Say ‘no’ to incompetent government, message from Tanjung Piai by election!


The message from Tanjung Piai is really quite simple and straightforward.

The Malays are willing to vote for BN, MCA, PH or PPBM. To them, which party or coalition to vote for is secondary. Increasingly, they want a government that can work for them, not just good in hoodwinking.

Some pundits claimed that it was Umno-PAS union that pulled the Malay votes for BN. I would prefer to think that it is the “push factors” to vote against PPBM and Pakatan Harapan that caused the swing.

Frankly, I think most are quite fed-up with the PH government by now. Many must have paused to ask themselves which aspect of their life has become better since May 9, 2018.

Maybe they couldn’t find any other than the continued intrigues and infighting within PH component parties.

The Chinese, too, can vote for different candidates and different coalitions at different times. To them, it does not matter if it is PPBM, PH, BN or MCA. It shows Chinese Malaysians are not racist. They just want to be treated fairly; it does not matter which race represents them in the government.

PPBM, Amanah and PKR need to be reminded that the Chinese are not leftovers; they are productive citizens.

No one wishes to be insulted, so let no one tell the Chinese to go back to China again. This is totally unacceptable.

The Chinese value their children’s education very much because they know they can’t depend on the government for jobs. So, forums and congresses threatening to shut down certain schools should stop.

They want multilingual education for their children, so stop telling them what language they can or cannot learn. If the government cannot protect the minority, it does not deserve support, period.

Finally, all Malaysians – Malays, Chinese, Indians and others – hate an incompetent government. So stop talking about flying cars, third national car, crooked bridge, Kulim Airport which is a stone’s throw from Penang, and endless plans for Penang.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

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Shocked! Najib’s actions showed personal interest beyond that of public office — judge


KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali took an hour to deliver his decision today that the prosecution has successfully established a prima facie case against former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak on all seven charges in the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial.

What was significant was that the judge devoted half an hour to just one charge, namely abuse of power.

Najib also faces three criminal breach of trust charges and three money-laundering charges in relation to the alleged embezzlement of RM42 million from SRC in 2014 and 2015.

On the power abuse charge, Justice Nazlan said evidence adduced by the prosecution showed that the series of actions taken by Najib in respect of SRC showed personal interest beyond that of public office.

Najib, who is also the member of parliament for Pekan and former Barisan Nasional chairman, had agreed to the recommendation made by the Economic Planning Unit to approve a RM20 million launching grant for SRC when the company initially applied for a RM3 billion grant, the judge noted.

“Before SRC was placed under 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), SRC’s Articles of Association under Section 67 stipulates that the accused as PM has the power to appoint and remove the members of the board of directors of the company,” the judge said.

More importantly, Justice Nazlan said Najib responded to a letter dated June 3, 2011 from SRC’s former chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, who sought a RM3.95 billion loan.

“Najib made a notation on the letter addressed to the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) CEO Datuk Azian Mohd Noh stating in fact that he was agreeing to it, and wanted Azian to look into it.

“It should be highlighted that KWAP is a statutory institution which in effect reports to the finance minister and KWAP board members and whose investment panel members are appointed by the finance minister, under Section 6 and 7 of the KWAP Act,” the judge said.

Najib the ultimate boss

Justice Nazlan said Najib had informed then Treasury secretary-general and KWAP chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah to expedite the approval of the SRC loan, and that this happened after Wan Abdul Aziz and Azian had briefed Najib that KWAP was initially considering extending a loan of only RM1 billion.

“Crucially, Wan Abdul Aziz testified under cross-examination that he did not consider the said communication with the accused as an instruction from Najib. In addition Azian, the former KWAP CEO, testified there was no legal compulsion. She could not deny that there was a certain amount of influence in the notation directed to her in the June 3, 2011 letter.

“This was due to the fact that Azian felt Najib was the PM and the minister in charge of KWAP and her “ultimate boss”,” the judge said, adding that before KWAP approved the loan, SRC had written to the finance ministry seeking a government guarantee in anticipation of the RM2 billion loan.

The judge also noted the deputy secretary-general of Treasury, Datuk Mat Noor Nawi, had testified that the transfer of the share of ownership of SRC from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Ministry of Finance Incorporated was executed by Najib, who was also the finance minister.

Justice Nazlan said the series of conduct and involvement of Najib with regard to SRC, if viewed in totality, cannot be construed as purely being a lawful exercise of his official duty as either the prime minister, finance minister or advisor emeritus of SRC.

“This is because such conduct and involvement was beyond the ordinary and outside the usual conduct or involvement expected of a prime minister and finance minister, similarly circumstanced.

