Thursday, April 20, 2006

"Making the Most of the Best and Brightest"

I am certainly glad that the Malaysian Parliament does not consist only of clowns like Datuk Badruddin Amiruldin (UMNO-Jerai) who continually spout bigoted and uneducated opinions such as "[c]lothes can be indecent, too. That's why rapes happen. Clothes play a part when someone becomes a rape victim.". (The President of the Bar Council, Yeo Yang Poh was understandably"speechless, when a statement of such ridiculous proportions comes from a representative of the rakyat.")

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, the founder of one of Malaysia's largest legal practice and the Member of Parliament for Kota Bahru, has this to say recently on the development of human capital under our 9th Malaysian Plan (9MP):
It is true that the development of infrastructure and superhighways has propelled this country to great heights... However, it is impossible to maintain our present economic status, let alone achieve developed nation status, without world-class manpower and highly skilled workers.

What is needed is a holistic approach to creating a framework whereby knowledge and skills are developed; where society puts a premium on ideas and the country values people who are intelligent.
Datuk Zaid asked if we possess the "First World mindset" that our Prime Minister continually harped on throughout his tenure, and particularly in the 9MP. He went on to argue that many of the policies contained in the 9MP are in themselves contrary to the Prime Minister's aim of inculcating the "First World mindset". He rightly pointed out that "government nannying and restrictive affirmative-action policies will hinder the development of Malaysia's human capital".

Datuk Zaid proceeded to highlight three key critical success factors in achieving the "First World mentality" as well as to achieve maximum gains from the crtical objective of developing human capital.

1. Meritocracy
...we must subscribe to meritocracy as a desirable and valuable proposition; which is worthy of support as it is an ethical proposition. Only through a vigorous adoption of this policy can we achieve a world-class economy. How else can we garner the best and the brightest to serve the country if we are not resolute about developing and nurturing them?

It is impossible to get the best to serve the country in any field of human endeavour unless we value and reward them accordingly. The emphasis on meritocracy does not mean we have to abandon our desire to help the disadvantaged among us. The compassion we offer to the less fortunate and the less gifted must continue. However, no allowances should be made to accommodate mediocrity and laziness.
2. Ethnic Neutrality
...we must overcome this obsession with racial statistics within the various contexts - corporate ownership, the civil service, the number of professionals in the country, and student ratios in schools and universities.

Past or existing affirmative action policies extending assistance to Bumiputeras must be reviewed to remedy drawbacks because these have contributed to unhealthy practices and inculcated a feeling of alienation among some Malaysians.
3. Academic Freedom & Intellectual Growth
...the development of manpower capabilities requires an environment that is conducive to intellectual growth and stimulation. Such an environment would encourage and promote the rational pursuit of knowledge, reward healthy competition and be pragmatic in its approach...

We must be willing to grant some autonomy to our academic institutions, protect freedom of expression to allow our media to comment and inform without fear of prosecution, and nurture intellectual growth through open debate by academics on crucial issues of public importance... We must adopt and adapt the cultural values of the First World if we are determined to compete against them on the playing field of knowledge.
Well, I can't agree more. Dearest cabinet members, can you hear the rakyat speak?

Footnote: Datuk Badruddin Amiruldin was also infamous for his statement that "Malaysia ini negara Islam, you tak suka, you keluar dari Malaysia."


clk said...

With due respect to Datuk ZI, what he spoke in the Dewan is well known amongst many readers here.

The $64 question is, where will it lead to? The political will is too weak to be put on stake although most of the readers here probably believe that what was said is needed to be implemented successfully to ensure our future existence in this globalised environment.

Anonymous said...

Each party has to be responsible for the number of jerks in the August House. Parties have to be aware of these kind of people (like Datuk BA and others) and select their representatives during the election wisely and not just depending on the amount of "deposit" they placed. Aren't these practices illegal in Islam in the first place? If YAB PM is really serious in implementing Islam Hadhari (or so he said), this is the first thing that has to get out from our society.

