.

I/you can help these children (Malaysian citizens) who do not have any legal birth documents/ certificates get into school by doing the following:-

i. To get an acknowledgement letter (surat perakuan / pengesahan) from the appointed Ketua Kampung /Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung Persekutuan to acknowledge the child is indeed a Malaysian citizen. Born and bred in the area.
ii. With the letter certifying the above, to approach either the District Education Officer and the State Education Officer to enroll the child into school.

This solution is relevant only to the Education Ministry. The same might not be applicable for applying to the National Registration Department. They might have their own procedures that need to be followed.

I am also volunteering to be the liaison person between these children, any NGOs with the Education offices. My Pemuda UMNO Education Bureau Committee members are more on standby to assist wherever possible. So come on everyone, lets keep the momentum going!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Press Statement Released 15 October 2008


Saya ingin mengucapkan terimakasih kepada Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri dan Hal Ehwal Pengguna serta Jawatankuasa Kabinet Menangani Inflasi kerana telah menurunkan harga petrol sebanyak 15 sen lagi ke harga baru RM2.30 (Ron 97) dan harga diesel sebanyak 20 sen ke tahap RM2.20.

Ini menunjukkan keprihatinan pihak Kerajaan untuk mengurangkan bebanan rakyat dari segi kos sara hidup. Langkah penurunan harga minyak ini akan memberi ruang kepada ramai pengguna kenderaan untuk mengurangkan kos perbelanjaan minyak dan seterusnya memperuntukkan perbelanjaan kepada pelbagai barangan keperluan lain untuk saraan keluarga. Langkah ini juga secara langsung dapat membantu para nelayan, petani dan golongan-golongan lain yang berpendapatan rendah.

Saya juga yakin pihak Kerajaan akan terus memantau perjalanan harga minyak di peringkat dunia , dan seterusnya menilai semula harga petrol dan diesel tempatan pada masa-masa yang sesuai.

Walaubagaimanapun, melihat kepada keadaan pasaran minyak mentah peringkat dunia pada masa kini yang sedang mengalami perubahan harga yang agak ketara dan amat cepat, Jawatankuasa Kabinet Menangani Inflasi serta KPDN & HEP harus memikirkan satu mekanisme untuk dapat memberi reaksi yang lebih pantas kepada pasaran minyak mentah global. Mekanisme yang akan hanya menilai semula harga setiap hujung bulan jelas tidak boleh digunapakai lagi. Keputusan Kerajaan untuk mengumumkan harga baru kali ini selepas hanya 20 hari dari perubahan harga lalu adalah amat berpatutan. Malah, saya ingin mencadangkan bahawa Kerajaan menetapkan satu mekanisme baru yang akan mengira dan menilai semula harga pasaran minyak domestik setiap 14 hari. Ini akan memastikan bahawa sebarang penurunan harga minyak mentah di pasaran global akan dapat dinikmati dengan kadar lebih cepat lagi. Pada masa yang sama, sebarang kenaikan juga akan dimaklumkan dengan cepat supaya tidak berlaku masalah penyimpanan stok berlebihan dan sebagainya. Masalah kerugian yang dihadapi oleh stesyen - stesyen minyak dari segi pergerakan harga juga dapat di tangani.

Saya juga ingin melihat pengurangan harga minyak yang diumumkan semalam disusuli oleh pengurangan harga barangan dan perkhidmatan di seluruh negara. Pada masa kenaikan harga dahulu, ramai peniaga dan pengusaha memberi alasan kenaikan harga minyak sebagai faktor utama mereka perlu menaikkan harga barangan dan perkhidmatan mereka. Dengan penurunan dari harga tertinggi sebanyak 40 sen untuk petrol dan 38 sen untuk diesel, saya yakin kos pengeluaran serta penghantaran di kilang-kilang juga menurun. Para peniaga dan pengusaha patut menterjemahkan penurunan harga minyak dan kos pengeluaran ini kepada penurunan harga barangan dan perkhidmatan yang ditawarkan di dalam pasaran.

KPDN & HEP patut memainkan peranan untuk mengurangkan harga barangan dan perkhidmatan selaras dengan penurunan kos pengeluaran barangan tersebut. Adalah tidak adil jikalau para pengguna masih dibebankan dengan harga yang tinggi walaupun kos pengeluaran telah menurun. Pihak kementerian harus menghalang mereka yang sengaja tidak menurunkan harga barangan dan perkhidmatan mereka kerana ingin membuat keuntungan yang lebih. Pihak Kementerian juga patut tegas sehingga sanggup mengenakan denda tinggi atau menarik balik lesen perniagaan jikalau para peniaga engkar. Para pengguna harus dilindungi dan diberi keutamaan supaya mereka tidak dieksploitasi oleh peniaga.

