Committee of Privileges should haul up IGP Khalid over the police breach of parliamentary privilege over false arrest of Nurul Izzah and to decide how the police could purge itself for utter contempt for institution of Parliament
I hope to highlight a dozen issues which the veteran MP from Gua Musang Tengku Razaleigh on Monday said has caused a “historic juncture” as Malaysia’s economic and political situations are in a “gridlock” and teetering on crisis.
Firstly, the police arrest of two MPs, the DAP MP for Rasah Teo Kok Seong on Saturday and the PKR MP for Lembah Pantai Nurul Izzah Anwar on Monday, and their overnight remand at the Jinjang Police Station, and in the case of Kok Seong, the police sought another four-day remand but the magistrate only allowed remand for another day.
The police knew well beforehand that Kok Seong and Nurul would be reporting at the Dang Wangi Police station but on the day in question, the police did absolutely nothing to record their statements after their formal arrest, in order to justify an overnight remand for both at the Jinjang Police Station.
This is not police efficiency and professionalism at their best, but police pettiness and vindictiveness at their worst.
Nobody blames the police personnel at Wang Dangi for such petty and vindictive abuse of police powers, showing utter contempt and disrespect not only to Kok Siong and Nurul but also the institution of Parliament!
Nobody believes that the ordinary police rank and file are capable of such pettiness and vindictiveness against MPs. I do not believe that senior police officers would want to exhibit such police pettiness and vindictiveness which do not reflect well on police efficiency and professionalism – and such police abuses of power and contempt for MPs, particularly from Pakatan Rakyat, can only come from the command of one person, the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.
Khalid had been abusing his powers and the high office of IGP carrying out a misguided war on Pakatan Rakyat leaders and NGO activists, who are patriots exercising their democratic rights to make Malaysia a better society, when he should be declaring war on Islamic State, which is using Malaysia as a centre to lure impressionable recruits to its terroristic cause of inhumanity marked by beheadings, public stonings and mass massacres.
But the police arrest of Nurul for what she spoke in Parliament during the debate on the Royal Address on 10th March on behalf of her father, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Parliamentary Opposition Leader and MP for Permatang Pauh, is doubly reprehensible.
Is the IGP so ignorant that he does not know that MPs enjoy parliamentary immunity for what they say in Parliament, except for the four entrenched “sensitive” which cannot be questioned as a result of the Constitution Amendments in 1971 as they constituted offences of sedition, namely the provisions on sovereignty of Malay rulers, citizenship, Article 152 on the National Language and the position of the languages of other communities and Article 153 on the special position of the Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities?
Is the IGP ignorant that Nurul’s speech did not touch on any one of these four entrenched subjects, and that questioning the Federal Court’s decision in the Anwar Ibrahim Sodomy II case is not sedition at all?
In arresting Nurul on the ground of sedition for what she said about the Federal Court decision in the Anwar Ibrahim Sodomy II case, the Police had itself broken the law – Section 7 of the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952, which reads: “Immunity of Members from civil and or criminal proceedings for any thing done or said before the House. 7. No member shall be liable to any civil or criminal proceedings, arrest, imprisonment or damages by reason of any matter or thing which he may haved brought by petition, bill, resolution, motion or otherwise, or have said before the House or any committee.”
The Police is to uphold the law, but here the Police is breaking the law – Section 7 of the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952.
The House set up the Committee of Privileges under Standing Order 80 to protect the “powers and privileges” of the House, and here we have a blatant case of breach of privileges of MPs as set out in Section 7 of the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952.
I want to ask the Speaker, who is the Chairman of the Committee of Privileges, and the six members, what it proposes to do with such a blatant attack on the privileges of MPs; and I want to ask the Prime Minister who is the Leader of the House whether he proposes to move a motion to refer the Inspector-General of Police to the Committee of Privileges for the breach of parliamentary privilege in the case of the police arrest of Nurul Izzah, so that the Committee of Privileges can summon the IGP to account for the police breach of parliamentary privilege.
I still remember sometime in the eighties or nineties, the police wanted to investigate me for what I said in Parliament, and I told them that they were breaking the law, the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952, and that they should go back and obtain advice from the Attorney-General. The Police officers went back and never came back.
In this case, the Committee of Privileges should haul up Khalid to ask the IGP to explain why the Police have committed a grave breach of parliamentary privilege in the case of the false arrest of Nurul Izzah for her speech in Parliament, which had not touched on any one of the four entrenched issues, and to decide how the IGP could purge the police contempt of Parliament.
