That's exactly the message that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi delivered at the Prime Minister's Quality Award ceremony on Sunday evening. Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Civil Servants, admnistrators of institutions of higher learning could really do no wrong by paying heed to the Prime Minister's advice.
Although this blog deals only with issues relating to our education system, there have been plenty of examples of this denial syndrome. The relevant authorities will just take any form of criticisms or "negative reports" as a form of "public bashing" over the last few months. Here's a recap of all the pathetic responses to public criticism, and the inability of the responsible parties to "take negative reports in a positive light".
- Read the fiasco over Dr Terence Gomez, and the inability of Kapten Dato Professor Dr Hashim Yaacob to accept the error of his ways. "Show cause!"
- Read about our Public Service Department's quickfire denial syndrome when the public got upset with the failure of many top students in obtaining scholarships.
- Read about the early termination of Prof P Ramasamy's tenure at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and the subsequent silly excuses provided by the vice-chancellor, Mohamad Salleh Yasin for the university's actions @ Malaysiakini.
- Read about the immediate denial from the Ministry of Higher Education, when confidential student listings were sold to private colleges. "It's not us!"
- Read about another denial syndrome from the Ministry of Higher Education, when attempting to avoid responsibility over the emergence of "accredited" bogus universities. "There's nothing we can do".
- Read also about the refusal of our Minister of Higher Education to accept the widespread criticism of the "Aku Janji" pledge worthy of Joseph Stalin. "It's like prayers".
- And of course, in the most recent world university rankings saga, there was denial, ignorance and incredulity by many parties in public display when UM slipped in its rankings.
I find it really really ironical these days, that the opposition politicians constantly quoting and providing support the Prime Minister, whilst the Prime Minister's own cabinet and party leaders appear to be deafeningly silent, often acting contrary to the advice and directives from the Prime Minister instead. I would not blame a independent foreign observer new to Malaysian politics to find the entire situation amusing or confusing.
The Deputy Dean of the Science Faculty, Professor Dr Kurunathan Ratnavelu of Universiti Malaya wrote recently in the Star that he was "dismayed by some of the destructive comments on UM and its management, made by so-called 'experts'", and he argued that "the management of universities is a serious matter that cannot be handled by persons who lack academic experience!".
I cannot resist but to feel a little perasan and to claim credit for his reference to the "so-called experts", for I know that the articles of this blog were circulated widely within the UM campus. Hence, in this case, as I'm not an academic, I should just keep my mouth shut. But hey, Kian Ming is an academic, hence he can talk!
This Professor Dr Kurunathan Ratnavelu would do well to heed his own words, for he loudly proclaimed (bodek) that:
I was elated to read our Prime Minister’s constructive comments on [UM's drop in rankings]. It is good to know we have such a man in power.Listen carefully, for the Prime Minister now says, that "such [negative] reports should be viewed positively and spur them to work harder to improve the public delivery system."
"If we just ignore the criticism, we would not know whether what we are doing is right or wrong."