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A liberal and creative Malaysia?

“[‘Push factors’] in some countries of origin have also unfortunately played a part, including a lack of intellectual liberties and fair economic opportunities.

“To reverse the brain drain into a brain gain, we need to create the right liberal ecosystem and to stimulate creativity. There should also be a fair ecosystem to reward and encourage hard work in our society.”

DEPUTY Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin speaking at the sixth World Islamic Economic Forum.

He was tackling the topic of brain drain from Muslim countries, citing research that over the last 50 years, many Muslim intellectuals and professionals had left for better opportunities in the West. A third of this diaspora comprised hundreds of thousands from the Arab world, he said. Muhyiddin said Muslims were leaving for developed countries because of conducive immigration laws and other pull factors which attracted intellectuals. (Source: Right ecosystem needed to curb brain drain, New Straits Times, 19 May 2010)

Marrying foreigners

“Kegagalan perkahwinan disebabkan perbezaan budaya, agama dan cara seseorang itu dibesarkan di khalayak negara masing-masing.”

“Cuma, kebanyakan perkahwinan lebih didasarkan kepada ‘asmara pendek’, maknanya apabila sudah melalui satu tempoh singkat, masing-masing akan menyorot balik tuntutan budaya dan agama pada sudut khalayak di mana dia dilahirkan.”

Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim advising people to “think a thousand times” before marrying a foreigner or someone from another culture. He was asked to comment on news of marital conflict between local actress Maya Karin and her English husband

Besides commenting on cultural and religious differences that would strain a marriage, Rais also said mixed marriages where the husband was a foreigner would result in the husband facing legal difficulties obtaining Malaysian permanent residency. This patriarchal and gender-biased approach practiced by Malaysian immigration which favours Malaysian men with foreign wives has long been criticised, but there has been no legal reform. (Source: Waspada kahwin campur, Utusan Malaysia, 26 Feb 2010)

Students and politics

“If we are not allowed to be in Hulu Selangor because of a by-election there, are we expected to leave the country during the next general election?”

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) student Abdullah Omar expressing anger over the charging of four of his university mates for breaching the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971. The four are Muhammad Hilman Idham, Muhammad Ismail Aminuddin, Azlin Shafina Mohamad Adzha and Woon King Chai, all political science students who allegedly campaigned in the Hulu Selangor by-election. They have faced the UKM disciplinary council and are to be charged in court in early June. (Source: Vexed student rep: Come GE, do we flee?, Free Malaysia Today, 18 May 2010)

“It is common for political science students to attend election campaigns, just like medical students who go to hospitals.”

UKM student Muhammad Hilman, who will be charged for political campaigning next month.  (Source: Students urge UKM to drop charges, Malaysiakini, 18 May 2010)

“I believe headmasters and teachers know best whom they want as head prefect. So, there is no need for elections.”

“Criteria such as leadership qualities, personality and elements of responsibility must be there. Selection should not be based simply on popularity. We should revert to the old way of doing this; go back to the basics”

Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom commenting on the ban on school prefect elections. He said it was enough that a school’s head prefect was chosen by a committee, headmasters and teachers. The ban was reportedly issued by Muhyiddin after news that some schools had held elections for their head prefect.

(Source: It’s leadership that counts, New Straits Times, 1 Mar 2010)

We held it because we wanted to expose the students to the country’s election system. Our objective is to boost the confidence of the students when they campaign for themselves during the school assembly. It was also meant to spark their creativity as they had to come up with their own posters.”

Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Raja Tun Uda principal Wan Lijah Wan Daud on why her school had held prefect elections. She said the polls were conducted with the Election Commission’s help and were only a mock exercise to teach students.

(Source: HM: Prefect election was meant to educate students, The Star, 2 Mar 2010)

Islamic crime and punishment

“Our target is that when the community, Islamic scholars, law practitioners, prison, police, civil courts and other related parties finally come to a consensus, we will increase the punishment.”

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Maj-Gen (R) Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom on plans by government institutions to stiffen syariah punishments. He said syariah penalties were commonly seen as too light and limited to imposing fines. Whipping, on the other hand, was rarely imposed. He said the move was pending studies by a law technical committee under the Islamic Development Department (Jakim). (Source: Punishment for Syariah crime may be increased, The Malaysian Insider, 23 Apr 2010)

“They have all repented. They are also hoping that others will not go against the teachings of the religion.”

“I hope there will be no more issues arising from the caning sentence which can be imposed by the Syariah Court on Muslim women to protect the sanctity of Islam.”

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein on the first time three Muslim women were caned in Malaysia for illicit sex under syariah law. Two of the women were given six strokes and the third four strokes. Hishammuddin said he brought the caning to public attention because of the public debate over a similar sentence on Kartika Dewi Shukarno for consuming alcohol. But in Kartika’s case, the furore has led to her caning sentence being commuted to community service. (Source: 3 women caned for having illicit sex, The Star, 18 Feb 2010)

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3 Responses to “A liberal and creative Malaysia?”

  1. Farouq Omaro says:

    Jamil Khir Baharom is commenting on something which is within the jurisdiction of the state governments. Did God appoint him?

  2. I'd be anonymous this time says:

    Liberal and creative Malaysia? Then why the brain drain? I am a qualified surgeon who has paid back my sponsors many years ago. When I left for my studies in early 1990’s Malaysia was a different country. Here are my reasons for staying away, for now:

    1. The rise of Malay [Malaysian] chauvinism: I am Malay [Malaysian] by MyKad and hence should be at home and take advantage of my special privileges. How can I do so when every success I may have will be stained with “Easy-lah for you being Malay [Malaysian]”. No matter how good I am I will never be considered so by my non-Malay [Malaysian] colleagues. Malay special privileges is a double-edged sword.

    2. It is all about one’s race: I find every discussion, every action is along racial lines. Take the attempt by MPPJ to ban dogs from certain areas of public parks sometime ago. There was a hue and cry from the Chinese [Malaysian] community saying that MPPPJ was not being culturally sensitive. It was a public health issue. When Kimma supported the government stance on Allah issue, there was a howl that all keai mamak should be boycotted. Racial blinkers stifle all rational views.

    3. Creeping so-called Islamisation: The micro-management of people’s lives by religious bodies is hardly contributing to a ‘liberal and creative’ Malaysia. The monolithic Islam in Malaysia does not allow for freedom of conscience.

    4. The failure of human development: Despite the first world infrastructure (well, in KL anyway) the mentality is worse than primeval (I don’t want to insult the third world). Malaysians abuse migrant workers, rape the environment, treat wild animals as mere entertainment (Sunway Lagoon) and while high in self-congratulatory mode of their economic success, forget the Orang Asli, the Penan, and the poor in general.

    5. Foreign spouse limbo: Yes, I am one of those, too.

  3. Want to Migrate! says:

    Dear I’d be anonymous this time,

    Thank you for listing out all the reasons for migrating and contributing to the ‘brain drain’. Those were my exact thoughts. I can’t wait to leave! I have given up on this country.

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