Secondly, the IGP’s misguided war against PR leaders and NGO activists when he should have declared war on Islamic State, which is misleading Malaysian Muslims to join them Iraq and Syria to commit atrocities like beheadings, public stonings and mass massacres.
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal in its opinion piece titled “Malaysia’s Creeping Authoritarianism” following more police crackdown marked by the arrest of two MPs, referred to 19 Islamic State supporters who had been arrested for plotting attacks around Kuala Lumpur last year.
Up to now, Malaysians have not been told the full story of the 19 Islamic State supporters who had been arrested for plotting attacks around Kuala Lumpur last year, but the twitter trigger-happy IGP seemed to be more pre-occupied with his “war” against PR leaders and NGO activists, who only wanted to expand the democratic space for Malaysians to qualify as a fully developed nation in 2020. than the serious war waged by Islamic State in Malaysia.
Early this month, the Police announced that “A civil servant said to be one of the most senior Islamic State (IS) members in Malaysia and a 29-year-old housewife who recruited a 14-year-old girl into the militant movement are among three people detained by Bukit Aman”.
The 39-year-old civil servant was arrested by the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division in Kuala Lumpur while the housewife was picked up in Muar.
The third suspect – a 22-year-old trader – was also arrested in Perak around the same time.
The civil servant, described by the police as “a senior IS member with direct links to Malaysians in Syria”, is believed to have used his position to recruit members to ensure the local militant network ran smoothly.
This is most shocking news. How “senior” is the civil servant who was arrested, and who are the more “senior” IS leaders in Malaysia?
Malaysia are entitled to ask: Why is the Police fighting a losing war with Islamic State – has IS developed a local leadership structure in Malaysia with dedicated recruiters scouting for new recruits for the terrorist movement in Syria and Iraq?
It would appear that while the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar was busy fighting imaginary enemies, combing the social media and tweetering instructions to police officers in his new Sedition Unit to harass and investigate Pakatan Rakyat leaders and NGO activists, he was allowing the real enemies, the IS leaders and activists in Malaysia a field day to recruit potential terrorists for the IS atrocities in Syria and Iraq.
Do the Police know how many Malaysians have slipped through the police surveillance net to leave Malaysia to join IS in Syria and Iraq?
In July last year, the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi gave an assurance to Malaysians that the IS threat was under control.
He said the “militant groups” were trying to band together as a single “terror coalition” but they will not succeed in Malaysia as the authorities will not allow these groups to gain a foothold in Malaysia.
In August last year, the Police said that between January and June of the year, they arrested 19 people including two women for involvement in militant activities and that at least 50 Malaysians were believed to be in Syria, fighting alongside the IS terrorists.
However, by end of January this year, support for IS terrorists have further increased, with a total of 120 people who supported IS detained in prisons in Tapah and Bentong who have to be detained in special cells to stop them from spreading their ideology and train the others to become terrorists. The authorities believed that 67 Malaysians have joined the IS cause in Syria and Iraq.
Last month, Zahid intimated that the IS was so organised in Malaysia it could plot the kidnap of wealthy tycoons and to stage bank robberies to raise funds and early this month, the latest revelation that the IS has advanced to new stage of structure and organisation in Malaysia with the arrest of a civil servant who is a “senior IS member”.
These are all the marks of a failed police operation to check IS from spreading its terrorist tentacles in Malaysia.
What is most galling to Malaysians is that such dismal police failures in national security is taking place when the IGP is on a frolic playing with his tweets to harass PR leaders and NGO activists in exercise of their peaceful, lawful and democratic rights to freedom of assembly and expression – giving a field day to potential terrorists who would have no qualms participating in atrocities like beheadings, crucifixions, public stonings and mass massacres.
The IGP must be more professional and stop his frolics with tweets and harassment of PR leaders, NGO activists and even cartoonists like Zunar and focus on the security threat posed by the IS in Malaysia.
It is deplorable that Zahid has taken the attitude that MPs should not only accept but support the proposed Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota), “unless they want to see terrorist acts happening here”.
Zahid has no right to demand a blank cheque in the fight against IS and he should not doubt the patriotism of any MP or Malaysian who may disagree with the proposed Pota as the most effective way to fight the threat of IS terrorism.
