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We, the Malaysian Youth & Students’ Democratic Movement (DEMA) are gravely concerned with the SPAD’s decision to increase the taxi and express bus fares by between 20& – 67%. We urge that the government to regain state control of the public transportation system, reduce public transport fares and to prevent the public transport services from becoming a rent-seeking tool for cronies to exploit the people.
The major problem plaguing our public transportation system is that of cronyism. Instead of being used to promote the right to freedom of movement for the people, especially those who cannot afford to have their own transport, the government by handing over the operation of the public transportation system to cronies has transformed what is supposed to be a public goods into a money-making business.
The government by colluding with the cronies has promoted a series of fare hikes without regulating the quality of the public transportation system. The youth has become the greatest victims of this failed governance. This is so especially when there exists uneven distribution of the national wealth in geographical terms, youths who are incapable of owning their own vehicle are forced to travel long distance by public transport for education and better working opportunities.
On the basis of the above reasons, we wish to express our dissatisfaction towards the fares hike sanctioned by the government and declare the following demands:-
1) The government must acknowledge that public transportation system is a public goods and shall reclaim the control over them without any delay. Cronies shall not be allowed to exploit the public transportation system as a profit-making tool against the rights of the people;
2) The government shall take positive steps in lowering the fares and offer free public transport during peak hours to encourage the more people to use public transport services. Low-income earners and youths should be given the relevant subsidies to ease their already high cost of living and to uphold their right to freedom of movement;
3) Students studying in higher education institutions away from home should be given transportation subsidies to alleviate their financial burden;
4) Active steps must be taken to regulate the quality of public transport services to encourage more users, reduce the number of private vehicles on the road as part of the sustainable development of this nation. The government should also tighten the control against operators of express bus service who may compromise the safety of the passengers (e.g. by requiring drivers to work overtime) in favour of profit maximisation.
We urge the government to accept the demands of the youths, failing which we will not remain silence but to fight against a pro-business government. The government and their cronies are reminded not to dig their own graves in the capitalist system as “the proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains; they have a world to win”.
马来西亚的青年与大专生组织联合针对缅甸于本月10月的学运集会表示关注，并支持缅甸学运及民运份子针对国家教育法案（National Education Law）提出抗议，反对缅甸警方残暴的镇压行径。据悉，示威共造成127名示威者遭到逮捕，其中大多数是学生。
1. Malaysian Youth and Students’ Democratic Movement (DEMA) 马来西亚青年与学生民主运动（学运）
2. Student Progressive Front Universiti Sains Malaysia (SPFUSM) 理大前进阵线
3. Persatuan Bahasa Tionghua Universiti Sains Malaysia 理科大学华文学会
4. Pro-Mahasiswa Universiti Sains Malaysia 理大亲学生阵线
5. Persatuan Mahasiswa Universiti Malaya 马大学生会
6. University of Malaya Association of New Youth (UMANY) 马大新青年
7. Gerakan Mahasiswa Maju Universiti Putra Malaysia 博大前进阵线
8. Student Progressive Front Universiti Utara Malaysia 北大前进阵线
9. Transformasi Mahasiswa Universiti Utara Malaysia 北方大学转型学生组织
10. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Chinese Student Council 工艺大学华裔学生理事会（工华）
11. Pemuda Sosialis Parti Sosialis Malaysia 社会主义党青年团
12. Mahasiswa Keadilan Malaysia 公正党大专生组织
13. Lensa Anak Muda Malaysia (LENSA) 青年透镜组织
14. Anak Muda Harapan Malaysia (AMHM) 马来西亚希望青年
15. Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Se-Malaysia (GAMIS) 全国回教学生联盟
16. Serikat Mahasiswa
14 MARCH 2015
We, a coalition of students and youth organisations in Malaysia, wish to express our grave concern towards the recent crackdown of the students protest in Myanmar which resulted in 127 demonstrators, mostly students, being arrested.
It is shameful for the Burmese government – a government currently undergoing political transformation towards a democracy – to deploy state machinery in a violent manner in order to suppress what has been reported to be a peaceful assembly organised by the Burmese students. In this regard, we urge the Burmese government to respect the right of the Burmese people to hold peaceful assemblies and immediately release the detainees without imposing any criminal charge against them.
