• Datin Seri Rosmah should save taxpayers’ money and go to Singapore to learn how to get more Malaysians into Oxbridge rather than travel to the United Kingdom

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang, on the 16th of August, 2017[1]

    Datin Seri Rosmah should save taxpayers’ money and go to Singapore to learn how to get more Malaysians into Oxbridge rather than travel to the United Kingdom

    Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the wife of the Prime Minister, received much criticism for a trip she took to the United Kingdom earlier this month. In response, Rosmah said that her trip to the UK, including a visit to the University of Oxford, was not for a holiday but to ‘pave the way for children under the PERMATA early childhood education program to join the university’.[2] If PERMATA is under budget constraints, as claimed by Rosmah[3], I suggest that instead of visiting the United Kingdom, she can take a trip across the border to Singapore to learn how the top institutions there help their high achieving students to get into Oxbridge.

    The latest statistics show that there are currently 290 Singaporean students at the University of Oxford as compared to only 145 Malaysians. At the University of Cambridge, there are currently 351 Singaporean students compared to 239 Malaysians. (See Table 1 below)

    Table 1: Number of Singaporean and Malaysian students at the University of Cambridge and Oxford (Undergraduates and Postgraduates)[4]

    Oxford Cambridge 2016/17
    Singaporeans 290 351
    Malaysians 145 239

    Sources: https://www.ox.ac.uk/about/international-oxford/oxfords-global-links/asia-south-east/asia-south-east-country-statistics?wssl=1#content-item–6 (Oxford), http://www.prao.admin.cam.ac.uk/data-analysis-planning/student-numbers/snapshot-nationalitydomicile (Cambridge)

    Singapore sends 9 times more students to Oxbridge[5] than Malaysia on a per capita basis. Given Singapore’s success in sending so many more students to Oxbridge than Malaysia, it would make sense for Rosmah to visit Singapore to learn more about the ‘secrets’ of their success. She would just need to visit the top 5 ‘A’ level institutions in Singapore – Raffles Institution, Hwa Chong Institution, Victoria Junior College, Temasek Junior College and National Junior College – which are responsible for sending most of Singaporean students to Oxbridge (as well as a number of Malaysians). If she did, she would find the following:

    1) High academic achievements across the board

    In most schools, only a handful of students, perhaps the top 5%, would get 4As for their STPM. Those with 4.0 CGPAs are even rarer. In a top A level college like Raffles Institution, the percentage of students in a cohort with the equivalent of 4As was 53% for the class of 2016[6] (629 out of 1162 students). Basically, if you were to throw a stone into a crowd of students in this school, you would have a more than 50% chance of hitting someone who scored 4As.

    Having a larger number of academic high achievers means that you have a larger pool of students who can potentially apply to places like Oxford and Cambridge. While we can discuss whether or not academic results are the best reflection of intellectual potential, there is no escaping from the need to have good academic results to gain entry into Oxbridge. Offers from Oxbridge are usually given to students contingent on them obtaining a certain academic result. Most entry offers are contingent of students obtaining 3As or 4As for their A levels (or the equivalent).

    The question which Rosmah has to answer, as the patron of PERMATA, is how many of its pre-university students obtain straight As for the A level exams (or its equivalent)? What does PERMATA need to do in order to reach similar academic standards as the top pre-university institutions in Singapore?

    2) Exposure to Various Intellectual Challenges

    Students in these top A level institutions in Singapore are given opportunities to expand their intellectual horizons beyond their normal academic syllabus. Students who show greater aptitude in certain subjects such as Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography and Informatics, are given the training and the opportunity to compete for selection into the Singapore team for Olympiad competitions at the international level. The Olympiad infrastructure which exists at the school[7] and national[8] levels has allowed Singapore to improve its performance in these international student competitions over time. For example, Singapore has placed in the Top 10 in the International Math Olympiad since 2011.[9] Many of the students who participate in these Olympiads will go on to gain entry into top universities around the world, including Oxbridge.

    The exposure to various intellectual opportunities goes beyond training and participating in Olympiad competitions, which are only open to a relatively small number of students. Students who show interest in other fields, including the arts, public policy, scientific research and information technology have access to specialist programs in these fields.[10]

    In addition, students who want to gain exposure to university standard courses can opt to take H3 level papers for their A-levels (This is an addition to their ‘normal’ A level papers which are called H2 level papers). Students who take H3 level papers are better prepared to ask more insightful and critical questions in their field of studies which would also help them when writing essays and answering questions during interviews for Oxbridge entry.

