Categorised | Found in Translation

PKR, EPF, single school system

For the week of 29 Nov to 5 Dec, the Chinese media highlighted Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)’s congress, forms for Employees Provident Fund (EPF) members to maintain their contribution at 11%, and the reactions towards Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir’s proposal for a single education system to promote unity.

PKR congress

On 1 Dec, Lum Chih Feng’s analysis in Oriental Daily, titled PKR congress out of focus, said the congress did not discuss the party’s failed bid to take over the federal government. The congress, instead, focused on internal issues and relations with Pakatan Rakyat, without taking into consideration the national political landscape.

Lum noted that in this “out of focus” congress, delegates merely discussed party politics and missed broader issues such as the global financial crisis, economic slowdown and other education and political issues.

The congress was poised to be the center of attraction because everyone was waiting for PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to clarify the reasons for the failed takeover on 16 Sept, and the announcement of a new takeover plan.

Lum said, “The content of the debate lacked depth and did not mention much about the current political environment, such as the transition of power from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. The delegates also did not urge Anwar to announce new takeover plans.”

When asked by reporters, PKR strategy director Saifuddin Nasution admitted, “This is the quality of our delegates, this is the real situation, we cannot control nor restrict their speech. You (reporters) came with preconceived notions that the congress will focus on [discussing the] takeover. Once we do not discuss it, you perceive the congress as out of focus.”

Saifuddin further noted that there is common understanding among the delegates to leave the takeover plans to Anwar, hence it was not mentioned during the debate.

Besides that, delegates who took part in the debate also reminded the leadership to not be intoxicated by the victory at the 8 March 2008 general election.

EPF contribution

Guang Ming Daily‘s 2 Dec editorial titled Why the unnecessary move? reported that despite many opposing voices, the EPF went ahead with its decision to make members who wish to maintain their employee’s monthly contribution rate at 11% to submit a form for this.

Under the RM7 billion stimulus plan introduced to help the country face the global economic slowdown, employees can choose to reduce their EPF contribution to 8% from January 2009 to December 2010.

By doing so, the government hopes to boost domestic consumption amid rising prices in the market. According to projections, the three-percentage-point reduction in contribution would be able to inject RM4.8 billion into the market if 5.6 million active EPF members were to participate in this measure.

The editorial admitted that reducing employees’ contribution to increase cash flow in the market is acknowledged by economists as a feasible way to stimulate the economy.

However, the main opposition to this measure lies in the government’s insistence that members who want to maintain the rate at 11% have to go through the hassle of filling in a form.

The editorial also questioned whether the reduction in EPF contribution will really help the public.

A widely forwarded email saying reduced EPF contributions would increase income tax has left many doubtful. The argument was later proven by taxation experts that a reduction of three percentage points in EPF contribution will increase the amount of taxable income.

“As of now, EPF members who wish to maintain 11% contribution are still forced to fill in the “KWSP17A (AHL)-Khas” form by 31 Dec. However the government can no longer ignore the wishes of the people. Acting stubbornly will only taint the government’s image and public trust,” said the editorial.

Single school system

On 1 Dec, Kwong Wah Yit Poh reported on MCA Youth chief Wee Ka Siong’s reaction to Mukhriz’s proposal for a single education system to promote unity.

Wee strongly opposed Mukhriz’s argument that the vernacular education system is the cause of racial polarisation.

“Language is not the only element in achieving national unity. Respect, tolerance, and understanding are more important in achieving racial harmony,” Wee said.

Wee, who is also Deputy Education Minister, pointed out that the sheer number of non-Chinese studying in Chinese and Tamil schools proved that these schools do not accept students based on race. The schools also help to nurture tens of thousands of good citizens annually.

Wee said in the report, “Mukhriz’s statement not only failed to reflect the reality but has also generalised racial issues, and this is regrettable.”

“When many countries are talking about the concept of inclusion, many advanced western countries are allowing their minorities to uphold their right to mother tongue education. As a multi-racial society, Malaysia should treasure its diversity, making it an asset to the country,” he said.

He advised everyone, especially politicians, to be responsible in their speech and not to simply make statements that would hurt the people’s feelings. TNG

Trained as a linguist, Leong Lai Ming is now working for a local social research firm. She believes everybody has a place in the world.

Post to Twitter Post to Google Buzz Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to StumbleUpon

3 Responses to “PKR, EPF, single school system”

  1. FY Lam says:


    The bulk of EPF contributors comes from the private sector who depend on this savings after their retirement. This reduction in EPF contribution actually goes against the objectives why the EPF was set up. Who will be responsible for the individual’s welfare once he or she retires especially when Malaysia is not a welfare state?

    Single school system

    The single most important factor in causing racial disunity is not language but politics.

    The question in every one’s mind is why after 50 years of independence racial polarisation is at its worst state? This shows that the government is not committed towards forging racial unity. Actions such as declaring your racial origins on most government agencies forms ; quotas even in public and private housing and university and college admissions; delineation of political constituencies based largely on race demographics; premier schools admission, police; army and public service admission and promotions, and many more glaring race-based issues.

    Additionally, when certain segments of society who raised dubious race-based issues were not nipped in the bud by the top leaders in the government, this caused more suspicions among minority races. Then the police seems to have taken sides in this which, by convention, they should remain apolitical.

    All the above are not conducive to forge a strong and united country.

    Politicians are using race and religious-based issues to further their political ends. This must be put to a stop once and for all.

    After all, in pre-Merdeka and the 1960s, all the races attended the same school, drank and ate in the same coffee shop, attended to injured players on the playing field like your own brothers and sisters and, most important of all,
    shared the joy of winning and cried together when losing. This is the real fabric of a truly united race and nation where we knew no colour separation among us.

    This is what I called a genuine and truly united Malaysia.

  2. Justitia says:

    Having primary schools which teach in Mandarin and Tamil is one of the main contributing factors in Malaysia becoming more and more racially polarised. It is disingenuous to say otherwise. Statistics show that the majority of Chinese children are in primary schools that teach in Mandarin (national type schools), while the overwhelming majority of Malay children go to national schools.

    So by the time they all get to secondary schools, most of the students have formed ethnically stereotypical ideas of their fellow Malaysians. It’s next to impossible to break those stereotypes down then.

  3. Eric says:

    Vernacular schools (SJKC, SJKT) are probably an issue, just like all exclusionary institutions (Mara, BTN, NEP, etc.). But the most disruptive by far are definitely racist (note: not race-based) parties: Umno, MCA and MIC. Can Ah Chong and Selvi join the first one? Can Zul and Rajaratnam join the second one? Can Noraini and Mei Mei join the third one? Nope, due to ethnic restrictions, this is the definition of racism, isn’t it?

    By the way, Zul and Noraini can put their kids in SJKC and SJKT if they so wish. As more and more do.

Most Read in Found in Translation

Most Read (Past 3 Months)

Most Comments (Past 3 Months)

  • None found




  • The Nut Graph


Switch to our mobile site