Saya yakin langkah-langkah ini secara langsung dapat mengurangkan tekanan inflasi yang negara hadapi sekarang. Langkah-langkah ini juga akan membuktikan Kerajaan prihatin serta senantiasa berusaha mengurangkan bebanan dan masalah rakyat.

Weblog –
Ahli EXCO merangkap Pengerusi Biro Pendidikan
Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO Malaysia

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Race Relations

I was shocked and disturbed by the statement made by YB Dato’ Tan Lian Hoe, Deputy Minister of Information and Head of Women’s movement, Parti Gerakan. She said in effect the Malays, Chinese and Indians were all outsiders who came to Tanah Melayu to reside here. Quote from a newspaper – “Orang Melayu datang dari Kepulauan Melayu di Nusantara. Orang Cina dari negara China. Orang India dari negara India.” Unquote..

We can argue until the cows come home on this one. However, quoting Assoc. Prof. Datuk Zainal Abidin Borhan, back then, Malaysia (Tanah Melayu) was part of the Malay Archipelago in the first place. So the question of coming from a totally unknown place did not arise.

Flipping through history books, the widely accepted view is that the Malays and the Indigenous people are the Bumiputeras in Tanah Melayu and now Malaysia. All of us acknowledge that the Chinese and the Indians came from China and India in the early 1920s onwards, brought in by the British to toil the mines and estates then. However, let us not forget that in 1956, our forefathers, leaders then of various communities sat together and signed on a historic agreement. In effect, 1,000,000 new citizenships were given to the Chinese and Indians, whilst the Malays and Indigenous people, known as bumiputeras were given certain privileges to help them be at par with others.

Let us not forget also, amongst those prominent few who “fought” for the independence for Tanah Melayu included Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Tun Abdul Razak, Tun Dr Ismail, Tun Tan Cheng Lok, Tun H S Lee, Tun V T Sambanthan and a lot more who played a role in their own way. By the way, it might be of interest to us that the first person to hold the identity card we have now was Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra with the number 0000001 . Just learned about this fact recently.

And now, after 51 years of independence, what we have in Malaysia is no more Ahmad from Kepulauan Nusantara, Ah Chong from China or Maniam from India. What we have now is Ahmad, Ah Chong and Maniam – all of them born and bred in Malaysia. In fact, if you ask Ahmad where til where Kepulauan Nusantara Melayu is, ask Ah Chong or Maniam about China and India being their homeland, I am very sure you will see only blank expressions on their faces!

Malaysia is extremely unique. We have Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Paganism, Bahaism, animal worshipping and so on in Malaysia. Some are even Agnostic. Race wise, we have Malay, Chinese, Indian, Benggali, Kadazan, Kadazan Dusun, Murut, Bidayuh, Iban, the Orang Asli, the Penans and I am told loads more especially in Sabah and Sarawak. We are even more unique than the US (the so-called melting pot of the world) and the UK. I would actually liken us to a bowl of Rojak. In Rojak, there are many fruits involved – pineapple, apple, cucumber, young papaya and what nots. Each has its own unique and distinctive taste. However, when put together, added with ‘kuah rojak’ these fruits whilst still maintaining the distinctive flavour, blend into a smorgasbord of taste which become very nice and tasteful. That is Malaysia, very diverse in terms of religious and cultural beliefs, but together we make Malaysia the very wonderful country we live in.

Guys, we are all Malaysians. Each and every religion, race and culture have a place in Malaysia. No one race can claim total supremacy over others in this great country of ours. No one race can live in isolation of another. In fact, I want to state that we need each other. Face facts!

Can you imagine what will happen to us as a nation and to Malaysia as a country if we cannot accept and live with each other? I shudder to think of the calamity and wreckage that would ensue if we were so intolerant of one another.

I hope all politicians (and this includes me!) will be very careful when they talk about race relations and other sensitive issues. We can discuss them but not until it hurts the feelings of our friends, colleagues, relatives or even families. After all they are whom are dearest to us and whom we care most for.

I hope Dato’ Tan Lian Hoe will apologise. What she has done can spark another round of ill-feelings on race relations as what had happened because of Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s ( Bukit Bendera UMNO chief ) remarks. If she does not apologise and explain herself, I hope Parti Gerakan will take a leaf from what happened to Datuk Ahmad Ismail. We cannot tolerate such insensitive and provocative remarks.