    This is perhaps one of the intentions of Permata Pintar’s Nobelist Mindset program which is a program to give Malaysian students a sense of what it takes to have the mindset of a Nobel Prize winner.[11] But from the following description of the Nobelist Mindset program, we have a long way to go in terms of producing graduates who can write proper sentences in English, let alone Nobel Prize winners:

    “This workshop was held for 5 days at the PERMATApintar Center. Students are divided into 12 groups and will be taught by two instructors in the classroom. Students will learn and be exposed sciences to become a scientist and features a prize winner. The workshop was also attended by the students of the boarding school from the outside (SBP, BPT, SKK and so on. The highlight is the selection of students and Young Scientist who managed to qualify for Londo trip. The trip to London was to provide an opportunity for participants to visit special laboratories relating Nobel there.”

    3) Having well-trained Academic Councillors

    Gaining admissions into a top overseas university is not as simple as merely getting good academic results. It requires well-written application essays which can make you stand out from the crowd. It requires good reference letters from credible sources. It requires extra preparation for Oxbridge courses which require subject exams. It requires knowing what questions to anticipate and how to converse with professors from Oxbridge during interviews. Most of the top A level institutions in Singapore have well-trained academic councillors whose full-time jobs are to help students prepare their applications to these top universities.[12] This is one of the reasons cited as to why Raffles came out top in terms of number of students accepted into Cambridge.[13]

    As far as I know, PERMATA Pintar does not have any full-time academic councilors to help guide students on their higher education options. The closest item I found was a research mentoring program whereby a student can be mentored by a UKM academic in an area of his or her interest.[14]

    4) Having well-qualified and well-trained teachers

    Many of the teachers in these top institutions are Ministry of Education teaching scholarship holders. This means that they were sponsored by the Ministry of Education to study overseas before coming back to Singapore to teach. Some of them have studied in top overseas universities including Oxbridge. There are also expatriate teachers in these top A level institutions with experience in teaching in some of the top secondary schools overseas including schools in the UK which send a high number of students to Oxbridge.

    Does PERMATA have a similar cohort of teaching staff who can create the right academic environment for the geniuses who are studying at PERMATA? Do the staff have the right experiences which can help these students to not just do well academically but create a mindset among the students which can enable them to apply to some of the top universities overseas including Oxbridge? The evidence does not seem to confirm this.

    The onus is on PERMATA to create a high achieving environment for its high IQ students. The environment at PERMATA should be one where high performers are created across the board. The last thing we would want is for places at Oxbridge to be ‘bought’ in exchange for visits and special donations to Oxford or Cambridge by Malaysian dignitaries such as Rosmah.

    Rosmah does not have to take a contingent of 30 or more people to the United Kingdom to help future generations of PERMATA students gain entry into Oxbridge. She should just go across the border to Singapore with a few of the PERMATA top management and teachers. If she wants to save even more money, she should visit some of the top A level colleges in Malaysia which routinely send many students to Oxbridge including KYUEM, Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar (KTJ), Methodist College, Taylors College and INTEC Education College in Shah Alam.  Then she wouldn’t have to ask her husband, Prime Minister Najib for more funding for PERMATA.

    Ultimately, regardless of the number of overseas trips which Rosmah takes, on behalf of PERMATA, I’m not sure if she will learn a much more basic lesson – which is that programs for ‘gifted’ students such as PERMATA cannot be the launchpad to promote one individual’s agenda or to make one person look good but must be built on strong institutional foundations in order to make the program sustainable and successful.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] Disclosure: Dr. Ong Kian Ming did his ‘O’ levels in Raffles Institution and his ‘A’ levels in what was then Raffles Junior College under the Asean scholarship

    [2] https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/391057

    [3] https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/391059

    [4] These figures may underestimate the number of Oxbridge entries the Singapore education system is responsible for since some of the Malaysians who go to Oxbridge also studied in Singapore.

