Tuesday 31 March 2009

More rhetoric, or a new dawn in the horizon?

After the recently concluded UMNO elections, UMNO president and incoming prime minister Datuk Seri Najib pledged that he will make the necessary changes to the NEP to bring it back to its original objectives, eradicating poverty among Malaysians. A few days later, UMNO deputy president and potentially the next deputy prime minister, Datuk Seri Muhyiddin has vowed to end economic discrimination against ethnic Chinese and Indian Malaysians.

This is definitely a step forward, and is more than welcome. However, let this result in some serious action, and not fizzle down as mere rhetoric meant to bolster support for the tri-elections. I urge the MIC leadership (and the MCA, Gerakan etc) to work closely with Najib and Muhyiddin with regards to this liberalization of the NEP and to ensure that there is a sense of equality for all Malaysians.

I personally feel Najib has had people trying to undermine him even before he takes over the country's reins. There have been many allegations. Some with so much 'supporting facts' that they are very believeable indeed. However, fact is, absolutely nothing has been proven to date. Allegations remain as allegations. Rumours remain as rumours. What is certain is, there will be a leadership change. That too, in a period of global economic uncertainty. Let's at least give him a chance. A clean slate.

Muhyiddin brings a fresh set of ideas and a new perspective. His clean image is also something welcome. He has vowed to be a good deputy to Najib. Let us give this tag team the chance they deserve.

Sunday 29 March 2009


Nominations have closed successfully for the tri-elections in Bukit Selambau, Batang Ai and Bukit Gantang. It is undeniable that the Barisan Nasional is facing an uphill battle in all three constituencies. The MIC is the chosen BN component party to contest the Bukit Selambau seat, where a record 15 candidates have filed their nominations, 13 of them independents. The seat, which was previously held by an independent-turned-PKR assemblyman, obviously has led many to think they fare good chances as an independent. Of course, it must be noted that in the previous elections, the PKR candidate has his nomination disqualified, resulting in the then independent candidate benefitting tremendously from the 'tsunami'.

The PKR led state government has declared that only if their candidate wins, will he be appointed state exco. Meaning, if an independent wins, they will not appoint him/her to an exco post should the person pledge support and/or join PKR. Well, that is one way of ensuring support for their candidate, though it remains to be seen if they will keep to this condition. One news source actually quoted the Kedah Menteri Besar actually threatening to dissolve the entire state assembly should BN win the election. PAS leaders do have a tendency of releasing somewhat ridiculous statements every now and then, so let's not read too much into that. At least he didn't say men and women have to vote in separate centres. :)

The MIC candidate for Bukit Selambau, is confident that he will be able to pull off an upset. The decision by PKR to nominate a rookie, who seems to be unliked by his own party members, is of course, in favour of the BN candidate. It remains to be seen how the independents will act as spoilers. The Chinese voters are said to be solidly behind PKR. The Malays, split 50-50. the Indian votes seem tough to call, with somewhat softening, yet still present underlying resentment for BN and unhapiness over PKR's choice of candidate cancelling each other out. The presence of Malay and Chinese independents will also deflect ethnic votes somewhat.

Well, I guess we will have an interesting week or so until the elections. Let's wait and see. All the best to the BN candidates in all three elections.

Sunday 22 March 2009

JPA, Don't rob deserving students of scholarships!

Year after year, once the SPM and STPM results are out, there is one problem that never fails to crop up. JPA or PSD scholarships. Nobody seems to know for sure how these prized scholarships are dished out. What we DO know, for a fact, is that year in, year out, deserving students with sterling examination results are left out. It is of course, no surprise that most of these students are non-Malays, a fairly large portion of them Indians. Below is a press release on behalf of Putera MIC on this matter.


The recent announcement by PSD Director General Tan Sri Ismail Adam is something that has caused a lot of uneasiness among 2008 SPM students and their respective parents. This issue is very close to the heart of the people and much thought should be given before a decision is reached. The previous year, when there was a public outcry when students with flying results were denied scholarships, the honorable Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi diffused the situation by announcing that any student who achieved 9 straight A1s would be allocated scholarships. This intervention by the prime minister was timely and very well received by the rakyat.

Tan Sri Adam has categorically stated that not all straight As students will be eligible for scholarships. This is definitely a step backward for the country's education system and overall aim of increasing and enhancing the human resource capability of the nation. Those who are have worked hard and attained excellence should be rewarded and no less then the Prime Minister has agreed to this. Putera MIC strongly objects to the PSD Director General's statement which implies this practice will be stopped. We strongly urge Tan Sri Adam to carefully rethink the decision and make a decision that is in the best interest of the students and their futures.

When the Prime Minister made the decision last year there was overwhelming support for it. Has the Prime Minister agreed to the new decision? How come he didn’t state that the scholarships were only for the year it was announced and not for the future too? What has changed so drastically that such a well received decision has to be reversed? The people are watching this issue very closely and they need to be reassured that the government has the interests of the people at heart when making a decision. Students should be confident that when they study hard and do well, the government will reward their efforts and this will encourage them to work harder.

Another point we would like to raise is the fact that by Tan Sri Adam’s own calculation there are 2000 overseas scholarships and there are 1676 student with straight A1s. This being the scenario shouldn’t all those who got straight A1s be entitled to scholarships. Even if all those who got straight A1s were given scholarships, there would be about 300 and more available for others. As for those who got straight As the local 10 000 scholarships will be available to them.

As a country striving to become more competitive and first-world in all ways, educational policies are of paramount importance. Taking this into consideration we urge all those involved to re-think their decision and do what is best for the students and the country. The people await a positive decision, for them and not against them. 

Thursday 12 March 2009

Guidance for SPM and STPM Leavers

Putera MIC has launched our annual SPM and STPM Hotline. We have been doing this program for several years now, refining it every year. SPM and STPM leavers can contact the Putera MIC Hotline via sms and email. Within 24 hours, they will receive a list of courses that they can apply for in government universities based on their results. Students with other queries with regards to their education path can also contact the hotline for advice.

SMS to 012 - 6711 634
email SPM@puteramic.net or STPM@puteramic.net

Also, the MIC, via the Yayasan Pemulihan Sosial, YPS, is organizing nationwide Career and Shcolarship Guidance Seminars called 'Vetripadigal'. This initiative headed by Datuk S.K. Devamany, is to help guide students apply for courses relevant and suitable for their qualification by providing comprehensive information on courses, institutions, fees, etc. 

The Selangor and KL Seminar is on Saturday, 14th March, 8am to 1pm, Kompleks Perdana Siswa, Universiti Malaya.