“Such conduct and involvement exhibited by the accused instead serves only to demonstrate the existence of private and personal interest on the part of the accused in SRC, which interest, in my judgement, is in the nature that is envisaged under the law to fall within the ambit of Section 23 of the MACC Act,” the judge ruled.

Justice Nazlan further reasoned that the argument that Najib had not given any instructions or directions but merely made requests and had no role to play in securing the KWAP loan cannot withstand the court’s scrutiny.

He said if these were couched as mere requests it is manifest that they were made by Najib because they were meant to be obeyed.

“Everyone else in the picture was in a position subordinate to the accused. These included the secretary-general of the Treasury and the (then) Second Finance Minister (Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah),” he said.

Justice Nazlan said the prosecution has also showed that Najib participated in the decision-making process at the meetings of the Cabinet, which the ex-premier chaired and where the two government guarantees for the loans extended by KWAP to SRC were approved.

This, he said, is clearly is a decision or action taken by Najib in relation to the government guarantee, which was to guarantee KWAP the repayment of the loan by SRC, in which Najib had an interest of a nature that is caught under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009.

“In fact the accused himself, as the PM who chaired the meetings, had tabled the Cabinet paper on the second government guarantee at the meeting which approved the same on Feb 8, 2012.

“There was no disclosure, let alone any attempt to excuse himself from the deliberation on the Cabinet papers at the either of the said meetings,” he said, adding that Najib also subsequently chaired a cabinet meeting where a short-term loan was approved when SRC nearly defaulted KWAP payment.

“Given the accused’s control over SRC, he could cause the transfers of RM42 million which were through intermediary companies credited into his personal accounts and eventuality utilised and spent to his own advantage. This is gratification to the accused pure and simple,” he said, in ruling that Najib has to enter his defence on the abuse of power charge.

Najib is charged under Section 23 of the MACC Act for allegedly using his position as the prime minister and finance minister to commit bribery involving RM42 million when he participated in or was involved in the decision to provide government guarantees for loans from the Retirement Fund Inc to SRC amounting to RM4 billion.

He is alleged to have committed the offence at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011 and Feb 8, 2012. If convicted, he faces a jail term of up to 20 years, and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value received or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

The Edge is reporting the proceedings of the SRC trial live.

Users of The Edge Markets app may tap here to access the live report.


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Digitalisation and its impact


https://youtu.be/Rd8gVeqE-qc

< https://youtu.be/h8pWZyLyS6U

Has China surpassed USA in education?

How China’s tech sector is challenging the world – Part 1

Huawei CEO: “US companies will suffer the most”

The Point: Does China need to teach the West lesson in 5G?

LIKE it or not, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) is upon us.

Sure, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has shown political resolve in pointing Malaysians towards a new course in reaching higher levels of industrialisation. Lest we forget, IR4.0 simply embodies digitalisation. It’s powerful – where speed, sophistication and the profound impact of digital technologies are integrated into orthodox industries on a massive scale.

Frankly, I worry that – until now, as the process of digitalisation in Malaysia lags behind what’s happening around us – the lack of preparedness and of real resolve to act with clear plans and programmes will (unlike China) leave us further and further behind as domestic politics continue to overwhelm. Previous technological shifts followed the onset of the steam engine in the first industrial revolution; then came electricity, the internal combustion engine, the telephone and the light bulb which is the second; followed by the third which moved from analogue to digital (web 2.0) as reflected by the personal computer, networking, the Internet and data/IT.

Digitalisation

In the digital age, economic activity results from billions of online connections. They involve not just people and organisations, but also data, devices, systems and processes. Its backbone is hyper-connectivity. It’s where the effects of technologies and platforms (such as Internet, artificial intelligence (AI) robotics, 5G, computational biology, the Internet-of-Things or IoT, data analytics and computational analysis) give rise to whole new industries, creating significant massive shifts in productivity and jobs.

Outside Malaysia, the digital economy is taking shape and undermining conventional notions about how businesses and organisations are structured; how they interact; and how consumers get their information, goods and services. For example, mall car parking in China is done digitally – after scanning the car’s number plate, the car is directed to an empty lot; and when it leaves, the system automatically deducts the fee from the e-wallet. Simply, components in the digital economy are transformed or empowered by digitalisation: the fundamental process where data is generated, collected, analysed and eventually serves as the single most valuable asset. And so, data becomes the most valuable currency.

