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How Myths can be Necessary and also Dangerous PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 January 2012 23:00

farish2By Dr Farish A. Noor

First published in author's Facebook page

 

Over the last two days I have been interviewed three times by three different media publications over the question of where I stand on the latest silly debate in Malaysia, namely the question of whether Hang Tuah existed or not, and whether it ought to be taught in schools. This is, I have to confess, one of the smaller histories of Malaysia that has been in the footnotes of my mind for ages, and I recall how I was once asked by an elderly gentleman during a forum discussion in KL in 1998 if it was true that Hang Tuah was of Chinese origin.


Let me state what little I know of the matter, and make my stand relatively clearer:


Firstly, I dont know or care if Hang Tuah was Chinese, Malay, Japanese, Eskimo or Serbo-Croat. He could have been a mix of all of the above with a Martian wife and a Venusian mother-in-law for all I care.


Secondly, no, there is no record of the keris Taming Sari either, and every antique shop that claims to have one is lying to get your money;


Thirdly, please note that in the Hikayat Hang Tuah we also have stories of kerises that fly, magical potions, demons and monsters, and a magical bean that when swallowed allows you to speak all languages. (A bit like the Babel fish in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy methinks.)

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 January 2012 23:33
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IDEAS calls for enhancement of Education Policies for Orang Asli Children PDF Print E-mail
Written by admin   
Monday, 26 October 2020 11:09
  • The Orang Asli community continue to face barriers to education, resulting in persistently higher school dropout rates than the national average.

  • Existing government policies and programmes are currently not sufficient to address the underlying challenges.

  • IDEAS calls for greater efforts including systematic evaluation of existing programmes and greater incorporation of Orang Asli values and culture into the curriculum.


Kuala Lumpur, 22 October 2020 –The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) today published a policy paper titled “Education Policies in Overcoming Barriers Faced by Orang Asli Children: Education for all”.  The paper was authored by IDEAS’ Research Manager of Social Policy, Wan Ya Shin.

 

The paper reviews several policies and programmes and finds that the outcomes of government programmes have not been commensurate with the effort and resources poured into developing and implementing them.

 

While there appears to be some reduction in the gap between Orang Asli students and the national average according to the Malaysian Education Blueprint (2013-2025), key challenges such as lack of opportunities to attend preschool and contextualized curriculum and pedagogy have not been adequately addressed. These significant challenges have resulted in persistently higher school dropout rates from the national average. For example, from 2016 to 2018, the national dropout rates were consistently below 4%, while the Orang Asli students’ dropout rates were above 17% and it increased significantly to 26% in 2017.

 

Faced with socio-economic, geographic, language and cultural barriers, many Orang Asli children perform poorly and drop out of school. Since 1995, the Ministry of Education has introduced various policies and programmes to improve the educational outcomes of Orang Asli children. These programmes and policies have evolved from integration into mainstream education to a more indigenous-focused education. However, the paper concludes that further action is needed to ensure these policies match the nature and scale of the challenge that Orang Asli face.

The following are the recommendations based on the findings of the research:

 

  • Policies should identify and tackle underlying challenges instead of addressing ‘symptoms’

  • Periodic evaluation and impact analysis of policies and programmes are needed to ensure effectivity and address new issues and gaps that arise during implementation

  • Look into needs of Orang Asli children who have never been to school and identify and address their challenges

  • Respect the voice of Orang Asli communities and their right to self-determination when formulating policies and programmes

  • Contextualise the curriculum and incorporate indigenous values and culture so that it is relevant to the students’ lives

  • Provide adequate training to teachers and support them with professional development programmes

  • Re-examine the focus of the Malaysian education system and move towards a holistic education

Commenting on the release, Wan said that “It is hoped that the observations and recommendations made in this paper will contribute to the continuous improvement in the policies and programmes for the benefit of Orang Asli children. This is not just an issue faced by Orang Asli communities but a national education issue, and we need to ensure that all Malaysian children have access to quality education.”

 

IDEAS CEO Tricia Yeoh commented, “Orang Asli children continue to face tremendous barriers in accessing the quality education they require to escape the poverty cycle. The education system must better serve our indigenous communities to enable them to flourish and participate meaningfully in our Malaysian society.”

 

A copy of the Policy IDEAS No.66 can be downloaded here.