Further, we call upon the Burmese government to withdraw the National Education Law aimed at supervising the Burmese universities. Everyone living in Myanmar, including the students and academics, should be given the freedom to freely exercise their civil and political rights. There is absolutely no reason to single out the students and academics and subject them to the supervision of a special body. It is only natural that universities be allowed to run freely and independently from the state. We further urge the Burmese government to refrain from oppressing the students’ freedom to associate themselves in the form of students union.
As part of the transformation to a mature democracy, it is vital that the Burmese government first demonstrate its ability to practice democratic value and basic civil liberties to relatively smaller institutions such as the universities. Failure to do so would only cast doubts on the Burmese government’s ability and sincerity in making Myanmar a true democracy.
Lastly, on behalf of the students in Malaysia, we wish to express our solidarity with the students in Myanmar, who have taken their struggle to the street. What happened in Myanmar has served as a reminder to us that back here in Malaysia, the issue of academic freedom remains unresolved and students’ voices are still being oppressed via undemocratic means. We therefore understand your outrage. Our aspiration for the betterment of our own nation shall not be defeated by brutality.
This statement is endorsed by the following organisations:
English version: https://demamalaysia.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/press-statement-on-the-police-crackdown-on-students-protest-in-myanmar/
KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — Controversial lecturer Dr Ridhuan Tee Abdullah downplayed the importance of world university rankings today, chiding local learning institutions for trying playing catch-up with a grading that he claimed was “rigged” by the Western world.
The Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA) lecturer expressed his worry that Malaysian graduates of the world’s best universities have instead ended up in the “anti-establishment” camp, in addition to trying to ape “white folks” or Chinese nationals.
“Is it so important to get the world’s best ranking? What is the guarantee that graduates of world’s best university can become the best in their careers, and useful towards religion, race and nation?” Tee asked in his column published by Malay news portal Sinar Harian Online.
“What’s the use if they graduate from the world’s best university, if their hearts are filthy? Disloyal to the country, betraying and leaking the country’s secret to others,” asked Tee.
Tee also warned local universities from being trapped in the Western world’s “education market politics”, where academics have to pay a lot of money to be published in peer-reviewed literature databases such as Scopus and the Institute for Scientific Information.
“We are still in that colonised mind and attitude. The West are adept at playing magic tricks.
“They came up with rankings, then change the criteria from time to time. We are waddling trying to chase them,” Tee said.
Last month, Education Minister II Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh was quoted as saying by national news agency Bernama that Malaysia’s institutions of higher education are on par with those in the United States, Germany and Australia as there are 135,000 foreigners making 10 per cent of all students in local universities and colleges.
The minister also cited Universiti Malaya’s (UM) rise in the 2014 QS World University Rankings, from 167 to 151, as further evidence.
However, Malaysian universities have failed to show on the radar of other more prominent education listings in recent years, including the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2014.
The Academic Ranking of World Universities produced by Shanghai Jiao Tung University also placed UM in the bottom 100 of 400 universities worldwide last year, while UM barely scraped through the top 500 universities in the US News’ Best Global Universities at 423rd place.
In the Ranking Web of Universities compiled by Webometrics produced by a Spanish research group, Universiti Putra Malaysia ranked 420th, followed by Universiti Sains Malaysia at 480th spot, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia at 552nd and UM bottomed out among local universities with its placing at 646th.
Malaysia’s education system has come under much scrutiny in recent years among politicians and employers questioning the standards of its students and graduates, despite the government’s push to turn the country into an education hub.
AuDR AZLY RAHMAN, born in Singapore and grew up in Johor Baru, holds a Columbia University (New York City) doctorate in International Education Development and Masters degrees in four areas: Education, International Affairs, Peace Studies and Communication.
Each Malaysian university need not aspire to become “world class”, but to start becoming ‘world wise’ instead. These are my thoughts on the issue of the culture of our universities.
Tradition of intellectualism, freedom of inquiry, adaptability, quality of teaching, production of intellectual and ground-breaking artifacts, the undying pursuit of truth for the betterment of society, the championing of diverse philosophical thinking along with a diverse and global student population rigorously selected and admitted…
These are amongst the elements that make a university not only world class, but ‘world wise’.