Today, China, Germany, the United Kingdom, South Korea and Japan lead the world in digitalisation – way ahead of the United States. China’s digital economy accounts for about one-third of its GDP: arising from two components (i) the orthodox ICT industry; and (ii) the digital empowerment of conventional industries (like agriculture, pharmaceutical, transportation, services, etc). This part contributes 75% of what’s digital.

Today, digital technologies have created a new virtual and autonomous economy (VAE) beyond mere production. Here, businesses & their processes make use of intelligent functions to boost economic activities – slowly but surely, they begin to render human activities increasingly obsolete.

The VAE is all about distribution – who gets what from production. This changes everything: from politics to free market beliefs to social structures. It all started in the ‘70s and ‘80s when ICs (tiny “integrated circuit” microchips) brought real computational assistance to the economy – arrival of the personal computer.

Then, the 1900s and 2000s brought in the connection of digital processes through the Internet; web services emerged, and the cloud enlarged computing resources. Everything started to talk to each other. Globalisation arrived. Since then (the 2010s), the onset of wireless networks through the use of a range of sensors brought into focus, data – using tons of data to enable machines to “see” via intelligent algorithms.

So, came computer vision (ability of machines to recognise), natural-language processing (ability of computers to “talk”), digital language translation, face and voice recognition, inductive inference and digital assistance. The use of masses of data to form “associations” began to give “life” to computers (beginning to act like humans), making them “intelligent.”

The new intelligent building blocks – using information, enable digitalisation to re-architect the way businesses do things. As a result, entirely new industries (never even thought of) will spring up.

Lost jobs

In 1930, Lord John Maynard Keynes predicted that by 2030, the use of robots will lead to “technological unemployment”. This is now a reality – 10 years ahead! Jobs get increasingly scarce.

The orthodox economy will have by now produced enough for all. In the new VAE, physical production matters less; access to what’s being produced becomes key – distribution, i.e. who gets what! The new distributive era brings new economic and social realities: (i) belief in free markets (which prize efficiency over distribution) will be under pressure, since losers are rarely fully compensated in practice; (ii) the way to measure growth will also change (since GDP and productivity are now measured in terms of physical production) so that virtual advances in value-added will be properly accounted; (iii) workers feel disenfranchised as digitalisation replaces many of them – creating a quiet anger about immigration, inequality and elitists.

5G

US dominated 4G mainly because regulators got out of the way of private risk-takers. This led to the coming of mobile wireless Internet. Europe and Asia are still smarting over the United States having beaten them to the 4G finish line. By 2016,4G added almost US$100bil annually to American economic output and created numerous wireless-related jobs. It also powered the rise of the “app economy” because tools like Uber, Airbnb, Netflix and Waze require superfast mobile speeds to work.

Most apps weren’t even envisioned a decade ago; now nearly three-quarters of the companies in the global app economy are American. Other countries know they will reap massive economic returns if they knock the US off its perch as the 5G economy unfolds. Indeed, Europe and Asia are poised to surge past the US when it comes to mobile Internet innovation.

The next generation mobile broadband or 5G will allow entrepreneurs to create new technologies and products that we don’t even yet know we need. Ten years ago, most consumers didn’t have a smart phone; now most can’t live without them.

All of this happened thanks to 4G. With 5G, mobile speeds could be 100 times faster. This could enable driverless cars to avoid accidents, transform medicine through implanted medical devices, and produce smarter cities and energy grids through the emerging IoT.

Countries that build their 5G networks first will be in a better position to experiment with and deploy tomorrow’s technologies. Their first-to-market advantage could displace Silicon Valley and other US tech cradles. Already the United States is very much behind compared with Europe, South Korea, Japan and China. Since 2015, China has built about 350,000 cell sites, against fewer than 30,000 in the United States. That’s a huge competitive disparity because 5G requires far more cell sites grouped closer together than 4G.

The robot is part of a broader trend in China, where techcos are teaming up with a variety of industries – agriculture, auto-mobile, healthcare – to explore the possibilities of combining 5G and AI to revolutionise traditional sectors.

From conducting the world’s first 5G-enabled surgery on a human and transmitting 8K ultra-high-definition TV content through 5G networks, to piloting self-driving buses and cars, China is pioneering cutting-edge technologies for commercial use. The high-tech push is expected to accelerate now that China just kicked off the 5G era at speeds at least 10 times faster than 4G. So it is possible to gather high-quality data quickly, which is necessary to ensure AI is effective. AI applications have existed before the commercial use of 5G. But it is the superfast speed, gigantic computing capacity and massive device connectivity of 5G that will spawn the use of AI in most sectors and on a far larger scale. 5G’s responsive speed can empower mission-critical applications that are impossible with 4G networks.