 

Source: https://www.ideas.org.my/ideas-calls-for-enhancement-of-education-policies-for-orang-asli-children/

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 February 2021 16:05
 
Bersih 2 Rally’s 10th Anniversary PDF Print E-mail
Written by admin   
Friday, 09 July 2021 11:10

 

10 Years After Bersih 2 Rally: The Work to Build Our Democracy Continues
On this day, 10 years ago, approximately 50,000 ordinary Malaysians gathered in the streets of Kuala Lumpur to demand clean and fair elections. Many took a great personal risk to participate in the rally – gassed, chased, beaten up, or arrested by the police. We will never forget people like Allahyarham Baharuddin Ahmad, Aunty Bersih, Pak Samad, and many more unsung heroes – some of whom are no longer with us. It is in their spirit that we must carry on the work to protect and improve democracy in Malaysia.
The following were the eight demands made in the Bersih 2 rally:

1. Clean the electoral roll
2. Reform postal vote
3. Use indelible ink
4. Free & fair access to media
5. Minimum 21 days campaign period
6. Strengthen public institutions
7. Stop corruption
8. Stop dirty politics

While not all of our goals have been achieved, the Malaysian people should be proud of how far we have come. The 14th General Election enabled a peaceful transition of power for the first time in Malaysia’s history, followed by installation of a new set of Election Commissioners. Since the new team took over, they have improved on the processes of conducting elections, started the process of cleaning up the electoral roll and engaged more with civil society organisations and other stakeholders. An Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) was established with a two-year mandate to explore all areas of reform needed to make our electoral system more robust and fair. Unlike previously, BERSIH 2.0 has been in multiple public dialogues and engagement with the Election Commission and was represented in the ERC to push for electoral reforms. On the table is a review of the current First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) election system, delineation, voters registration, election management body reform, caretaker government, voters education, political financing and all related legal amendments needed. Plans are also underway to lower the voting age to 18, releasing a block of another 4 million voters by GE15 and implementing automatic voters registration.

Our work has not ended, it probably never will. Like you, we are not satisfied with the slow pace of reforms. We acknowledge that things have not turned out the way voters imagined it to be. But progress is not linear and cynicism is not a solution. We do a disservice to ourselves if we give up on our democracy.
From day one, BERSIH 2.0 is clear about our role as an electoral watchdog. We have expanded our scope of work to include spreading public education, monitoring elections, conducting research for policies and legislation related to elections and democracy, and lobbying key legislators and stakeholders to enact meaningful and concrete change.

The Bersih 2 rally and the subsequent protests have normalized protest as a legitimate action to express the Rakyat’s sentiments. At the same time, we are never reckless when it comes to organising big rallies especially when it concerns the health and safety of the participants. We reiterate that holding peaceful rallies are never, and can never be off the table, in a parliamentary democracy.

To celebrate and honor the 10th year anniversary of the historic Bersih 2 rally on 9th of July 2011, we call upon our supporters and volunteers to:

1) Share your stories through #KisahBersih709 or #BersihStories709, an oral history Campaign, which runs throughout July.
2) Wear yellow to commemorate the protest and share your pictures on social media.
3) Join our programs related to Bersih 2 rally’s 10th anniversary, starting with tonight’s webinar featuring the past and present Bersih chairpersons.

The people that showed up on 9 July 2011 in Kuala Lumpur and other cities globally saw that democracy manifest itself in the rakyat. A rally is simultaneously an event, a space, a community, a democratic ideal, and a sense of belonging which contribute to political socialization and civic participation.

BERSIH 2.0 once again thanks the Rakyat for their courage and support for the cause of free and fair elections and democracy shown on the 9th of July 2011. We must continue to be vigilant to work on Malaysian democracy. Let us always remember the moment when thousands of Malaysians sang Negaraku together, and how that made us feel. We will carry this spirit forward, till the fire next time.

Hidup, Hidup! Hidup, Rakyat!

Released by,
The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0

 


Last Updated on Friday, 09 July 2021 11:28
 
90 Million at Risk of Poverty... PDF Print E-mail
Written by admin   
Thursday, 22 October 2020 15:24

90 million at risk of poverty

Economic fallout from Covid-19 could push huge number currently on brink to fall into financial hardship


The world has made great strides in alleviating poverty in the past few decades. However, experts now fear that up to 90 million people worldwide, including hundreds of thousands of Malaysians, will fall into poverty if the Covid-19 crisis drags on.


According to Our World in Data, which conducts research and collates data in efforts to deal with the world’s biggest problems, there were 1.9 billion people living below the poverty line in 1990.