Malaysia’s road to world class-ism is a long and winding one due to the following hurdles we have created:
A political governance that imposes a style of anti-intellectualism on campuses;
A culture of fear of thinking, retarding critical sensibility permeating;
A lack of encouragement of radical thinking amongst the faculty;
A culture of high-stakes testing and post-high school teaching;
A society as a force fast moving towards mono-cultural mono-religious thinking;
A nation helpless in determining the freedom of inquiry that ought to be championed by universities;
A government that insists on the appointment of politically-connected and aspiring educational leaders to lead universities;
A mission and vision of the university that do not have a statement which guarantees academic freedom and the protection of free speech as the key foundations of its existence;
A grand curriculum that is weak in the philosophical, sociological, humanistic, and cultural traditions of the East and the West;
A population of students and faculty weak in the mastery of the English Language;
The entire misconception of the aim and purpose of education in an increasingly globalising and predatory world;
The lack of skills of faculty as Socratic thinkers and the mastery of the art and science of teaching and inspiring;
The model of Industrial Age of education still in use in a Post-Industrial Cybernetic world…
And these are amongst the few.
Where do we go from here to make things better – even of it takes a hundred years?
Seems that the farther away society is from nature, the closer it is to materialism; the more people love money more than humility, the deeper truth may be buried.
So, we ought to at least read ‘The Epic of Gilgamesh’ and learn from the tension between the illusions of civilisation and civility.
Fights over money and materialism
This is what Malaysia is now facing. The fights in Malaysian politics – to the point of murder, mayhem and madness – are over money and materialism.
Dr Martin Luther King Jr often talked about three things that destroy humanity: racism, militarism, and materialism.
And Malcolm X had his famous saying: “Show me a capitalist and I will show you a bloodsucker.”
What’s nauseating is the growing critical mass of support for this dying regime over-killing the little hope we have for the flowering of critical and moral sensibility.
Why? Because the process of educating for hegemonic and totalitarian ends have been very successful with better ideological state apparatuses built to sustain the political-dynastic progress.
And in all these, we have created a one-dimensional two-sided society arguing over issues versus non-issues, parroting theories and clichés’.
We are in a theatre of the absurd and will be staying in it for a long, long time (Time to read Moliere again and relive my college freshman years in those Literature classes).
In the life of one’s mind, the greatest challenge is to think as freely as one can allow oneself to live in a culture that is increasingly shackling, disabling, controlling, and oppressing.
From this, too, the question of how can we design a suitable education system comes into being… of the perfect process of schooling – one that will respect the dignity and freedom of the human mind. But how? It must begin with the universities.
What is so complex about the definition of a university for it to be misunderstood? A university is a secularly-sacred institution of scholarly pursuit of ideas that must not be used to create further divisions in society – be they divisions and sub-divisions based on race, colour, creed and national origin.
It is a place wherein the universality of ideas must reign, guided by philosophies that will bring humanity closer to a more meaningful democracy.
A university is not merely a diploma mill and a production-house of academic Taylorism.
It is not an institution to put a ‘quality control’ stamp on the minds of students so that they may become merely good workers in a Total Quality Management-inspired company.
It is not a game of production and reproduction and schooling the mind into total submission.
A university is not a place wherein the discoveries of new bodies of knowledge must point to the dictates of party politics and that ‘truth’ must be acquired through ‘methods’ designed by and derived from the structural-functionalism of politics.
It must not be a place to canonise the ideology of this or that dubious leader whose interest is in self-emulation and deluding oneself to grandeur. A university has more respect than that.
The university is above politics. It must educate politicians. The professor must guide politicians – a professor who is a philosopher-ruler and one who is incorruptible and preserves the culture of free inquiry and human liberation is the best professor a nation can ever have.
Professing knowledge and helping others grow intellectually is not the same as packaging propaganda and helping others become retarded by it.
And so, we must engineer a revolution to make our institutions wiser and to move society to become ‘world wise’ instead of prematurely appraising our institutions as “world class”.
See more at：http://www.malaysiakini.com/columns/290515