Me…… I want to learn about all the religious and cultural beliefs that Malaysia is so rich of. It does not hurt to know and will actually help me understand my friends more and the Malay, Chinese, Indian and Siamese folks back in my division. That is one way to help my division, my state and my country to develop and for me contribute towards nation building – by understanding and respecting all religious, racial and cultural practices that we have in Malaysia.

Malaysia is our one and only home for all of us.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

"Back to School" programme

It has been several days since I wrote / posted anything. However, I would like to say, I am encouraged and happy by the response I am getting from the “ Back to School” programme I started recently. Many people and NGOs have responded, not only for this particular programme, but to explore other initiatives that we can take on to help our children in education.

I will respond to all and discuss what we can do to help build our nation together. Again thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you. Keep it coming!

Friday, October 3, 2008

ISA at Open House

Hari Raya is a celebration for the Muslims who have gone through fasting for the whole month of Ramadhan. For families, especially Muslims, it is a time when families gather, when the younger ones who had migrated to the cities to work would go back to kampungs, bringing their children to meet the granddad, grandma and the rest of the family. In Malaysia, Hari Raya celebration becomes more joyous and unique, as would all other celebrations in Malaysia, as it is celebrated by all walks of life and by all races.

Malaysia is also unique because whether it is Hari Raya, Chinese New Year or Deepavali, we will host open houses where our families and friends from various races will come to visit and share these celebrations. I was happy that I could continue this tradition of hosting a small open house this year. And as in previous years, I was happy that friends from various races came to share my Raya celebrations. It was good as we laughed, talked, discussed (some relatively heavy issues) and parted feeling good and happy. On a personal note, some of my friends could not come to my house this year because of various engagements. To them, as promised, I thought of you guys each time I put a chicken kurma or beef rending into my mouth. Not to mention the nasi tomato or prawn sambal and so on – hahahaha ( Ed’s note -personal joke there).

I was also happy to learn that our Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and cabinet members also hosted an open house at PWTC. I was amazed when I heard approximately 200,000 people from all walks of life and of all races took the effort to celebrate Raya with our leaders. I was informed ambassadors, foreign dignitaries, foreign tourists also came for the open house as was the case in the previous years. In the news reports, many reacted extremely positive for the closeness we have between races in Malaysia and hoped that this unique tradition of all races celebrating all celebrations continue for years ahead.

This open house concept where you get to meet with the Prime Minister and the whole cabinet face to face, shake hands, take photos and so on is extremely unique. In fact I believe the only one in the whole world. Even in the US or UK you do not get to go so close to their President or Prime Minister or even their ministers and so on.

I have to say that I am actually proud of our people and the country for this.

But I was extremely sad when I heard about what the ISA group did. Whilst I can accept they were fighting for something they believe in, I thought what they did at the Raya open house was distasteful and left a poor image of the country to the public, foreign dignitaries, foreign tourists and international community.

I quote here from an entry in titled Hartal ISA at PWTC Hari Raya open house “Got to the meeting point at the Mall just before 11am and almost immediately realised that the plan to stand in a row at the entrance as the diplomats and dignitaries arrived would not work as we were informed that they would drive up straight to the 4th floor”.

Whilst I have no problems with people going for the raya open house and even whisper a thing or two to the PM, these people were out to create a ruckus and embarrass the nation in the eyes of the foreign diplomatic corp. Their initial plan was to stand in a row at the entrance where foreign dignitaries and diplomats were supposed to arrive and show a protest on the ISA and the arrest of RPK.

Reading further into the entry of the same blog, these people momentarily even blocked the entrance, denying other visitors from going in and also caused a loud commotion in the middle of the crowd.

Please guys, why do all these? Just to embarrass the PM ? Cabinet? …..Or the country? Whatever you did was counter productive.

In fact, from what I have read, the Hindraf supporters were much better behaved than the ISA group. They came in numbers but were orderly and just wanted to give PM a card without causing a problems. The message on the card is not the question here but they did it with decorum without creating public discomfort.

And the blog also said that all the members of the ISA group refused to shake hands with any other ministers that were jointly hosting the open house!!!! Do you guys know that it is courteous to shake hands with people you meet and more so with your hosts? This is not only the Malaysian way, but the norm and accepted decorum throughout the world.
I am extremely sad. I love my country. I am sure you do too, and you feel passionately about repealing the ISA. Whatever your reasons are, you have achieved only one thing with your antics – you have managed to shame the country in the eyes of the world.

The End Objective Cannot Justify the Means.