By 2015, it had dropped to 750 million and the figure is expected to decline further to just 500 million by 2030.


In Malaysia, the poverty rate rose from 0.2% to 7.5% but only because the government raised the official poverty line income from RM980 to RM2,208 per month in July 2020.

That leaves about 400,000 households still living below the poverty line.

However, any progress in eradicating poverty is expected to be reversed extensively by the economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, economists told theSun.


According to them, a high number of Malaysians continue to hang on just above the poverty line and any crisis could easily push them through the cracks.

Sunway University Business School professor of economics Dr Yeah Kim Leng said any type of economic hardship, such as that caused by Covid-19, could easily cause many families to fall into poverty.


“Many families are actually earning just enough to pay for the bare minimum, thus avoiding the ‘poor’ description (given to those living below the poverty line),” Yeah said.

He cited a report by the Khazanah Research Institute that showed about 835,000 Malaysian households earn just about RM2,900 a month, making them extremely vulnerable to an economic shock.


“At RM2,900, it is only RM700 above the official poverty line of RM2,200,” he added.

Another economist, Prof Dr Barjoyai Bardai, explained that whether a household stays above or falls below the poverty line depends on the ability to pay for necessities.


“We look at this as a ‘basket of goods’, which should include food, rental, clothing and transport. This is enough to meet a family’s needs,” he said.


However, a loss of income caused by retrenchment or pay cuts could make it more difficult, if not impossible, to afford this basket of goods. When that happens, the family is deemed to have fallen below the poverty line.


“To ensure that a family can have a decent standard of living, their income should be about RM2,900 a month.”


However, he said there is now a need to revise the list of items in that basket of goods because some items that were considered a luxury in the past have become a necessity today. One of these items is access to the internet.


Barjoyai cited a Bank Negara Malaysia report stating that for a family of four to have a decent lifestyle, they need a living wage of at least RM6,000 a month.

But he pointed out that “living wages” differ from “poverty line wages”.


According to Bank Negara, a “living wage” is an income that is sufficient for a household to afford a minimum acceptable living standard, and that would include opportunities to participate in society, the opportunity for personal and family development and freedom from severe financial stress.


Unfortunately, there are many who, although still living above the poverty line, are far from achieving this level.


The economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic could effectively make this unachievable for most.

 

Source: The Sun Daily

https://www.thesundaily.my/local/90-million-at-risk-of-poverty-AE4745882


Last Updated on Thursday, 22 October 2020 15:40
 
UNSR Praises Malaysia for raising PLI, but... PDF Print E-mail
Written by straits-mongrel   
Monday, 13 July 2020 10:40

Former UN Special Rapporteur praises Malaysia for raising poverty line but says updated figure still too low...

 

 

In reference to the government's announcement yesterday that the absolute poverty line has been revised from RM980 to RM2,208, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston praised Putrajaya for following through with a commitment to raise the poverty line and give a more accurate picture of the state of poverty in Malaysia.

 

Malaysia’s poverty line index (PLI) has increased by a whopping five percentage points to 5.6 per cent or 405,441 households from 0.4 per cent or 24,700 households in 2016 after Putrajaya revised its PLI calculation methodology.

 

In a press statement yesterday, Minister in Prime Minister’s department Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said that the current national PLI is RM2,208 a month per household, which has increased by more than double from its previous PLI in 2016 which stood at RM980 per household.

 

“Malaysia's government has taken a courageous step towards bringing its poverty line closer to reality.

“The line announced today is more than double the previous one and results in an official poverty rate 14 times higher than previously acknowledged,” Alston said in a statement.

 

He said the challenge now is to systematically address poverty by instituting a comprehensive social protection scheme and to provide greater data transparency, in line with almost all democratic countries.

 

“The government also needs to take seriously the plight of millions of non-citizens who are disproportionately affected by poverty and excluded from official figures, indigenous people who face severe discrimination and rights violations, and women who have exceptionally low rates of workforce participation,” Alston said.

 

However, Alston added that the absolute poverty rate of 5.6 per cent under the updated poverty line is still too low and therefore hopes the poverty line will be increased further in future.

“Because the new poverty rate of 5.6 per cent is just one-third of that estimated by almost all independent analyses, I hope that the government will include an even more realistic benchmark in the 12th Malaysia Plan,” he said.

 

Source: https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/07/11/former-un-special-rapporteur-praises-malaysia-for-raising-poverty-line-but/1883467

Last Updated on Monday, 13 July 2020 10:55
 
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