It is most deplorable that although Parliament has met for two weeks, MPs and the Malaysian public have not been given copies of the proposed Pota and the new bill on Foreign Fighters.
The Home Minister can take BN MPs for granted, but he should not expect PR MPs to blindly support his POTA and Foreign Fighters Bill, without a full briefing on the Islamic State threat as well as assurances that these legislative proposals can be effective in fighting the threat from Islamic State and other terrorist organizations.
What Parliament should do ay is to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee on Terrorism, which should not only oversee police efforts to fight terrorism, but should also discuss in depth the proposed Pota and Foreign Fighters Bills and present its report and recommendations before these two Bills are debated in Parliament.
Thirdly, On Monday, DAP MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua, tweeted in anger when he heard that Nurul Izzah was arrested under the Sedition Act in relation to her speech in Parliament last week when she went to the Dang Wangi Police Station to keep an appointment with the police for her statement to be taken over the #KitaLawan rally in Kuala Lumpur on March 7.
This attracted a tweet directive from the IGP, namely: "@PDRMsia akan panggil YB ini menjelaskan apa maksud beliau dgn 'Royal my foot'. Adakah ditujukan kepada Raja2 Melayu?" (@PDRMsia will call this YB and ask him to explain what he means by ‘Royal my foot’. Is this aimed at the Malay Rulers?)
Khalid was referring to Pua’s tweet "Bastards. Real bastards. Royal my foot".
I agree that Pua’s tweet was in bad taste. But it was not a crime. Was Pua’s tweet aimed at the Malay Rulers?
Not to mention the police officers, I believe the overwhelming majority of school children with decent command of English language will give the IGP a strong unambiguous answer – No, it is not aimed at the Malay Rulers but the Royal Malaysian Police.
Something is really very rotten with the educational system in the country, and in particular with the shocking drop and decline of English standards in Malaysia, when the top cop in the country could ask the question whether Pua’s “Royal my foot” was aimed at the Malay Rulers when everybody with average IQ will know that is not directed at the Malay Rulers.
As a result, the IGP is setting off more police officers on a wild goose chase to determine whether Pua’s tweet is aimed at the Malay Rulers, when the police should be focusing on how to make Malaysians safe from crime and the fear of crime by keeping crime rate low as well as to snuff out the growing Islamic State danger and threat in the country.
When will the IGP get his priorities right, which is to make Malaysians safe from crime and free from the fear of crime?
Fourthly, we have the tragedy that the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi cannot put the IGP on the right path, because he has his own skeletons in the cupboard.
Malaysians are still no nearer to the mystery of Zahid’s infamous letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) vouching for the character of an alleged international gambling kingpin without the knowledge or sanction of the Police, the Foreign Ministry, the Cabinet or the Prime Minister.
In fact, the whole episode has become very much murkier with the latest contortion by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim that the federal government is satisfied “in principle” with explanations provided by Zahid regarding his infamous letter to FBI on Paul Phua.
The country was told by Wisma Putra after the Cabinet meeting of 14th January which heard a report by Zahid on his infamous letter to FBI that the Cabinet did not “accept” Zahid’s explanation, but merely heard it. This was a clarification of an earlier statement by the Foreign Minister, Datuk Anifah Aman that the Cabinet had heard Zahid’s explanation and the Cabinet agreed to accept explanation.
Shahidan has now come out with a third version of the Cabinet stand on Zahid’s infamous letter to the FBI. First, Cabinet on 14th January heard Zahid’s explanation and Cabinet accepted the explanation to a clarification the same day that Cabinet merely “heard” but did not “accept” Zahid’s explanation.
Now Shahidan says that the federal government is satisfied “in principle” with Zahid’s explanation. Is Shaidan referring to Cabinet, if so, when did the Cabinet meet after the 14th January Cabinet to resolve its satisfaction “in principle” with Zahid’s explanation? If it is not the Cabinet, then what is this “federal government” which Shahidan is referring to.
Recently, Zahid announced that he has a “stack of letters and agreements” his predecessors as Home Minister had signed with the United States which are like his infamous letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) vouching for the character of an alleged international gambling kingpin.
This is a real shocker, especially as his two immediate predecessors Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar (March 2008 – May 2013) had publicly denied that they had ever sent any such support letter unilaterally to the FBI.
Zahid had insisted that his predecessor Home Ministers had written to the FBI like him.