When a needle pinches your finger, it takes one-hundredth of a second to feel the pain. And theoretical latency of 5G is one-tenth of that. Only with such speed can remote surgeries and autonomous driving see wider applications. In March 2019, a patient with Parkinson’s disease underwent China’s (and possibly the world’s) first 5G-based remote surgery. Digital technologies such as AI, next-generation network security, robotics, blockchain, IoT, 3D printing and virtual reality all depend on data. 5G addresses this need for data collection with its quick, smooth transmission.

The most important use of AI is to allow machines to automatically make decisions. The best application is self-driving vehicles where 5G will allow decisions to be made more reliably. When a car runs into emergencies (like a pedestrian suddenly jaywalking), a delay in seconds of data transmission among sensors equipped within the car will likely cause a potentially grievous, even fatal, accident. 5G can prevent such things from happening.

6G

While 5G is set to have a revolutionary influence on society and industries, 6G will bring more dramatic changes with super high speeds and ultralow latency. Theoretically, downloads over 6G can reach the astonishing speed of 1 Tbit per second, one thousand times faster than 5G’s capability of 1Gbit. In the 6G era, in less than a second, a new movie can be transmitted from the Internet to computers or smartphones. But 6G will go way beyond entertainment. For many researchers, 6G is capable of addressing some of the shortfalls of 5G and enabling streamlined connections with super performance in speeds and latency – for instance, the IoT and augmented reality.

Beijing started preliminary work on 6G research at the end of 2017. China’s 6G concept research and development work will start in 2020, with an expected commercial release in 2030. In Europe, 6G moves will mainly come from Finland. As I see it, Europe and China will need to join hands to work on 6G: because (a) cooperation is of strategic importance for both. 6G will greatly improve applications under 5G. With larger bandwidth, much lower latency and wider connections, it can revolutionise the structure of wired and wireless networks.

New 6G technical solutions can include satellite communication technology. This means a large number of places that are not covered by communication signals (for instance, deep oceans where base stations cannot be built) will have the possibility of transmitting and receiving signals in the future; (b) such cooperation will help Europe cope with the risks of lagging behind; and (c) it would be a natural extension of their proven 5G cooperation.


What then are we to do

The 5G technology promises to be the backbone of tomorrow’s Internet, transforming virtually every industry, including weaponry and manufacturing, by offering seamless wireless connections up to 100 times faster than current 4G networks. Its speed and capacity enable innovations, such as driverless cars, robot-run factories and Internet-connected pacemakers. It is said often enough that we tend to overstate the impact of technology in the short run and understate it in the long run.

One of the widely misquoted statistics concerns an imminent job apocalypse: automation will slash 47% of US jobs by mid-2030. In truth, the real finding of the two Oxford dons simply concluded that occupations accounting for 47% of current American jobs (including those in office administration, sales and various service industries) fall into the “high risk” category.

No attempt was made to estimate how many jobs will actually be lost. Much depends on cost, regulatory concerns, political pressure and social resistance. Historically, new technologies have always ended up creating more jobs than they destroyed. In the long run, all should work out fine. The short term is likely to be bumpy.

Simply because new technologies take time to raise productivity and produce wage gains. But, one thing is certain, automation is likely to boost inequality in the short run. So, policymakers need to really manage the transition: making greater use of insurance to compensate workers who have to move to jobs with lower salary; reforming education systems and support retraining and lifelong learning; extending income tax credit to improve incentives to work and reduce inequality; removing regulations that hinder job-switching; providing “mobility vouchers” to subsidise relocation as the distribution of jobs changes; and changing zoning rules to allow more people to live in the cities where jobs are being created. Sure, all these make sense. But will policymakers pay attention? To be frank, governments are incredibly unprepared for what’s to come.

The bottom line? Power brings with it great responsibility. Those in the technology and AI space have a moral imperative to ensure the ethics of data and technology – especially to help policymakers navigate complex ethical issues involved in using AI and robotics.

Most data relate to people – hence, the need to understand human behaviour. Technologies provoke a whole raft of new ethical issues involving transparency and accountability of business processes and decision making. Then, there are issues of privacy and rights connected with personal data. Not to forget that machine-learning algorithms often introduce bias.

Resolving them requires an approach grounded in ethics and an understanding of the causes of bias – traditionally the province of philosophy and sociology. In the end, the challenge lies in formulating transparent rules and ethical standards that can be agreed by the large scientific and technology community. That’s always tough!

