Friday, April 13, 2007

NST:13.04.2007 : Caring for parents: No urgent need for law

THE government is not ready to introduce legislation compelling children to provide for their parents the way Singapore has done.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said family bonding in Malay- sian society was still strong and there was no need for a similar legislation.

"However, if there is evidence that more children were sending their parents to care centres, then the government will not hesitate to introduce legislation to protect senior citizens," she said while replying to points raised during the debate on the Care Centres (Amendment) Act 2006.


Must we wait until the situation gets serious before we do something about it?

Looking at the probability of things, the situation will get worse not better with time. Therefore we should introduce legislation NOW before the problem spirals out of control. Take preventive measures NOW. Don't do as we always do : when the problem gets out of control, only then we scramble to take action when many have already sufferred!

9 comments:

romsam said...

The major barrier to Malaysians becoming competitive is our ineffective and outmoded education system.

Malaysians are fully aware of this, and those who can have already abandoned it. This includes our own minister of education! Witness the steady stream every school day morning of our young heading to Singapore for their education.

The glaring deficit of our leadership is lack of execution. Your answer to every problem is to form a committee. Punting problems onto committees reflects shallow executive talent. Not paying attention to execution is the bane of many leaders. All your wise policies would be meaningless if their execution is wanting.

Make Malaysia and Malaysians competitive; that would be a legacy more enduring and worth striving for.

All these aspirations would be for naught if Malaysians were divided. I am distressed at the deepening polarization of Malaysians and the increasing fragmentation of Malaysians.

The solution lies not in emphasizing but celebrating our differences; not in minimizing but sharing our commonalities. You must blunt those elements that would drive a wedge between Malaysians, and nurture those that would bring us together.

Malay leaders are again selling to their followers a bill of goods with the doctrine of Ketuanan Melayu (malay hegemony). These leaders delude themselves and the masses into thinking that we malays have been anointed Tuan (master) of Malaysia, with all the implied glories and privileges.

Both the premise and promise of Ketuanan Melayu are false. The sooner malays grasp this stark reality, the better it is for us and for all Malaysians, as well as for the nation. In this competitive world, you work to be a master; you must earn it!

In feudal societies, whether you are fated to be master or servant is determined at birth by your heritage. Malaysia has long passed that stage although many are still entrapped in the feudal mindset.

The sure path to uniting Malaysians is not through culture, education, language, politics, or religion but economics, specifically through the wonders of the marketplace.

Embrace free enterprise, and encourage the market exchange of goods and services among Malaysians, and between Malaysians and the world.

Once Malaysians view each other less as malays and non-malays but more as potential clients, customers and partners, national unity and prosperity would be enhanced. Likewise when we view foreigners in those terms, Malaysians would be contributing their share towards world peace and prosperity.

Build on our own legacy, and if you are successful, the excesses of you predecessor will become obvious through comparison. Create your legacy in your own style. There is no need to blow out someone else's candle in order to make yours shine brighter.

kok said...

Margin financing is unproductive to the economy, it is just a form of legalised gambling. The banks are better off using their funds to spur economic growth via the financing of medium and small-scale industries.

The stock market is for investment and capital rising and as such margin financing is bad news as it allows for speculation. If you don't have the money, don't buy the shares. Why borrow and buy - isn't that what we tell credit-card defaulters?

Leave the banks alone and let them do business in peace

Politicians, in general can appear foolhardy when they pretend to competence and knowledge in areas never before traversed. This is why they need more than just good advisers. This is also why we need clever member of parliaments too.

fong said...

Due to the education policies, most young and intelligent Malaysians have either cross over to Singapore and other countries to further their studies.

In fact a great number of them have been earmarked by the Singapore government before their finals to take up PR status and attractive jobs offered. Some of these Malaysians are actually in Singapore parliament to help the nation to progress.

Actually the fact that smart Malaysians who capable are going to other countries be it Singapore or Australia can be a good thing for the country or for Malaysian Chinese in particular.

Why?

