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A Not So Busy Day

Good morning. I have a not so busy day ahead. I have a lunch meeting with academic Lee Hwok Aun. Hwok Aun is currently a senior fellow at ISEAS, Singapore. He was formerly at Universiti Malaya where he did groundbreaking studies on work and racism. His research helped Rafizi Ramli and office to craft an en equal employment policy.

After that I will be joining Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to meet senior visiting diplomats from Germany. The meeting will take place in Parliament. Then I will head to my office for service night. Today will be the last day of intern Kevin; he is going to ANU, Australia to do his masters. Kevin was a key help in the asset declaration exercise last month.

Here is a quick roundup of my other events this weekend with pictures; namely a fundraiser event for a local church (where I met up with my former intern, Irin!) and the back to school charity program organised by Subang Jaya Buddhist Association.

 

‘En route’ home


It’s 5 am London time and I am on my way to Gatwick airport to catch my flight home. The UK speaking tour was wonderful and very insightful. Good memories and a sense of hope that the Malaysian diaspora and students are not apathetic to what is happening at home. In fact, they feel deeply and there is a palpable desire to want to contribute to make Malaysia more democratic and fair.

I want to thank everyone who helped, especially the students from Malaysia Progressives UK who did a wonderful job with the organisation. They worked hard, used their own money and accompanied us as perfect hosts. Their dedication, good humour and hard work ensured that we had good crowds, from a minimum of 70 pax to a maximum of 250 pax at every single event. We did, in all about 8 events over 5 days.

A special thanks to Jimmy for taking a day off yesterday to show me his London life. Where to makan like a local. And a big thank you for the Malaysian activist diaspora group; Yolanda and gang, for taking us to makan-makan and organise meets.

I am happy, but a bit worn out. I am so looking forward to going home to my wife and children.

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Jom Cuci!

1 February 2016

Hey, everyone! Abigail here, Wong Chen’s new Operations Officer. While boss is busy in the UK, our office has been busy ‘manning the fort’ and attending various programs and events that have taken place in the past few days. One particular interest is the “Jom Cuci”, community service project, by a group of students alongside the Joint Management Body (JMB) from Block 2 Desa Mentari.

These group of students, under the guiding hand of Sister Stella, decided to do their part and take matters into their own hands by cleaning the corridors of the whole block.

It was a spectacular sight as some of the residents in the area too took part and helped the students in this effort. Gillian, our long-serving former parliamentary Research Officer, was also present to help out. Although she may have already left the office, her dedication and duty to the community still remain. Such gestures by former members of the office (interns included!) help illustrate the strong bonds that are formed between our office and the community.

Therefore, we’d like to express our thanks to all those who participated especially Sister Stella and her group of students as well as to all of the residents who took part in supporting their service to the community. Here’s to more good deeds in the world!

 

Students’ Appeals under HEAP

I have received a lot of emails from students who have lodged appeals under the PKR Higher Education Advisory & Complaints Portal (HEAP) because they could not get a place in public university. I am sorry if I cannot reply to all your emails individually. YB Sim Tze Tzin who leads this initiative on behalf of PKR has issued the following public statement.

Kenyataan Media: Tambahan tawaran IPTA oleh Kementerian Pendidikan membuktikan Tekanan Rakyat mencapai kejayaan

Mengikut laporan, Ketua Pengarah Pendidikan Tinggi, Jabatan Pengajian Tinggi, Kementerian Pendidikan, Prof. Datuk Dr. Asma Ismail telah mengumumkan penambahan pengambilan pelajar seramai 5,328 ke IPTA untuk sesi 2014/2015, sekaligus meningkatkan jumlah pengambilan 42,795 orang pelajar ke IPTA.

1.0 Langkah Terdesak

Penambahan terkini seramai 5,328 pelajar atau 25% pelajar yang merayu ke IPTA/UPU membuktikan bahawa Kementerian telah gagal menawarkan tempat yang mencukupi pada bulan Ogos. Hanya seramai 37,467 pelajar layak atau 55.5% yang ditawarkan tempat pada bulan Ogos. Kami percaya penambahan mendadak ini adalah langkah terdesak “desperate attempt” akibat kemarahan ramai pelajar dan ibu bapa mereka.