BY Tan Sri Lin See-Yan who is Research Professor at Sunway University. His new book: Trying Troubled Times Amid Trauma &Tumult, 2017–2019 (Pearson). Feedback is most welcome. The views expressed are the writer’s own.
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China gets into blockchain race with US


Blockchain is perhaps best known for underpinning the operation of
cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, which Beijing may seek to replicate.
PHOTO: REUTERS
One example of the potential application of blockchain technology is a newly launched app by the Communist Party that asks members to explain why they joined and what party loyalty means to them. (Photo: AFP/Greg Baker)

BEIJING: China has launched an ambitious effort to challenge the US dominance in blockchain technology, which it could use for everything from issuing digital money, to streamlining a raft of government services and tracking Communist Party loyalty.

The technology received a crucial endorsement from President Xi Jinping last week, a signal that the government sees blockchain as an integral part of the country’s plan to become a high-tech superpower.

Beijing is the latest in a handful of countries to have adopted a law strictly governing the encryption of data – particularly blockchain technology, which allows the storage and direct exchange of data without going through an intermediary.

Reputedly unfalsifiable, blockchain is a database shared across a network of computers. Once a record has been added to the chain it is almost impossible to change.

It is perhaps best known for underpinning the operation of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin – which Beijing may seek to replicate as it pushes ahead with its plans for a world-leading government-run digital currency.

https://cna-sg-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/q_auto,f_auto/image/12059024/16x9/670/377/9e6b6b9b2b6ec007ae2c9a3107f86991/tI/blockchain-technology-received-a-crucial-endorsement-from-president-xi-jinping-last-week-a-signal-that-the-government-sees-it-as-an-integral-part-of-the-country-s-plan-to-become-a-high-tech-superpower-1572750315390-2.jpg
Blockchain technology received a crucial endorsement from President Xi Jinping last week, a signal

Blockchain technology received a crucial endorsement from President Xi Jinping last week, a signalBlockchain technology received a crucial endorsement from President Xi Jinping last week, a signal that the government sees it as an integral part of the country’s plan to become a high-tech superpower. (Photo: AFP/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)

Although the new law for blockchain “is still rather vague”, the country is clearly one of the most active in terms of regulation, Stanislas Pogorzelski, editor of specialist site Cryptonaute.fr, told AFP.

“China has understood very well that to stay a superpower, you have to be at the forefront of new technologies,” said Pogorzelski.

Blockchain is set to play a key role in many sectors in the future, including digital finance, internet of things, artificial intelligence and 5G.

LESS HUMAN INTERVENTION 

Bitcoin(FX:BTC/USD)Stock market insights from social media

It could also serve to make China’s vast bureaucratic system more efficient.

The official Xinhua news agency said a blockchain-based system had been used for the first time to automatically generate and file an enforcement case in Chinese court against a party who failed to pay damages in a mediation agreement.

With less human intervention, such systems could make judicial enforcement in China “more intelligent and transparent,” the agency said.

Chinese shares jumped this week as investors piled into stocks linked to blockchain, after Xi said China should step up research and development of the technology.

“Blockchain should play a bigger role in strengthening Chinese power in cyberspace, developing the digital economy and promoting socio-economic development,” Xi said.

“The general sentiment of Xi’s comments was simple,” said Anthony Pompliano, who writes a daily cryptocurrency newsletter.

“Blockchain technology is really important for the future and China plans to be the global leader,” Pompliano added.


LOYALTY TEST

According to analyst Kai von Carnap of the Mercator Institute for Chinese Studies, blockchain-backed tools have potential applications that go well beyond improving administrative efficiency in China.

“More interesting will be those targeting party discipline, internal stability and ideological loyalty,” Von Carnap told AFP.

Chinese shares jumped this week as investors piled into stocks linked to blockchain, after Xi said
 https://cna-sg-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/q_auto,f_auto/image/12059022/16x9/670/377/4fa319d4c8e8c12060091d197dfd0249/sF/chinese-shares-jumped-this-week-as-investors-piled-into-stocks-linked-to-blockchain-after-xi-said-china-should-step-up-research-and-development-of-the-technology-1572750315390-3.jpg

Chinese shares jumped this week as investors piled into stocks linked to blockchain, after Xi said China should step up research and development of the technology. (Photo: AFP/Hector Retamal)

One example is a newly launched app by the Communist Party that asks members to explain why they joined and what party loyalty means to them.

Blockchain technology is then used to store their responses on a permanent, widely distributed ledger – recording their thoughts in cyberspace forever.


“NOT A FAN”

As China trumpets its push for more blockchain technology, it is hoping to outpace trade-war rival the United States, whose President Donald Trump tweeted his disdain for cryptocurrencies in July.

“I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” he wrote.