Is Zahid suggesting that his two immediate predecessors as Home Minister have publicly lied?
Do we have liars as Ministers, present and past?
This matter has gone beyond the realm of internal power rivalry in a political party as it now concerns not only national security and Malaysia’s international reputation as well.
If Zahid is referring to either Hishammuddin or Syed Hamid Albar, then there is only one final solution – let the truth be out and it is either Zahid on one side or Hishammuddin and Syed Hamid Albar on the other who have to bow out of public life.
Or is Zahid referring to Home Ministers before Hishammuddin and Syed Hamid Albar?
The Home Ministers before Hishammuddin and Syed Hamid were: Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad (2006-2008), Datuk Azmi Khalid (2004 – 2006) and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (1999 – 2004).
Or should we go further back to the longest 13 years the Home Ministry was ever helmed by one person – the country’s fourth Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir who doubled up as Home Minister from 1986-1999.
Lets hear the truth from Zahid and all the six Home Ministers before him, going back to some three decades ago in 1986.
Zahid has made a most astonishing claim about the “stack of letters and agreements” signed by his predecessors, especially after the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim has heightened the mystery in his parliamentary answer to the DAP MP for Segambut, Lim Lip Eng, refusing to disclose the information relating to the gambling kingpin Paul Phua, saying that it was a “huge secret” classified under the Official Secrets Act.
Since being elected as a Member of Parliament in 1969, this is the first time any Minister has refused to disclose any information in Parliament on the ground that it is a “huge secret” under the Official Secrets Act.
What is this “huge secret” with regard to “national security project” involving Paul Phua when information on mega defence procurements had never been denied on the basis that they were “huge secrets” but merely “secrets” under the Official Secrets Act?
However, with the most incriminating statement by Zahid that the “stack of letters and agreements” his predecessors had signed with the United State would, if revealed, caused them “great shame”, national interests and justice to all the previous Home Ministers from Mahathir to Abdullah demand only one course of action to be taken.
I call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to declassify the “stack of letters and agreements’” all the previous Home Ministers have signed with the United States like Zahid’s infamous letter to FBI to vouch for the character of the alleged international gambling kingpin and for the Prime Minister to present a White Paper and to make a Ministerial statement on the matter in Parliament.
Fifthly, Malaysia’s reputation as a country safe for investors received a grievious blow when a series of judicial decisions raised national and international questions as to whether Malaysia had restored its previous high international repute for a truly independent judiciary and a just rule of law in the first three decades of the nation’s independence under the country’s first three Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein, before the former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir’s assaults on the judiciary from 1988 with the sacking of the then Lord President of the Supreme Court, Tun Salleh Abas and other independent Supreme Court judges.
The Malaysian judiciary in 2015 is back in the dock of public opinion, both inside the country and internationally, over the independence, integrity and professionalism of its judiciary and its commitment to a just rule of law because of four cases this year, viz:
i. the Federal Court’s 5-0 unanimous decision to dismiss Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal and five-year jail sentence in Sodomy II trial;
ii. the Federal Court’s decision to convict and sentence to death former police commando Azila Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar for the 2006 murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, while leaving completely open the question of motive for the murder and who had ordered Azila and Sirul to murder Altantuya;
iii. the expose by retired Court of Appeal judge Justice K.C. Vohrah that former Chief Justice Eusoff Chin had caused a miscarriage of justice in the infamous Ayer Molek Rubber Company vs Insas Bhd case two decades ago – the case where Court of Appeal judge Justice N.H. Chan made the celebrated quote from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in saying that “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”;
iv. the black-listing, discrimination and continued by-passing of Court of Appeal judge Justice Mohamad Hishamudin Mohd Yunus from elevation to the Federal Court, although he is the most respected serving judge on the bench, and whether this is a case of former Chief Justice Eusoffee Chin exacting his final vengeance as Justice Hishammuddin had subsequently and courageously struck out Eusoff Chin’s judgment in the Ayer Molek case.
Another case of gross miscarriage of justice have now leapt from the past of nearly two decades ago, crying out for justice and reparation – the victimization of the country’s first judicial whistleblower, former High Court judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid, who was penalized instead of being rewarded for his act of supreme loyalty to his oath of office as a judge.