What are MPs for if they are just plain idiots who receive their monthly allowance from tax payers without using their brain at all to benefit the people? This is just like investing (buying) in the post and then "goyang kaki", say some stupid remarks once a while, and receive the profits from their investment. What the heck!

On the other hand, the people, we, also have to be responsible in some sense. We are the one choosing our representatives, including those "weirdos" and "brainless" jerk. But, I am not saying we should vote for opposition, but rather, choose wisely. =P

Anonymous said...

bottomline, the majority will continue to vote for ppl like Badruddin because they're very livelihood depends on them. period.

Anonymous said...

Rafiah Salim Named Universiti Malaya Vice Chancellor

Check out

Anonymous said...

No way this is bolehland. How many Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and I'm not surprise in next UMNO election, he will be kick out. During TDM tenure non bumi has more opportunity like open up the JPA scholarship, Matriculation and MSRM. Now more of this is slowly taken back and the reintroduction of NEP.

Due to the nature of my work I visits lots of school and these is what I discovered:-

1. Non bumi HM is only allowed in certain school.

2. Matriculation application are not allowed in non bumi majority school.

3. School representative reserve for bumi.

4. Bumi and non bumi in separate class.

5. You will be surprise, stop for prayers at 1.00+ and 4.00+ pm.

6. Latest new rules, boys and girls are not allow to hold hands.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous April 21, 6:32:18 pm

My daughter's school has a Chinese headmistress. Another school close by also has a Chinese headmistress.. Both these schools are in Petaling Jaya. I would think it's a privilege to be head of these schools in the prime areas of PJ. So, when you say "Non bumi HM is only allowed in certain school" (sic), what do you mean? What are you trying to imply? Are only Chinese heads given the best locations and the Bumi ones thrown in a god-forsaken kampung somewhere?

Also, another school I know, also in the PJ area, is 85% populated by Chinese students. So definitely it can't avoid having full classes of only Chinese students (in every form). So what's the big deal? "Bumi and non bumi in separate class."... so what? Are you trying to imply that special treatment is given to the bumi? or non bumi?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Fri Apr 21, 03:50:11 PM said...
Rafiah Salim Named Universiti Malaya Vice Chancellor

YAAAYYYY .. UM finally has a VC. And a woman at that. But wait a minute.. what was the target now - 60%-70% lecturers with a PhD? And what has she NOT got now? Ok, ok, 'a phd is not a be all end all' as I recall Tony saying earlier. But this is just another example of how screwy the administration is in coming up with a policy and not following up closely with action. So much for leadership by example.

Anonymous said...

she has a honorary phd :p

Anonymous said...

If I am not mistaken shefailed to complete her PhD programme....TWICE!
Will some one do a SEARCH on her academic background?

What are her publications to date??
Prof Khoos is on the selection commitee, why doesnt he comment on her publications as an academic??

I think the University has gone to the dogs or have scraped the bottom of academic respectability

Anonymous said...


...." speechless and lost for words".....

Anonymous said...


professor khoo is following orders maaa

as for Rafiah's bio and all... a user at Jeff Ooi's site managed to dig something up.,25529,en.pdf

Anonymous said...

This is another political influence appointment. The new VC is from Kelantan as well as the minister(MM), They want to capture that state in the next election and uni students had a great influence on voters.

Also both Datuk BA and Datuk ZI is the same. Both have political hidden agenda. One from a mixed constituency and another from a predominant malay. Of course they have to speak according to the wishes of his people.

Meritocracy is dead in bolehland.

Anonymous said...

Only one Prof Khoo in the selection committee. He was against another 4. Who's gonna listen to him?

Anonymous said...

Ehh, i wonder who wrote the article about our first woman VC, somemore in UM

Anonymous said...

To anon apr 22, 09:09:30 am

You only see what is happening in PJ. Don't you know that PJ folks are very good in complaining. They even want to take MPPJ to court. Those people are very smart, they show to PJ folks that everyone is the same. Come and see what happen to schools which have 30% to 50% non bumi and what treatment do they receive. You are just a "katak dalam tempurung"

Anonymous said...

dear Anonymous Sat Apr 22, 03:34:12 PM

So sorry that you missed the whole point. I should have known.