Walau bagaimanapun, Parti Keadilan melihat perkembangan terbaru ini secara positif, dan kami berasa bangga kerana hasil tekanan pihak Parti KEADILAN, Pakatan Rakyat, media dan rakyat jelata telah berjaya membuahkan hasil. Parti KEADILAN telah melancarkan laman web HEAP di heap.keadilanrakyat.org pada bulan Ogos dan mendapat sambutan hangat akibat ramai pelajar gagal mendapat tempat ke IPTA atau mendapat kursus yang amat mengecewakan. Sepanjang 10 hari pembukaan laman web HEAP, kami telah mendapat aduan daripada 254 pelajar dari pelbagai kaum dan agama, terutamanya pelajar dari keluarga berpendapatan rendah.

2.0 Sistem UPU yang perlu rombakan semula

Hakikat bahawa krisis kemasukan pelajar IPTA berlaku setiap tahun sejak 20 tahun yang lalu membuktikan bahawa Kelemahan yang ketara berlaku pada Kementerian Pendidikan. Mengikut database HEAP, kami boleh merumuskan bahawa terdapat 2 senario kelemahan sistem UPU:
1. Pelajar Cemerlang dapat kursus luar pilihan & luar biasa.
2. Pelajar yang cemerlang tetapi gagal mendapat tawaran walaupun pelajar yang lebih lemah dapat tawaran.

Parti Keadilan telah membuat analisis yang mendalam dan akan membuat pertemuan dengan pegawai kementerian untuk mencadang penyelesaian yang konstruktif.

3.0 Pengambilan sesi 2014/2015 hanya 63.5%

Ketiga, kami merasa kecewa kerana jumlah pelajar yang layak untuk sesi 2014/2015 adalah seramai 67,388 pelajar, penambahan 5,328 pelajar yang terbaru hanya meningkatkan kemasukan pelajar ke 42,795. Maka pengambilan pelajar untuk sesi 2014/2015 hanyalah pada kadar 63.5%. Pada sesi 2013/2014 yang lepas kadar pengambilan adalah 71.9%. Ini bermaksud, IPTA masih mengurangkan pengambilan sebanyak 8.4% berbanding tahun lepas. Mengikut statistik World Bank, jumlah rakyat Malaysia yang berpendidikan tinggi hanya pada 36% sahaja. Malaysia masih ketinggalan berbanding dengan Korea Selatan 89%, Thailand 41%.

Kementerian Pelajaran harus menjawab kenapa pengambilan pelajar IPTA telah merosot 8.4%, satu angka yang amat membimbangkan. Adakah MOE menghadapi masalah kewangan dan ingin meringankan bebanan menampung pelajar? Adakah Universiti tempatan telah menukar fokus, dengan mementingkan kemasukan pelajar asing? Atau dasar kerajaan ingin memupuk perkembangan IPTS dengan mengurangkan kadar kemasukan pelajar berkelayakan? Ini persoalan yang harus dijawab dengan jelas oleh Kementerian.

4.0 Commercialization of Higher Education

Parti KEADILAN mendesak kerajaan jangan melepaskan tangan daripada tanggungjawab mendidik rakyat Malaysia kepada IPTS. Parti Keadilan berpendapat agak bimbang dasar kerajaan yang giat membenarkan penubuhan IPTS akan mengakibatkan “commercialization of Higher Education.

Pada tahun 2014, ahli-ahli Parlimen meluluskan bajet tertinggi sebanyak 21% atau 54.6 billion ringgit kepada Kementerian Pendidikan berbanding 2013 hanya RM38.7 bil. Peningkatan bajet sebanyak RM15.9 bil atau 41% y-o-y ini agak mendadak dan harus dipakai oleh Kementerian Pendidikan demi melaksanakan tanggungjawab mendidik rakyat Malaysia.

Sim Tze Tzin
Ahli Parlimen Bayan Baru
Pengerusi Jawatankuasa HEAP KEADILAN