In the age of globalisation, it is important to have roots and contacts around. These bondages among relatives and friends among all Chinese spread around the world can benefit trade in future. It is a form of bridge to better future. Companies headed by Malaysians can in future help each other.

We can never know what the future in Malaysia will be like given the circumstances. So in a way it is a good thing. It is like the old days when Chinese traded among each other in this region.

So stage one export our experts around the world - next connect each other. That is good. One day maybe someone will initiate an association of overseas Chinese Malaysians eh?

Malaysians are not genetically inferior to Singaporeans - we are the same kind of people except for the proportion of various ethnic groups. The reason why many intelligent Malaysians went overseas is due to a government bent on dividing us along religious and ethnic lines.

For too long Malaysians of all ethnic groups have been bamboozled by scoundrels who'd used divisive slogans to enrich their own pockets and the pockets of their relatives and cronies. Malaysians must unite and give the opposition a chance to do better.

Malaysians have been moving to Singapore for many years now and that has been their long term strategy since they allowed tens of thousands of Malaysians to study there.

vesewe said...

One be further away from the truth when he blames the current education system which allows the existence of vernacular schools for the lack of unity among Malaysians. According to, racial unity can be fostered among the new generation by simply placing pupils of all races in one class so that they can interact freely with one another. In my opinion, this line of thinking is both naive and dishonest.

Following Dr Mahathir pontificating to the world that to tackle Islamist terrorism we must remove its root causes, I suggest that Malaysians, notably those who subscribe to the same way of thinking, make the effort to identify the root cause of our disunity and remove it. Let us not resort to populist but hollow solutions in which the status quo would want us to believe.

In fact, I think most Malaysians already know what the problem is this: the unequal treatment of Malaysians based on race which is the most fundamental reason for our disunity. I am not talking about everyday racism plaguing most multiracial societies. I am talking about institutionalised racism enshrined in our constitution which is amplified and enforced by the government.

How can we unite when we are formally partitioned into groups which have different sets of rights?

How can we unite when we are constantly being reminded by the government through various application forms that we are either Malays, Indians, Chinese and others, but never Malaysians?

How can we unite when pro-government politicians hurl racial abuses in parliament and get away scot-free?

How can we tell our children to look beyond race, when one day we have to drag them back to reality by telling them that their race comes into account for scholarship applications and university admissions?

How can we gel into a single entity when our ID cards explicitly say whether we are Muslims (and hence bumis) or not?

How can we achieve unity when our top politicians wield weapons in general assemblies to threaten the minorities just so they can score quick political points?

Instead of viewing the popularity of vernacular schools as a cause, we should view it as a symptom of disunity. I believe many parents send their children to vernacular schools as a sub-conscious protest against a system that perceivably favours one race over the others. As second-class citizens, preserving their cultural identities allows them to feel that all is not lost.

Even if vernacular schools are closed, our disunity will only manifest itself in other forms. Let any non-malay Malaysian choose exclusively between the preservation of his mother tongue and equal treatment - I am sure the latter will get the overwhelming vote. A proof of this is the many Malaysians who have emigrated to western countries - do we see them insisting on letting their children study their respective mother tongues in school?

Hence, my accusations of dishonesty towards those who prefer to throw baseless accusations at vernacular schools because it is easy and risk-free, but, due to fear of reprisals, dare not point the finger at the status quo although they are inherently guilty. Furthermore, those who blame vernacular schools but not government sponsored Mara junior colleges and universities are pure hypocrites. At least vernacular schools admit students based on merit alone.

We all know that MRSMs and UiTM actively practise race-based selection policies. Why do you not propose closing down MRSMs and UiTM in your suggested revamp of the education system?

Do not forget that currently in national schools, we do have non-malay students. I have had the honour of befriending some of them during my university years, and I must say that in university, they too stick with their own kind although they can't speak their own mother tongue.

In a system that promotes the proliferation of only one culture and shuns the others, it is only human nature to confide more in those who are categorised in the same racial group. Therefore, it is absolutely naive to think that racial unity can be achieved by merely putting our children under one roof without ultimately treating them equally.