The contrast between the world’s two biggest economies is “striking”, according to Pompliano, who says “bitcoin, blockchain technology, and digital assets are not a priority for America”.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg had to defend his plans to launch a digital coin called Libra to the US Congress in October, after it faced a torrent of criticism from all sides – including governments who see it as a threat to their monetary sovereignty.

“I don’t think Libra will succeed,” Huang Qifan, vice director of the CCIEE, an economic think-tank that advises Beijing, said this week in remarks widely reported by state media.

“It is better … to have sovereign digital currencies issued by a government or a central bank,” he said.

Last year China released a damning report on existing digital currencies, saying they were “increasingly used as a tool in criminal activities.”

But while Beijing banned cryptocurrencies two years ago, it is fast-tracking preparations for its own state-run virtual currency, which is supposed to facilitate transactions and reduce costs.

The anonymity of cryptocurrencies allows users to buy and sell freely without leaving a digital trail – but China’s mooted e-cash system will be tightly regulated, experts say, and run by the People’s Bank of China.

Source: AFP/zl   Source link


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BLOCKCHAIN beyond Bitcoin

Losing faith in reform of Malaysian education system


 

TO put it bluntly, I have lost confidence in our education system.

There were high expectations after the new government came into power after May 9,2018 with

its promises of reforms, and we hoped that our education system would be restored to its previous glory. But after the blunders in the past one-and-half years, I see little hope in Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik turning things around for the better.

I have little choice now but to pull my children out of the national school system despite having to work much harder to afford private education for them.

From my observations, recent developments in the Education Ministry show that Maszlee has little or no experience in running the ministry, which is close to the hearts of all Malaysians.

His suggestion to implement free breakfast for all children will cost millions, if not billions, of ringgit; money that could be used for more meaningful things like upgrading school facilities. After all, not all children will eat their breakfast.

His latest blunder was to propose the abolition of streaming in upper secondary level. When you abolish streaming, you will end up with a rojak curriculum where the children become a jack of all trades but master of none. Their grounding in the sciences or arts would not be strong enough for them to survive their university education.

Already, the national syllabus is rojak at best, with more subjects and topics being introduced every year. I cannot imagine my children having to go through the next 10 years of their education learning things that are not relevant to their future careers.

Just think of a 10-year-old child having to learn two or three languages, Science and Mathematics, plus a host of the other subjects like Health Science, Physical Education, Architecture (reka bentuk), Moral and Civics Education, Information Technology, Arts and Craft, History and Geography. On top of these, there’s Khat and Chinese calligraphy too.

Furthermore, some principals, especially in Chinese schools, are adding to the financial burdens of the parents by asking them to buy more workbooks than allowed by the ministry.

When my son was in Standard Three, I was shocked to see that he had 21 workbooks. When he moved up to Standard Four, he had to go through a total of 440 pages for just one subject, Bahasa Melayu.

By comparison, schools conducting international syllabi such as IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) only require the children to concentrate on four or five subjects. They focus only on the key areas that will help fulfil their prerequisites for a university education while the rest can be learnt as a hobby instead of being taught in a classroom situation.

My plan was to put my children in Chinese primary school so that they could learn the language. This means they would have to struggle with Mandarin in the first six years of their education, Bahasa Malaysia in secondary level and then English when they enter university.

Like it or not, for Malaysia to compete internationally, we still need the international languages that are widely used across the world without, of course, neglecting Bahasa Malaysia or the mother tongues, which have their place in the country.

One reason why many of our graduates are not employable is because they cannot even express themselves properly.

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Fake News and Hard Truths


Balanced views: The print house of the daily newspaper Le Monde in France. When print media and television dominated the distribution of information, media could be trusted to give a balanced view to enable the reader to judge what is correct. — AFP

We live in an information age, or more likely, a disinformation age.

Growing up in a world that worships technology and knowledge, we have now entered a phase when we no longer are able to trust what information we receive is fake news or not. Worse, we don’t know whether the provider of the information is trustworthy or not.

Fake news has many definitions. Basically, fake news are manufactured with an intent to mislead, damage someone or to attract attention to a cause, and gain either financially, politically or higher media attention. Such information could be outright sensational, partial, incomplete, provocative, false or fabricated, with some journalists even paying for leaks or gossips. Today’s fake news also include tampered photographs and videos, or encouraging people to “act” in front of the cameras.

Up until the 1970s, when print media and television dominated the distribution of information, media could be trusted to give balanced views, setting out different sides of the argument to enable the reader to judge what is correct. Newspapers and television channels were rich enough to finance investigative journalism in uncovering the “truth”.