If Syed Ahmad Idid’s whistleblowing in March 1996 with his 33-page revelation of 112 allegations of judicial corruption, abuses of power and misconduct had been heeded, resulting in thorough investigations and root-and-branch reform of the judiciary 19 years ago, Malaysian judges, lawyers and citizens would have been able to stand tall in the world today because we would have a judiciary nationally and internationally respected for its independence, integrity and quality!
In May 2008, the then Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Badawi made recompense for the 1988 “Mother of Judicial Crisis” perpetrated by the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in his first of many assaults on the institution and independence of the judiciary, sacking the Lord President and two Supreme Court Judges and victimising three other Supreme Court judges by giving an ex-gratia payment for “the pain and loss” they suffered in the 1988 judicial crisis.
The country should make reparations and restore justice and honour to former High Court judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid Syed Abdullah Idid, the country’s first judicial whistleblower who was victimized and punished instead of being rewarded for his act of supreme loyalty to his oath of office as a judge.
In fact, I would call for a “Judicial Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to “start a new chapter in Malaysian judiciary to turn our back on the 27 years of judicial darkness to find out the lessons to be learnt from the 1988 Mother of Judicial Crisis and the series of one judicial scandal and crisis after another which rocked Malaysia in the past 27 years, not out of vindictiveness or vengeance, but to prevent any such recurrence in the future”.
Sixthly, yesterday we saw another case of grave injustice when 13 persons were sent to jail for 10 months by the Court of Appeal for illegal assembly when they demonstrated against the unconstitutional toppling of the Pakatan Rakyat Perak State Government in February 2009 and the swearing-in of the Barisan Nasionalo Mentri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir, after being fined RM5,000 each for the offence.
The double standard in the jailing of the 13 protesters was a gross injustice, compared to the kid’s-glove treatment received by 15 Umno members who had stormed the Penang state assembly last year – the harsh and disproportionate 10 month jail sentence and RM5,000 fine for each of the 13 in Perak as compared to the RM1,500 fine imposed on the 15 in Penang – when the former were largely peaceful to prevent a highly controversial coup d’etat of a legally elected Pakatan Rakyat Perak State Government while the latter was a highly threatening, with the 15 barging into the Penang State Assembly, threatening its occupants and destroying property.
Seventhly, another case of injustice is the hounding by JAWI, the Federal Territories Islamic Affairs, of an innocent woman who has committed no crime or violated the tenets of Islam in persistently pursuing Borders bookshop manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz, who had been discharged not amounting to acquittal by the Syariah High Court from a Shariah charge that could have seen her jailed for up to two years or fined a maximum of RM3,000.
Nik Raina was charged for being a Muslim manager at a Borders bookstore branch that carried the book, “Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta”, which was translated from its original English version written by Canadian author Irshad Manji.
JAWI raided the Borders outlet in The Gardens where she is a manager on May 23, 2012, even before the book was banned by the Home Ministry, and arrested her a week later.
On June 19 2012, she was charged under Section 13 (1) of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territory) Act for allegedly selling and distributing a book that is contrary to Islamic laws.
On March 22, 2013, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that JAWI had acted illegally in raiding Borders, seizing the books and charging Nik Raina. JAWI was then ordered to withdraw its charges against her in the Shariah court.
On December 30, 2014 the Court of Appeal also ruled in favour of Nik Raina, and said the prosecution against her was “unreasonable, irrational” and done in bad faith, and that it was against the “principle of fairness and justice” for JAWI to prosecute Nik Raina for an offence in the Syariah court simply because she was a Muslim and because it could not charge the company and her non-Muslim supervisor.
On February 26, the Syariah High Court granted Nik Raina a discharge not amounting to acquittal, effectively releasing her from a Shariah charge that could have seen her jailed for up to two years or fined a maximum RM3,000.
But on March 9, the Federal Territory’s Chief Syarie Prosecutor filed an appeal against the Syariah High Court’s decision to discharge the Borders bookstore branch manager from the charge of selling a purportedly un-Islamic book.
Will Putrajaya heed the warning by the moderate Malay group G25 that JAWI’s appeal against Nik Raina’s discharge by the Syariah courts risks causing a conflict and jurisdictional clash between Malaysia’s twin legal systems?
I fully endorse the statement by G25, which includes former senior civil servants among its ranks and which has swelled to 44, which urged Malaysia’s public authorities to uphold the rule of law and the supremacy of the Federal Constitution.