Furthermore, we have witnessed the increasing Islamisation in our national schools which have multiracial students. Hence, contrary to the belief, cultural diversity and subsequently unity will not necessarily exist in national schools because they are being used by the government as instruments to carry out their political agenda.

Every year, we see many vernacular schools achieve record-breaking performances in major exams. This shows that at least academically, these schools have done something right, and are a valuable source of knowledge for us in the pursuit of improving the standing of national schools.

Certainly, closing down vernacular schools is an option, but not only this does not improve unity, the country will lose a valuable asset.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for racial unity. But please, shift your attention to the fundamental cause of disunity. You are simply barking up the wrong tree when you blame the present education system alone.

tim said...

The top problems in Malaysia are corruption, corruption and corruption. Get rid of corruption, you get rid of all the problems associated with it.

Corruption can be broadly defined as the misuse of public office for private gain. Abuses by government officials such as embezzlement and nepotism, as well as abuses in bribery, extortion, fraud and influence peddling.

The effects of corruption:

1. Corruption in elections and legislative bodies reduces accountability and representation

2. Corruption in judiciary suspends the rule of law

3. Corruption in public administration results in unequal provision of services

4. Corruption in selecting or promoting officials without regard to performance will stifle progress

5. Corruption siphons off the resources needed for development

6. Corruption undermines democracy and good governance

7. Corruption undermines democratic values in trust and tolerance

8. Corruption undermines the legitimacy of government

9. Corruption undermines national economic development

10. Corruption weakens government institutions by disregarding official procedures

Corruption generates economic distortions in public sector by pulling investment from essential projects such as education, health care and low cost housing into projects where bribes and kickbacks are more plentiful.

Corruption lowers compliance with construction, environment, or other regulations.

Quality of government services are reduced due to inefficiency as the result of corruption, thus budgetary pressures on government increases and ultimately, the citizens foot the bill and are denied the share of the national resources as well.

In the public sector, corruption undermines economic development. In private sector, corruption increases the cost of business and stifles healthy competition.

Corruption shield companies with connections from fair competition, thus making our country less efficient and less competitive in the global market.

vovo said...

I wish to point out that the Orang Asli, not the malays, are the original inhabitants of Malaysia. Most of the malay Malaysians came from Sumatra and other parts of Indonesia. They only migrated here much earlier than the Chinese and Indian Malaysians. It does not mean they deserve privileges or rights just because they were the pioneer immigrants.

It is true that there have been abuses under the name of malay special rights and it is the duty of the malays in particular, and all Malaysians in general, to stop it so that the rightful malays get their rights, and the non-malays get their rights as citizens of this country.

It is a sad thing to say, but I do believe the main thing that is holding back malays is not the Chinese or the Indians, but the malays themselves. That is why Mahathir and Pak Lah have been quoted as telling to throw away crutches and work hard to face the challenges of globalisation.

The malay and others of the same mind should learn to stand on their own feet rather than claim for special privileges and rights. The world is becoming globalised and if they don't change their attitude, they will only become beggars in their own country.

As for the malays who insist on hiding behind the veil of malay special rights - you have lost the respect of non-malays a long time ago.

We also suspect that the current situation will, unfortunately, get worse if no action is taken now. Why? Because our kids in school hardly mix with each other. They will grow up with little understanding of their fellow Malaysians, and with the suspicions that exist, it will be worse.

The truth of the matter is that polarisation in Malaysia is caused by the discriminatory practises of the government - especially after the NEP - rather than vernacular education.

The NEP is upheld for the rich and not the poor in Malaysia.

Whether we admit it or not, the problem is that the special privileges and rights given have now resulted in only a selected few malays getting richer and richer. The bulk of the malays, especially in the rural areas are not benefiting from the system.

Poor people are poor people, rich people are rich people - no matter which race they come from.

The poor in Malaysia must be served but I am sure all taxpayers feel that this should be done in a manner which is blind to age, ethnicity, gender and religion.