But with the arrival of digital information, these traditional channels lost advertising revenue to social media, so the quality of journalism deteriorated, and in order to attract attention, newspaper and television content became more and more sensational, as well as more biased to one side.

The battle over readership also affected social media, where the value (advertising revenue) of the media outlets depends on their ability to attract viewers and readers.

How important is fake news? When you click “fake news” in Google search, you get 1.48 billion results, versus 380 million for “Jesus Christ”. Trump gets 2 billion, which goes to show how successful he is in social media.

Is fake news damaging and should it be regulated?

Canadian think-tank Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI) conducted an online survey in 25 countries on Internet Security and Trust and found that Facebook was the most commonly cited source of fake news, with 77% of Facebook users saying they had personally seen fake news there, followed by 62% of Twitter users and 74% of social media users in general.

The vast majority think that fake news is made worse by the Internet, with negative impact on their economy and worsened polarisation of views.

Significantly, one-third (35%) pointed to the United States as the country most responsible for the disruptive effect of fake news in their country, trailed significantly by Russia (12%) and China (9%).

There are clearly lots of bad online trolls & social media platforms who act to spread fake news, but it is very difficult to agree on who should regulate fake news and decide what is fake or not. Some people believe in self-policing by the social media platforms, but others want governments to be involved, but are also wary of censorship.

My own view is the apparently spontaneous protests in Hong Kong, Barcelona, Santiago, France, Indonesia and in the Middle East are clearly associated with the rapid spread of social media, including the tools to protest, organise and riot.

What is particularly disturbing is the huge divide of opinions, including violent action to stop the other party from presenting their points of view.

The opposing view is often labelled fake news with even the courts being questioned if they rule against the prevalent views.

Is free speech turbo-charged by social media promoting hate and divisions that increasingly verge on violence and social breakdown?

Australian philosopher Tim Dean has recently questioned whether free speech has failed us?

As he rightly points out, “Free speech is not an absolute good; it is not an end unto itself. Free speech is an instrumental good, one that promotes a higher good: seeking the truth.”

The real problem is that if we do not have facts, we cannot have rational debate on what is truth.

The rule of law works on the principle that if there is dispute in society, it is resolved civilly either through the courts or through the political process. But once violence is involved, the rule of law breaks down.

As Professor Dean says, “free speech only fulfils its truth-seeking function when all agents are speaking in good faith: when they all agree that the truth is the goal of the conversation, that the facts matter, that there are certain standards of evidence and argumentation that are admissible, that speakers have a duty to be open to criticism.”

If however, one side blocks out the opposing view through intimidation, insults, threats, violent action and the wilful spread of misinformation, then civil discourse disappears, as does the rule of law.

This is clearly the age not of information but of anger. As a result of financial capitalism, huge inequalities have been allowed to fester, breaking down rational discourse, engendering distrust of the establishment and old order, and pushing hate and divisions.

Should we allow social media to turbo-charge this process, not of healing but polarisation?

Singapore takes step to regulate fake news

The Singaporean government has taken the bold step of regulating fake news through the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma), which came into effect this month. Under the act, the Singapore government can take action on false information on the Internet, either ordering that it be taken down, corrected or order technology companies to block accounts that are spreading untruths.

A wise friend told me that we are actually living in a fractured generational divide. The old wants to maintain the old order of stability. The young thinks that this is rigged against them and want to change the system that they will inherit. But something is seriously wrong when school children think that it is right to throw petrol bombs and that it is cool to beat up policemen and anyone that they think stand in their way.

For even reputable channels such as the BBC to start glorifying such action, one wonders whether fake news has truly won.

Andrew Sheng for Asia News Network

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Home Ministry bans B&RI comic book too quick. Is it really that dangerous?


Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad giving the comic book to China’s President Xi Jinping as a gift.

Image

Penang DAP chief defends ‘Superman’ Hew’s banned pro-China comic books

Ban on 'Belt and Road Initiative for Win Winism' too quick — ChowGEORGE TOWN, Oct 25 — The Home Ministry was hasty in banning former DAP member Hew Kuan Yau’s Belt and Road Initiative for Win-Winism comic as communist propaganda, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said today.

“The authorities need to look at the real intentions behind the comic and look at it in detail before banning it,” the Penang DAP chief said in a press conference today.

He said the authorities initially wanted to invite historians to scrutinise the comic book but banned it as communist propaganda before this could be done.

Chow suggested there was ulterior motives in the swift ban.

“They should have asked experts to review the comic and get their views before banning it,” he said.

Chow said authorities should consider that Hew wanted to introduce China as an alternative to the US as a global superpower.

