Sunday, March 28, 2010

Malaysia and Its Indigenous People

A Bernama report today stated that Putatan Member of Parliament, Datuk Marcus Mojigoh claimed Malaysia as the best example when it comes to handling indigenous peoples' rights. This is some of what he said according to Bernama:

"We care for them from womb to grave. We have a lot of programmes for them. For example, housing, schools and healthcare facilities are built close to the villages of indigenous people so that they are not forced to move to urban areas."As a result, mortality rates have dropped and poverty is being alleviated, and through education, they have greater control of their lives," he said.

Since Datuk Marcus himself is from an indigenous community, what he said must be right. However, those of you who feel otherwise are welcome to share your comments.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rural Posting For Teachers: Why Double Standards?

Recently there was a suggestion that all new school teachers should first be given posting in rural areas. This is a good idea, but only if it applies to all civil servants.

Firstly, why must teachers the only ones be given rural postings? Some teachers might originate from rural areas and they might want to get a feel of the urban life, so why send them back where they come from if they do not want it?

Secondly, some teachers from urban areas may simply be not cut out for life in rural areas. Must we force them to go to rural areas and then let the situation affect their quality of teaching?

Thirdly, if the Ministry of Education is so concerned about lack of teachers in rural areas, maybe they can explain why there are many applicants from rural areas in Sabah who have had their applications rejected.

There are many qualified school-leavers who have applied for teacher training and had their applications rejected here. While there are many graduates in Sabah who have applied for post-graduate teacher training and also have their applications rejected.

So, to understand problems in rural areas better, it would be better for ministers to be first posted in rural areas before they can actually perform duties as ministers in air-conditioned rooms and chauffeur-driven cars. Let the works minister walk across dangerous suspension bridges and wade in knee-deep rivers to reach villages.

And let the health minister open up a clinic in villages where the only transport arrives once a week. Let the education minister teach in a school where there is no electricity, water, proper accomodation and where the minister would have to do all clerical work on his or her own.

Maybe then they could understand the plight of rural folks better and help to solve it instead of making knee-jerk reactions like asking all teachers to be given mandatory rural posting. And let us not forget nurses, policemen, magistrates, postmen, doctors, commisioners of oaths and other civil servants whose service could be valuable to rural folks.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lim Kit Siang Says KDMs Biggest Losers

Recently, Lim Kit Siang of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) commented that the Kadazandusun-Murut (KDM) community in Sabah are the biggest losers in Sabah.

President of the Sabah Justices of Peace Council (MAJAPS), Datuk Clarence Bongkos Malakun was quick to brush the accusation aside. Datuk Clarence also said that there are four KDM permanent secretaries in state ministeries.

The North Borneo Herald wonders if Malakun is serious! To the layman, it is very obvious what the KDMs are experiencing. Not all of the KDMs are "Datuks" or presidents of important councils.

How many KDMs are District Officers in Sabah? And how many of them are non-Muslim? How many Federal departments or agencies in the state are headed by the KDM? What are the percentage of KDMs in university and teacher training college intakes in Sabah? What are percentage of KDM staff in government offices?

The most saddening part here is not that Malakun denies the KDMs are being sidelined, but the fact that the issue of KDMs being the biggest loser is brought up by a non-KDM, Lim Kit Siang.

Datuk= a honorary title conferred upon important people in Malaysia

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Drought and Haze in Sabah

The on-going drought in Sabah is contributing to many bushfires in the state. The Fire Department too it seems is short of men and equipment to fight these daily fires. Worst of all is that all these bushfires have contributed to haze in the state. Anyone taking a plane to land in Kota Kinabalu could see the entire West Coast covered in thick smog.

The North Borneo Herald has also received reports that thick smog can be seen from the air in Tawau. However it is worrying that no schools have instructed its students to cease all outdoor activities.

It is hoped that all Sabahans take necessary precautions and not venture out unnecessarily. It is also hoped that all forms of open burning could be ceased. As for smokers, it would be advisable to temporarily cease the habit. Or if they cannot cease smoking, at least make sure their cigarettes are properly put out after smoking.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pairin Says 10 Subjects More Than Enough!

Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the Huguan Siou (paramount leader) of the Kadazandusun-Murut community was quoted by the Daily Express on February 28th as saying that 10 subjects is more than enough for candidates of the Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM).

It is extremely dissapointing that the leader of the Kadazandusun community has made this statement since he is supposed to champion the usage of the Kadazandusun language. Secondly being a Christian and a leader of a community who are predominantly Christians, he should have been more careful in making the statement.

Does the honourable Huguan Siou know what he is implying? For the SPM examinations, Science-stream students have to sit for five obligatory subjects, namely Malay Language, English Language, Mathematics, History and Moral Education. Science stream subjects usually include Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Additional Mathematics. So, altogether Science-stream students would sit for 9 subjects.

As for Arts Stream students, the obligatory subjects are Malay Language, English Language, Mathematics, History, Moral Education and General Science plus three optional subjects which are usually Arts, Literature (Malay or English) and Geography which mean Arts students would also sit for 9 subjects.Similarly, students from other streams too would usually be sitting for 9 subjects.

But what about students who want to sit for Bible Knowledge and Kadazandusun Language in the SPM. Kadazandusun Language has been made an examination subject for Form Three since last year, and by next year it would be available as an SPM subject. When added with the 9 existing subjects, there would be 11 subjects for students who want to sit for Kadazandusun and Bible Knowledge.

By making this statement, Datuk Pairin is unknowingly discouraging Kadazandusun students from sitting for Bible Knowledge and Kadazandusun.This is most regrettable since being the leader of Kadazandusuns, he should be encouraging Kadazandusuns to master their language and religion.

It is indeed sad, that Kadazandusuns who are indigenous to this country are being discouraged to study their language and religion by none other than their own leader.

It is not known what triggered Datuk Pairin to make that statement, but it appeared to be a statement that was made with little prior research. Perhaps his advisors gave him the wrong advice.

The North Borneo Herald believes that Datuk Pairin has no intentions against Kadazandusun students wanting to sit for Kadazandusun Language and Bible Knowledge. But it is hoped that future statements take into account the situation on the ground.