Something is seriously wrong!

In Malaysia, we don’t have the 4 seasons. However, certain happenings in Malaysia are as predictable as the 4 seasons in temperate countries.

Yearly we have the Auditor General’s report outlining the abuses and wastage in government spending. Yearly, there is  a big ‘hoohaa’  after the release of the AG annual report ,  with calls for reform from  NGOs and civil society and promises from the authority to tackle the problems. Two or three weeks after the release, everybody is deemed to have done their duty and everything is forgotten till the next round.

Then we have the perennial Haze problems, and the usual predictable responses from politicians across both divides asking something to be done to solve the problem permanently.  Yearly, the Indonesian authority blames the Malaysian companies. The Malaysian companies will then issue a denial, and after a few days, wind changes direction, sky becomes clear again, and everyone forgets about the issue.

Around this time of the year, another perennial problem will surface, and it does surface this week.

Many of the straight  A’s students are denied places to study the courses of their choice and these poor students have nowhere to turn to, except to the media and the politicians.

Every year, the politicians will play the role of firemen, and individual cases sometimes do get a reprieve, and after an appeal, some of these students may  get the places they wish.

What is needed is a more systematic way of tackling this problem. Why there is no comprehensive policy to solve the problem really buffers me.

To deny these creme dela creme places to study will cost the country dearly in the long run. Logic will tell us that if the best is not given the chance to develop their potentials, how are we going to face the increasingly  competitive world?

Looking at many of the advanced countries, they not only allow their best to develop their full potentials, they are also trying to do the shortcut by attracting the best brains from other countries to emigrate to their countries, so as to tap on the brains of these potentially world beaters. That is the only way to allow the country to be world class.

I suspect some  little napoleons are at play in this yearly fiasco of refusing the best their choice of study. These little napoleons use the excuse that these students did not do well in their interviews or are poor in English.

We all know that interviews are very subjective. These ‘subjectiveness’ can sometimes be manipulated into reasons to reject a student from pursuing his or her dream. But if most of the best (more than 50 straight As students) are deemed to have failed in the interviews or in their English proficiency,  then what about those who are not so good but are still given places to study in the  preferred courses in the universities? Logic will tell us that if the best don’t have good command of English, then how can the second best be better than the best?

We can understand if one or two do not perform well in the interview or stutter in their English, but if most of the cream fail to get entry because they are said to  perform poorly  in interviews, and then there must be something wrong with the methodology of the interviews or the people conducting the interviews. As simple as that!

The law of average will tell you that if the average Best is not as good as the average Second Best, then there is something wrong with the system or the people manning the system.

I strongly suggest that all future interviews be recorded. With the technology now, this can easily be done. If there is any dispute, or if there is any need to audit the interview, then the authority can go through these recordings and see for themselves whether a student fails because of poor performances at interviews, or whether he or she fails because of the subjectiveness  prejudices of the people conducting the interviews.

We can no longer afford to allow some little napoleons to deny our best a chance to develop their potentials.

Our future competitiveness is at stake.

The nation’s future is at stake.

(An edited version is published in my column in TheMalaymailonline.com )

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. yum
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 13:40:23

    This is yet another nail onto the Malaysia Competitiveness coffin. I am an employer, and we recently put out job ads for skilled Malaysians in the IT sector having between 2 thru 4 years experience,

    We got nothing from Malaysians, but all from Indian nationals. If the government thinks there is little to worry about this brain drain, then they have their heads shoved up their arses all this while.

    In 10-20 years, Malaysia companies will just be supplying maids to Vietnam.

    And this thing with the medical course admission fiasco, is it any wonder there is a brain drain to Singapore?

  2. jeffrey ong
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 15:10:59

    Is it the interviewer’s English is not OK. Can’t understand what the students are saying.

  3. Andy kok
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 15:21:43

    Dr.Hsu,this is not new.IT happened many years since 1970.The UNMO wanted to keep most of the places for the bumi regardless of the ability.Never mind of their ability, just occupied places first.A lot of them ended up as drop outs which never reported by the uni.Secondly, many UNMO members wanted their children to get scholarship.How the selection of candidates and scholarship awarded never revealed because public not supposed to know. In my profession, millions of tax payer’s money is spent to send bumi students to study my profession but failed mostly.They are just not up to the standard.But never mind just send them, try their luck.After all the money belongs to the public and not UNMO.This will go on for another 400 years.(since 1511-Malay lost out for 400 years)

  4. Dr Hsu
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 15:25:27

    Andy Kok and Yum

    I agree with both of you. This probably will ast for who knows another umteen years, till our people lose all competitiveness and becomes an exporters of maids…

    Or till the Big Brother got voted out!! Which is not an easy task as you can see from the last GE.