Let the plea of the G25 which should now be G44 be heard loud and clear, both inside and outside Parliament, viz:
“In conclusion, we, the G25, implore the federal and state governments, their departments and agencies, Parliament and Parliamentarians, the Attorney-General Chambers and all public authorities responsible for the administration of the country over which we Malaysians have entrusted upon them, to put in place the necessary legal safeguards to prevent miscarriages of justice and to uphold the principles of Justice and Equality as enjoined in the Holy Quran and enshrined in the Federal Constitution.”
Nik Raina is a Malay and a Muslim. I am a Chinese and a non-Muslim. But we are both Malaysians and belong to the human race.
The Malaysian Dream all Malaysians share of a country for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or class must be one where the injustices suffered by one is felt by all other Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or class.
In other words, an injustice suffered by a Muslim Malaysian is also felt unjust by a non-Muslim Malaysian, and an injustice suffered by a non-Muslim Malaysian is also felt unjust by a Muslim Malaysian
Are we closer to this goal since Merdeka in 1957 and Malaysia in 1963 or further from this goal?
This will be one crucial test of success or failure of Malaysian nation-building.
Eighthly, the long-term decline of educational quality and standards in Malaysia.
However, the nation needs not only a new Finance Minister, but also a new Education, a need driven home after Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s speech last week admitting his shock with the poor performance of Malaysian students in international assessments, despite the millions of ringgit being spent to improve the education system.
What is most shocking about Muhyiddin’s “shock” is that it has to take him more than 15 months for the Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Education Minister to be shocked by the dismal performance of Malaysia’s 15-year-olds in the three subjects of mathematics, science and reading in the 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), when the results were released 15 months ago in early December 2013.
This is the first time after 15 months that the Malaysian Education Minister had expressed shock or made any public comment on the 2012 PISA results.
What had Muhyiddin been doing in the last 15 months?
Even up to now, Muhyiddin does not seem to have fully grasped the enormity of the dismal results of Malaysian students when compared to their peers in other countries, whether in PISA or Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).
Speaking at a function in Sekolah Kebangsaan Seksyen 7 in Shah Alam, Muhyiddin said:
“They (students) are smart, but when placed in international tests like TIMMS and Pisa, it is not a secret where we stand. The bottom one-third, not the top.
“I, as the education minister, am shocked at the report but I have to accept that the education standards, although said to be good, is not enough.”
There can be no more categorical admission of his failure as Education Minister for the past six years.
Why is Muhyiddin hanging on as Education Minister?
Muhyiddin does not seem to realise that he had been presiding over a relentless deterioration of educational standards of Malaysian students in the past six years, and that the problem is not just Malaysian students falling to the bottom one-third instead of among the top third tier of countries in the world in terms of performance in international student assessments, but the triple woes suffered by Malaysian students.
The triple educational woes of Malaysian students highlighted by PISA and TIMMS reports are:
- Malaysia is stuck in the bottom third of the countries surveyed in international assessments, and not making any upward move towards the upper tier of the top third of the countries.
- Although at the bottom third of the pile, Malaysia is being overtaken by other countries in the group, like Kazakhstan and Thailand.
- But the most disconcerting result from the 2012 PISA is the widening gap between Malaysia and the “top performers”. The disparity in the scores between 15-year-olds in Malaysia and the 15-year-olds in Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Shanghai have widened since the previous PISA. Based on the difference of 38 points on the PISA scale being equivalent to one year of schooling, the disparity has widened to reach a stage where the 15-year-old in Shanghai, Singapore and South Korea are performing as though they had four or even five more years of schooling than 15-year-olds in Malaysia.
Malaysians would not forget that it was Muhyiddin who had claimed that Malaysian youngsters are receiving better education than children in the United States, Britain and Germany.
But the second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, is not the answer to resolve the nation’s educational woes.
Idris recently claimed that Malaysia’s education is “world class”, which was debunked by the latest Times Higher Education (THE) World Reputation Rankings 2015 where once again, Malaysian universities failed to make the cut among the best universities in the world – although the list of the world’s 100 most prestigious universities included two universities from Singapore, 43 from United States, 12 from UK, six from Germany and five from Australia.
Malaysia does not have world-class education, whether primary, secondary or tertiary.
But let us begin with world-class Education Ministers – and both Muhyiddin and Idris have proved that they do not have the mettle to be world-class Education Ministers.
From Muhyiddin’s speech, he is clearly putting the blame of today’s education woes on the past Education Ministers. Why are they?