Anonymous said...

To Anon Apr 22, 08:04:58 pm

Schools in Petaling district which have:-

1. Bumi HM - SMK Sri Permata, SSAAS, Subang Jaya, Sri Serdang, Tmn. Dato Harun, Damansara Jaya, Batu 8 Jln. Puchong, Seksyen 16 Shah Alam, Damansara Utama, Subang Utama, Kelana Jaya, Seksyen 11 Shah Alam, Seksyen 18 Shah Alam, Seafield, Seksyen 24 Shah Alam, Seksyen 19 Shah Alam, Alam Megah, Sri Muda, Sri Utama, SS17, Bdr Sunway, Sri Indah, Puchong Perdana, Seksyen 9 Shah Alam, Subang, USJ 4, USJ 13, USJ 8, USJ 12, Puchong Utama, TTDI, Seksyen 10 Kota Damansara, Seksyen 1 Bandar Kinrara, Tropicana, USJ 23, Seksyen 3 Bandar Kinrara, Seksyen 4 Bandar Kinrara, Seksyen 7 Shah Alam, Pusat Bdr Puchong, Bukit Jelutong, Bukit Bintang (L), La Salle, Sri Aman, Tmn Sea, SAS, Tmn Petaling, Teknik.

2. Non bumi HM - Puchong Batu 14, Bdr Utama, BUD(3), BUD(4), Assunta, Katholik,

Just see the difference.

Anonymous said...

While possibly inappropriate in the context of the blogged topic, I just want to state a fact about the continual browbeating of Datuk Badruddin Amiruldin, as it was featured in the introductory paragraph.

I think he is being unfairly criticized, and am appalled especially the vehemence of the criticisms. What he did was suggest (in the verbatim of the statement '[c]lothes [CAN] be indecent', that potential rapists are spurred by the amount of (or lack) clothes on. I think his statement is perfectly plausible- you really do not expect a female dressed skimpily who is exposing a large chunk of cleavage to really not arouse or entice a potential rapist sexually, do you? Compare this hypothetical situation with someone dressed in a full fledged dress, and of course, a rapist might just rape both, but personally, I believe there is a higher probability of that occurring to the former. And for the record, I highlighted the word CAN, and as such, it is merely a possibility.

In view of the severity of the criticisms focused on him, I would like to draw parallels between him and Harvard's outgoing president Lawrence Summers. Typically, when he suggested that there are lesser women in the field of sciences and technology because of intrinsic aptitude, it caused uproar and he was eventually sacked (also because of a myriad of other factors, including the Dept. of Arts and Sciences, and allegations of misconduct.)

However, what he did was 'suggest' the probability of such an event; it was by no means a fact, but merely the assumption that there could be possibilities behind such a phenomenon. Indeed, eminent psychologists like Steven Pinker laid credence by stating that the matter could be investigated, researched, and disproved. What he did wasn't the gospel-of-truth.

The point is that Summers was just suggesting that such possibilities could exist. And similarly, Datuk Badruddin was making a suggestion too. If we are ignorant and continue to brush away such assumptions without thoroughly studying the facts, I don't believe we're any different from Datuk Badruddin.

By the way, Summers is one of the most distinguished economists in America. He reached there by being inquisitive; we probably can draw some lessons from that too.

Anonymous said...

"you really do not expect a female dressed skimpily who is exposing a large chunk of cleavage to really not arouse or entice a potential rapist sexually, do you? "

This analogy is not applicable, and in anyway is totally unfair. You are saying as if, if you are rich, you deserved to be robbed. See the flaw in your arguement. If you dont, I certainly see it.

The possibility could exists, yes, everybody knows that. The problem here is, is something right to be done should it happen. Is the goverment obligated to provide a safer society to its citizen? The answer is absolutely yes. No doubt.

The statement he made not only is a suggestion but an insult because the current sentiment in the society is that the goverment is not doing much with the crime rate going up like that, hence saying things like this will of course draw harsh criticism.

PS: Summers was in a lot of trouble for the most recent statement he made about women. Not only that he has already been replaced.


Anonymous said...

But news having that he will return.