  5. cfliau
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 15:51:38

    The question I would like to pose is this: why would majority of the top students want to take up medicine? I wish more brilliant students take up physics as their first choice so we might have Malaysian Einsteins, Feymans. Gell-Manns, etc.

  6. stark
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 16:14:27

    How can anyone be sure these straight A’s have good brain? They may earn many A’s but if you ask their view on any issue would they be able to respond gracefully?!

  7. ck
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 17:14:18

    Doc,

    Someone direct me to yr post & asked me to list my 2 cents here. I’d earlier post that in Sak’s blog, which used to be my following b4 I left the country.

    The most obvious result is the stagnation of the social-economic developments of Malaysia. She has since fallen behind the likes of Taiwan, Hongkong, S Korea & Singapore, whom were of no match & left far behind in all fronts vis-à-vis the Malaya/Malaysia challenges in 50/60s.

    No for a minute has these bigots thought about the spilled-over effect of the Nons achievement to Malaysia, as a whole, if those Nons high achievers would allow to fulfilled their ambitions. Historically, Malaya/Malaysia had benefitted tremendously in the early years of formation through this contributions. Now, these bigots ONLY want Malays’ achievements to be called genuinely Malaysian. Others Malaysians’ achievements r NOT Malaysian.

    The one side effect of this shallow mind set is that a large section of the Malay Malaysian. mainly rural, has been permanently brain-washed to fear the ‘impossible’ phenomenon of Malaysia turning into a republic, a Christian state, &/or headed by Non Malays!

    Thus, they could not realized that the untold benefits brought by these Nons’ achievements, via expanded economical cake, to Malaysia CAN directly help to enhance the process of sustenance, fully socio-economic, within the Malay community.

    Hence, many of these benefits r lost to other benevolent countries, who r hunger for talents, of all fronts, for nationhood development, irrespective of race & religion.

    In short, these bigots ONLY see self-help by Malay Malaysian as a way out for their socio-economical dilemma. All Others Malaysian’s contributions r judged as selfish & detrimental to the Malay cause (Ketuanan???). Thus the cries of ‘get out of Malaysia if u don’t like the ‘ketuanan’ policies’ to the Nons, even though these Nons r born & raised in this land.

    To achieve socio-economical sustenance, the new Malay Malaysians MUST discard this zero sum mentality, to embrace the fact that Malaysia has the race components of Others. If it so happens that the Others’ can contribute better & faster development to the nation, by all means, accept them, in total.

    There is NO SHAME in admitting deficiencies of whatever fronts. Other races have this shortfall too. One just have to pick up, again, & run – not forever looking for hands &/or excuses. The time for subsistent mode has long passed for ALL Malaysians.

    Gwlnet

  8. ck
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 17:16:13

    Ooh, my apology.

    Here is the complete post.

    Walla, welcome back to this comment page!

    ‘We should look at poverty as two-tiered. The first target is to get them off subsistence mode. The second target is to get them into sustenance mode embedded with wealth self-creation.’

    Some quote from a distant sage? Or Walla?

    I would like to just add a different angle to what Dato & u have genuinely raised & postulated – some sort of 1+1=2.

    1st a short digress. I’d been away from this country for far too long ever since the lure of chasing the god’s particle, left me unsettled for quite a long time in a circular underground torus. This country’s sopo-economic was so far away & predictorially docile.

    Then I came back to vote for GE13, on my own expense, & staying for the remaining Summer break to hope for a miracle that’s been long overdue for this country. The miracle did not come!

    Now I read that the same old same old story of top grade STPM students were denial entry to their chosen course in local Uni’s. This was the same story that happened to me 20+ years ago & it’s still playing now!

    Make one wonder whether this country is treadmilling on ALL fronts?

    It’s a fact that the Malaysian educational system has been running on zero sum model ever since that Mamak came to be the PM almost 30 yrs ago.

    Under his enhanced NEP on education, many deserving Malaysians of Non-Malay origins were sidelined to give preference to the Malay Malaysians, whom many were of lesser qualitative achievement.

    This was a process of ‘getting them off the subsistence mode’ a fair initiative – to provide models & starting ground for bootstrapping effect within the community, whence the sustenance mode could kick in later.

    This was supposed to be done on an ‘expanded cake’ model, where the Nons were not sidelined.