In the past twenty years we have had three Education Ministers before Muhyiddin, namely Datuk Seri Najib Razak (1995-1999); Tan Sri Musa Mohamad (1999 – 2004) and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (2004 – 2009).
Which one of the three predecessors of Muhyiddin as Education Minister must bear the greatest responsibility for the unchecked decline of educational standards in Malaysia, from primary to tertiary or all three together with Muhyiddin must bear total responsibility?
Ninthly, the 45-year nightmare of Sabahans for more than four decades – the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah state.
Ten months have passed since the RCIIIS presented its report to the Yang di Pertuan Agong and the Federal Government, and more than three months have passed since the RCIIIS report was made public in Kota Kinabalu, but up to now, nothing has been done to resolve the 45-year Sabah Illegal Immigrants nightmare.
In fact, it would not be wrong to say that despite the Cabinet decision to establish the RCIIIS in February more than three years ago in February 2012, and the submission of the RCIIIS Report to Putrajaya10 months ago, there had been no concrete measure to break the back of the 45-year problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah apart from the establishment of ESSCOM and ESSZONE as a result of the Lahad Datuk Intrusion in February/March 2013.
Pairin is no stranger to the issue of the 45-year Sabah Illegal Immigrants Nightmare, as he had been as long in active politics in Sabah as the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah.
In fact, it is not too far from the truth to say that Joseph Pairin’s rise and fall in Sabah politics were both related to the Sabah illegal immigrants nightmare – his rise as the Sabah Chief Minister in 1985 when the newly-formed PBS caused a political shock in Malaysian politics in sweeping Parti Berjaya out of power in 1985 and his overthrow as Sabah Chief Minister after a decade, precisely because of the success of the Project IC and various fraudulent and unlawful schemes to confer citizenship and right to vote to illegal immigrants, many of whom just recently arrived from their foreign lands.
If there is anyone in Sabah and Malaysia who has the most experience with the nightmare of illegal immigrants in Sabah, associating both his political rise and fall because of this one issue, it is Joseph Pairin Kitingan himself – and I do not think there is any politician in Sabah and Malaysia who had signed and sent more memorandum, representation and reports on solutions to the problem of illegal immigrants to the Federal Government in the past four decades.
This was why I was utterly shocked when I read in the press about the speech by Joseph Pairin at the Tawau Parliamentary Chinese New Year celebrations on March 1 that the RCI Working Committee of which he is Chairman welcomes proposals from individuals, NGOs and political parties on how to resolve the illegal immigrants issue in Sabah.
What proposals does Joseph Pairin want with regard to the solution to Sabah’s illegal immigrants nightmare which he had not himself proposed over four decades of active political leadership which included 30 years as PBS President, second Huguan Siou or Paramount Leader of the KDM community, ten years as Sabah Chief Minister and the last eight years as Deputy Chief Minister and now Chairman of the RCI Working Committee for three months, in which capacities he had dealt with all the proposed solutions to end once for all the Illegal Immigrant nightmare in Sabah.
It must be very humiliating that it was reported yesterday that his parliamentary constituency of Keningau had the most number of foreigners possessing fake MyKads.
The problem is not the lack of solutions but the lack of political will to enforce the laws in the land and to eradicate the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah once and for all.
The people of Sabah and Malaysia want Joseph Pairin to do one final service – to use his position as RCI Working Committee and Deputy Chief Minister to ensured that the authorities have the political will to resolve once for all the 45-year illegal immigrants nightmare in Sabah.
Otherwise, the RCIIIS and his appointment as RCI Working Committee Chairman are only the latest sleight-of-hand and trickeries of those in authority, whether in Putrjaya or Kota Kinabalu, to delude Sabahans into thinking that the problem of illegal immigrants is being resolved, when nothing of the sort is being done as in the past four decades and more.
I am really shocked that from the parliamentary reply from the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Shahidan Kassim, both the RCI Report Main Committee chaired jointly by the Home Minister and the Sabah Chief Minister and the RCI Report Working Committee chaired by Joseph Pairin had each met only once since the publication of the RCI Report in early December.
Malaysia needs a RCI on RCIs – to decide on the do’s and don’ts of RCI and to ensure that the authorities act seriously to implement the recommendations of the RCI so that RCI are not used as an excuse to buy time or to avoid responsibility, as seems to be the case with the UMNO/BN government.