This was taken from malaysia today
Posted by Raja Petra
Monday, 07 January 2008
This is a real tough week. First we had Dr SL Chua’s open confession and his gentlemanly conduct of resigning from his post for his admission of unacceptable immoral conduct.
What is morality? Some woman who had no option in life than to sell her body to feed her own family? Isn’t that immoral? What about people who steal from others or taking money from various contracts within the binds of a contract? Is that morally acceptable? How about lying to your friend or to your parents? Is that morally acceptable? What happens when you are a public figure and lie repeatedly to the nation? Is that morally acceptable? These are issues of morality that is hounding us today.
In my opinion his conduct in the alleged DVD is immoral but he regained his stature as a leader with his open admission. Hey! Wait a minute! By the way this guy is not a Muslim that prays 5 times a day. In fact many of my peers and me felt that his exit from politics in a gentlemanly conduct deserves a special mention in our nation’s history. In the past fifty years, I don't know of anyone else who did the same?
In Victoria, Australia, Steve Bracks resigned as the Premier on July 30th 2007, when his son was caught for drunk driving. In countries like Australia, the people there take issues of driving under the influence of alcohol seriously. Here we have a Premier who wasn't drunk, neither was he having an affair but it was that of his son who was involved in an accident after driving under the influence of Alcohol. He resigned immediately after the incident because he felt that there was no honor for him to run the state when his own son was involved in an incident which was relatively a minor happening here in Malaysia.
What do you do when the PM of country lies to the nation in the noble house, called Parliament. Is it acceptable? Is it acceptable that the PM announces in Parliament in his budget speech that all school fees will be removed in the coming year and giving false hopes to millions of people by claiming that education Malaysia is free? Is it morally acceptable when an Education Minister goes to the United Nations (Unesco) and lies about the same matter to the whole world. This raised a lot of morality issues.
Surprisingly today NST (Sunday Times 6/1/2008) headlines on the front page showed the picture of the Education Minister slamming parents and making people feel small by saying "Go ahead, Get your refund" and Datuk Dr Mohd Tap Salleh, the President of Integrity Institute of Malaysia talks about leaders and morality. Was it a pure coincidence or planned? I felt Dato Hishamuddin’s out burst on TV3 last night is simply immature. He has shown very little maturity as a politician. From the ramblings of the issue of School Fees http://www.malaysia-today.net/2008/content/view/481/36/ during the past 2 weeks which was played again and again on the media and the various statements issued by the Minister, it appears that the Education Minister has got himself confused on the issue of "School Fees", "Additional Payments", "PIBG Fees" and the role of the PIBG. Now everyone is more confused than ever. I think he has not been properly advised. He should find some time and do some reading on Education Regulation 1998, various ministry circulars like SPI 4/1998 , 13/2007. Hey I am an ordinary citizen. How come I seem to know something about this regulation? hmmmm. I wonder!!
Dato Hishamuddin, please allow me to save you sometime and explain the above and hopefully you are better prepared when a parent should ask you.
First of all, in parliament the PM said "all school fees" SPI 4/1998 dated 16 March 1998 clearly explains what constitute "school fees". In this aspect it is quite clear that your boss, the PM in parliament had said all fees and not just "Yuran Khas". You can check the budget speech text on this if you don't believe. It is available in BNM website (Item 49 and 50). In SPI 13/2007 it is clearly stated that that all parents must (in Malay - di kehendaki/dikenakan) pay the so called new additional payments but when we studied the so called new additional payments, it appears that 95% of the charges are for the same charges as in the "old school fees". This means that the bayaran tambahan is now the new name for "fees" and the school authorities must decide on the amount after discussing with the PIBG... Let me remind you, the word is discussing and not approval of the PIBG. The decision lies with the school head and the Education Department Director. I hope I have not confused you just yet. And at no time in the past was this a PIBG fees. The money doesn’t go into the PIBG accounts. It goes into the school’s "Akaun Kerajaan".
The PIBG, as clearly stated in the Education Regulation 1998, cannot collect any fees. So it is quite clear that the PIBG do not collect any fees. However being an association guided by its AGM, the PIBG can request and collect some reasonable amount from parents (i.e. members) to run it's own activities as guided by the charter of the Association. There is no where in the charter it says that PIBG has to pay for maintenance, pay for peperiksaan selaras, pay for examination papers, maintain school toilets, halls, pay electricity etc. That is the school management’s/government’s responsibilities. We pay tax so that the government can manage this government asset. In some schools, I was told that the students must buy socks from the school carrying the school’s initials. Of boy! what is next .. panties, bras, under wears. The students are so scared that their name will be taken down by the Prefects, so they actually force their parents to buy the socks. The school and the PIBG are two distinct and separate organisations which has 2 different roles on the same target group i.e. the children.
So, this is why the parents are screaming? The minister said that this is only a small number of parents. Did you do any actual studies? If so what were the findings? Publish it. TV3 did an SMS studies. 80% said abolish it? They don’t agree with the MOE’s latest ruling. I believe there are people who were looking forward to not paying any school fees because they can’t afford it. But for many people like me the issue is not the amount. The issue here is, principle and morality. It is quite obvious that someone did a wrong calculation and realised that by abolishing the school fees the MOE would not have adequate budget to run the schools. At the very last moment they, the MOE issued a circular 13/2007 discerning the information that the government had spent RM 2.5 billion. Why then the sarcasm on TV, asking the parents to come and collect their money? Might as well instruct all the schools to refund the collected fees? That would have been better. After all, the MOE has money. RM 2.5 billion to be exact (quoting the Minister). Someone made a mistake. Admit it.
I would have a greater respect for you, Dato Hishamuddin if you come forward on TV, and say on behalf of the MOE that you would like to apologise because we had miscalculated the cost of running the schools and as such we cannot abolish the school fees just yet. This would have put you in a higher stature. Probably as high as Steve Bracks and Dr Chua. I think when we make a mistake, we should apologize and as a kind and decent person, we should forgive. I am not asking you to resign. I believe the majority including me are willing to forgive. There is no need to twist and turn the story up side down to confuse the lot and hopping that by the end of the day, the majority will just say, let it be lah! This is Malaysia. For me this is a matter of principle. Do the right thing.
So Dato Hishamuddin, I as a citizen of this country humbly request that you apologise to the nation over this matter and your subsequent reaction. Your sarcasm on TV3 on the 5/1/2008 is completely unwarranted.
Regards and best wishes.
Dr Mohamed Rafick Khan bin Abdul Rahman MD, MMed(OM),MBA(IT),Dip Ae Med, CTM, AME (17)
Taman Bukit Utama