    Unfortunately, like all things in Malaysia, this time-limited process was abused & transmogrified into a ‘perpetual’ racial policy tied strongly to the ‘maruah bangsa’ by the bigots.

    The key problem in our nationhood development NOW is the damned zero sum mentality. This is especially so in the educational field. Others MUST stayed back, IF the Malays need time to play catch-up, irrespective of the time frame.

    The most obvious result is the stagnation of the social-economic developments of Malaysia. She has since fallen behind the likes of Taiwan, Hongkong, S Korea & Singapore, whom were of no match & left far behind in all fronts vis-à-vis the Malaya/Malaysia challenges in 50/60s.

    No for a minute has these bigots thought about the spilled-over effect of the Nons achievement to Malaysia, as a whole, if those Nons high achievers would allow to fulfilled their ambitions. Historically, Malaya/Malaysia had benefitted tremendously in the early years of formation through this contributions. Now, these bigots ONLY want Malays’ achievements to be called genuinely Malaysian. Others Malaysians’ achievements r NOT Malaysian.

    The one side effect of this shallow mind set is that a large section of the Malay Malaysian. mainly rural, has been permanently brain-washed to fear the ‘impossible’ phenomenon of Malaysia turning into a republic, a Christian state, &/or headed by Non Malays!

    Thus, they could not realized that the untold benefits brought by these Nons’ achievements, via expanded economical cake, to Malaysia CAN directly help to enhance the process of sustenance, fully socio-economic, within the Malay community.

    Hence, many of these benefits r lost to other benevolent countries, who r hunger for talents, of all fronts, for nationhood development, irrespective of race & religion.

    In short, these bigots ONLY see self-help by Malay Malaysian as a way out for their socio-economical dilemma. All Others Malaysian’s contributions r judged as selfish & detrimental to the Malay cause (Ketuanan???). Thus the cries of ‘get out of Malaysia if u don’t like the ‘ketuanan’ policies’ to the Nons, even though these Nons r born & raised in this land.

    To achieve socio-economical sustenance, the new Malay Malaysians MUST discard this zero sum mentality, to embrace the fact that Malaysia has the race components of Others. If it so happens that the Others’ can contribute better & faster development to the nation, by all means, accept them, in total.

    There is NO SHAME in admitting deficiencies of whatever fronts. Other races have this shortfall too. One just have to pick up, again, & run – not forever looking for hands &/or excuses. The time for subsistent mode has long passed for ALL Malaysians.

    Gwlnet

  9. Sad malaysian
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 19:07:49

    Dr Hsu,
    I think you are overly tactful – why not call a spade a spade?

    Most people know [though some refuse to admit it deep inside them] the reasons why these students were denied places and scholarships. And why should the authorities bother – they haven’t been bothered with many crucial issues afflicting our country. They are only bothered with ‘how much do I gain financially.

  10. Concerned Msian
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 21:09:07

    I used to conduct interviews in 2005. Out of 30 candidates, I managed to select 2 or 3 who are proficient in English Language (communicative/written skills). I have left the workforce and when I met my superior last week, we talked about interviews that we used to conduct together. I had feedback that out of 200 candidates, only 3 can fulfill the requirements. All the others just failed English. I fully agree with you that our nation’s future is at stake!

  11. Li Li Fa
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 16:20:28

    These perennial or seasonal things are but broken records which the incumbents refuse to address fully year after year. Lip service has turned to inaction and simply letting the answers blow in the wind.

    The ultimate moral and sincere step for the people is to change the current incumbents. It is the reality which the people want so much but denied them through devious means.

    Do you want our country to progress or retrograde?

    Just ask those ‘dispicable ‘ ones at PutraJaya to look around them in other Asean countries. Don’t have to look far. How we have lagged behind in so many aspects as compared to these up and coming nations? Having obtained tainted unpopular vote sduring the GE13, do you think the incumbents would want to address these issues?

  12. Simple Sense
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 22:56:26

    55 years of deteriorating governance! What can be expected?
    When there is no moral standards, there is no foundation for good governance.

  13. Phua Kai Lit
    Jul 22, 2013 @ 09:58:40

    Discriminate against your own citizens on the basis of their ethnicity, and the
    result is that other nations that welcome them, benefit :

  14. Phua Kai Lit
    Jul 22, 2013 @ 10:00:02

    Apologies. My earlier message failed to include this link on how Britain
    (and the USA) benefited from the exodus of Jewish scientists and intellectuals
    as they fled from the Nazis:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23261289

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