What is wrong with extending help to all deserving citizens based on merits and needs regardless of race?

The Malaysia problem is that rich do become richer. And because of the political system, the players are the same.

Out of control - this is all I can say about any type of enforcement and the level of corruption in Malaysia. No idea what Pak Lah has done in his four years in office but judging from the ground, I guess nothing much.

If you have ever heard of the simple saying, "Give a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime." you will realise that many non-malays have learned how to fish but the government is still handing out fishes to the malays. One day the fish will run out.

If you want to say discrimination is here in the US, yes, of course it is. Can you name a country where it doesn't happen? But let me tell you one thing - if you go looking for it, you will find it. But in Malaysia, you don't have to go look for it because it seeks you out, slaps you in your face every which way you turn, and is sanctioned by law!

Official figures have more than one million Chinese Malaysians emigrating over the past 25 years. Why did they emigrate? I am sure the government knows.

For most professionals, living abroad has its own ups and downs. But you get dignity, fair treatment and respect for your ability. You get a voice too. And ears to hear you.

Brain drain by the tank-loads is what we get. Every single year, Malaysia loses people who could potentially contribute to the country immensely.

So malay, you may keep your rights and perpetuate them. Such things are archaic. Who loses in the end? Your country, which should have been a first world one by today.

I sympathize with those that have benefited from the NEP, but the bad news is that the price he pays for his progress is much higher than what he pays for his benefit.

These special privileges and rights were once a necessity for them to move forward. Today, after many decades, they find themselves still standing in the same place.

It is a shame that our history has been constantly twisted so that our younger generation has no understanding of Malaysia's foundation and its true aspiration.

It is arguable that if not for the contributions of the Chinese and Indian Malaysians who helped in the development of this country tremendously, Malaysia would probably be in same category like Indonesia or the Philippines, if not worst.

To improve the malays lot, more have to be made to work in private companies where competition is real and what counts is your ability. If special rights only help malays to become government servants, then all the more reason not to invoke special rights.

But of course, the present ruling elite drunken with wealth, will continue to fight this dream to ensure that Malaysia is kept divided so that BN can continue to rule.

Alternatively, Malaysians may begin to realise the dream of a new Malaysia.

The bitter truth is that the majority of this nation don't see the need to change things yet and until then, we can do little about it.

The bottom line with present day globalisation is this: compete on a level-playing field or you will lose. Plain and simple.

Asrul Zamani said...

Vesewe,

Thank you for your enlightening comments. I appreciate your views.

You wish to look into the root causes and suggest that in effect, the Malay special rights be abolished.

Please look at the terms agreed upon during independence from the British as regards to Malay special rights. Malay special rights is a part of the constitution and I need not say, agreed upon by our forefathers.

Please read "The Reluctant Politican: Tun Dr Ismail and His Time" by Ooi Kee Beng to gain insights into this issue.

What is suggested in the book the Malay ideals is a workable solution to the various problems we are facing in Malaysia and one of that problem is the lack of integration and education is only a part of it but not the whole sum.

We may demand that Malay special rights be abolished, but in reality, this will most probably not take place unless the Malay communities are on par with the others in Malaysia educationally and economically.

Asrul Zamani said...

Romsam,

Thank you for your original idea of using the marketplace or the economy as tools for unity.

But I have to ask you one question, looking the current scenario in which the economy is largely dominated by the Chinese (supply, upstream and downstream products) and how guarded they are of their markets and businesses (barriers of entry placed upon by various means eg networks etc), can the marketplace realistically speaking be a place to harbour unity amongst Malaysians? Let me remind you that currently it is safe to say that the Chinese are the "producers/suppliers" of goods and the Malays are the "users".

And the other thing is, as long as the economy continues to strongly grow, the races may be happy but what would happen when the economy stagnates as usually the case that occur once every 10 years or so. Surely during those times, it is not the economy that binds people together, there must be something more than this simplistic suggestion.

Asrul Zamani said...

Vovo

Thanks for your comments. All in all i agree with your views.