He noted that aside from curating for the Asia Comic Cultural Museum, Hew had also been the chief executive officer of the Malaysia China Business Council.

Chow claimed China was misunderstood politically and Hew meant only to highlight the country’s economic success.

He further claimed that China has thousands of self-made billionaires who made their fortunes through socialism despite being a superficially communist state.

“It was his intention to give an alternative introduction to China regarding its economic development,” he said.

The Home Ministry officially banned the comic as it was deemed to be inappropriate as it promotes “communism and socialism” as well as spreading confusing facts” on its struggle here in the country.

When asked about the state government’s financial support for the Asia Comic Cultural Museum, Chow said the museum itself was not banned.

He also said the museum did not belong to the state government, which only supported it by paying for its rental.

“The museum was set up in 2016 and chose to set up in ICT Mall at Level Two of Komtar during a time when the state government was taking steps to rejuvenate Komtar,” he said.

He said at the time, the state government was bringing in businesses to Komtar including The Top, ICT Mall and Tech Dome, and the state decided to support the museum when it chose to move there.

“It is a tourism product that is unique in Malaysia and even Asia, it is a comic museum that promotes creativity and animation where various events were held by famous comic artists there,” he said.

He said this was the reason why the state decided to collaborate with the museum by paying for their rental but stated that the state did not fund the exhibits or infrastructure in the museum.

“We only support in terms of rental and the rental goes to Penang Development Corporation, this is the only link between the state and the museum,” he said.

He said the state has an agreement with the museum to support it until December 2020.

The issue of the state’s support for the museum was discussed at the state exco meeting this morning, he added.



But is it really that dangerous?

Titled Belt & Road Initiative for Win-Winism, the comic book was a collaboration between a curator from the Asian Comic Cultural Museum Hew Kuan Yau and Malaysian comic artist, Tomato.

Unless you’ve been living under a coconut shell, you would’ve probably heard of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

It’s a strategy by the economic powerhouse to take over the world. Business wise that is, through investments and development in a whopping 152 countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas.

Malaysia has had some investments flowing in from the country through the development of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).

A super problem.

The curator of the museum, Hew, also known as Superman Hew, is a member of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) which forms part of the current Malaysian government.

Hew has been known for his vocal pro-China views. Although he no longer holds leadership positions in the party, he is still very much active as a member.

For Malay-Muslim hardliners, DAP is seen as a pro-Chinese party who is out to get them. The comic issue blew up because former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak took to social media to quiz if the comic was a form of propaganda.

mej PM ke-7 turut digunakan sebagai bahan promosi untuk penjualan dalam talian komik propaganda DAP.

Najib also uploaded several images among which featured current Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad showcasing the comic to Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

Chinese propaganda?

China's economy has surpassed America's — and that's OK

China’s economy has surpassed America’s — and that’s OK
China is fast growing, economically.

The comic was not sold in news stands or bookstores unlike others. Instead, it was apparently distributed in several schools.

What’s more, these books were sent to school libraries for free. This prompted Malaysian Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik to ban the comic books in schools.

Critics of the ruling government claimed that the comic was used as a propaganda tool to brainwash the younger generation. The opposition’s call to debate the comic was also recently dismissed.

This led the Malaysian Home Ministry to announce a total ban of the comic on the grounds that it could “endanger public order and security” and “distort the mind of the public”.


But should it have been banned?



The cover of the comic depicts Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Chinese premier Xi Jinping. IMAGE: The Edge Markets

Not really as Malaysians have the freedom to read the comic book, according to renowned local cartoonist Zunar.

“Until today, I haven’t read the whole content of the comic. Personally, I may or may not agree with the content, but I am strongly against the banning of the comic,” he said in a statement to Free Malaysia Today.

Zunar, who has had his own cartoons banned during Najib’s rule, said he agree that distributing the comic in schools was uncalled for. But Malaysians are capable of making their own decisions.

“The principle is simple: ‘Cartoons and comics are a matter of interpretation. If you do not agree with the content, no problem. But do not use your interpretation as a law to ban it. Don’t like? Don’t read!”

Hew and others are currently being investigated by the police in their involvement of producing the comic book and distributing some 2,500 copies in schools. 

Read more:

 

 

All you need to know about China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative

 

 

 

Maritime Silk Road, China Sea Silk Road – China Highlights

 

‘How did comic book end up with Xi?’

 

 

Worst yet to come?

 

 

Superman Hew resigns as MCBC chief over comic book saga …

 

 

Penang museum raided and comic books seize

 

 

 

 

Historians to be roped in for comic book  probe

 

 

‘Only comic banned, not museum’

 
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