    [5] Abbreviation for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge

    [6] https://rafflespress.com/2017/02/24/a-level-results-2017-rafflesian-excellence/

    [7] https://rafflesmatholympiad.wordpress.com/programme/

    [8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore_Mathematical_Olympiad,

    [9] https://www.imo-official.org/results.aspx

    [10] http://www.ri.edu.sg/#Page/RafflesProgram-36/

    [11] http://www.programpermata.my/en/pintar/nobelist

    [12] http://www.ri.edu.sg/#Page/Student-45/ for Raffles Institution; http://www.hci.edu.sg/advantage/future-after-hci/tertiary-education for Hwa Chong Institution; https://sites.google.com/a/vjc.sg/the-vjc-scholarships-guide/scholarship-programme-at-vjc for Victoria Junior College.

    [13] https://www.crimsoneducation.org/au/blog/cambridge-acceptance-rates-schools

    [14] http://www.programpermata.my/resources/download/RESEARCH-MENTORING-PROGRAM-2013.pdf

  • 希望联盟将向马来亚铁道公司及旗下的工人提供更公平的协议





    (i) 这提供了政府一个方便之门,好让朋党多了一个途径来来侵蚀马来亚铁道公司的核心业务,包括占其收入的42%的运费和运输生意(举例:2015财政年度中16亿令吉的2.16亿令吉)。

    (ii) 这将进一步地增加马来亚铁道公司的运营成本,因为铁路资产机构将徵收使用车厢的费用。

    (iii) 铁路资产机构旗下的38名员工并没有任何职权来正确管理其资产,包括维护车厢和铁路轨道。因此,这些工作极有可能会被外包给其他的朋党公司。

    由于低廉的门票价格和昂贵的采购合同,马来亚铁道公司在2009年至2015年期间就因无法操作的自动收费系统(AFC) 而累积了高达8.55亿令吉的亏损。[2] 这导致了时任的马来亚铁道公司主席沙比尼(Sarbini Tijan)最近被勒令休假,以便接受涉及数百万令吉采购交易的内部调查。[3]



    1) 废除铁路资产机构与马来亚铁路公司之间签署的铁路链接协议

    2) 要求铁路资产机构将资产归还给马来亚铁路公司,以便后者得以永续经营。铁路资产机构的规模太小,会阻止自己从其他管道来增加收入,比如交通导向的产业开发,广告和零售生意等。这些资产应归还给马来亚铁道公司,以便加大力度地发挥自己在这些领域的专业知识。 这也成为马来亚铁路公司重新获得盈利的一个途径,同时也是最大限度地减少增加车票的必要。

    3) 重新检讨东海岸铁路链接工程之成本与适宜度。东海岸铁路旗下的资产,如车厢,铁路轨道,土地和车站,并不归铁路资产机构或马来亚铁道公司所拥有。 相反,它将归由一个新成立的财政部100%所拥有的马来西亚铁路(MRL)私人有限公司,据报道,东海岸铁路的服务将由另一个尚未透露的公司来运营。[5] 东海岸铁路的成本不仅非常昂贵,甚至很有可能通过直接谈判来颁发它的运营服务合同。

    4) 马来亚铁路公司的所有资产与服务都必须进行公开招标

    5) 不私营化马来亚铁路公司



    [1] http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/transport-ministry-says-agreement-will-not-cost-4000-job-losses-ktmb

    [2] http://tonypua.blogspot.my/2011/01/ktmb-rm85m-contract-to-company-without.html and http://ongkianming.com/2015/08/22/press-statement-prime-minister-najib-should-look-at-the-failure-of-the-automatic-fare-collection-afc-system-rather-than-asking-for-new-ktm-ticket-counters-to-be-added/

    [3] http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/01/11/rail-controversy/

    [4] http://english.astroawani.com/business-news/highlights-auditor-generals-report-2013-series-2-37880

    [5] http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/03/29/east-coast-rail-kicks-off/

  • Pakatan Harapan (PH) memberi tawaran yang lebih adil dan lebih mampan kepada KTMB dan pekerjanya

    Kenyataan Media oleh Pakatan Harapan pada 9 Ogos, 2017

    Pakatan Harapan (PH) memberi tawaran yang lebih adil dan lebih mampan kepada KTMB dan pekerjanya

    Perjanjian Akses Rangkaian Kereta Api (RNAA) adalah perjanjian antara KTMB dan Perbadanan Aset Keretapi (RAC) di mana semua aset tanah dan ‘rolling stock’ KTMB akan dipindahkan ke RAC. Proses perjanjian ini sepatutnya diselesaikan pada tahun 2018.[1]

    Pakatan Harapan menentang RNAA atas sebab-sebab berikut:

    (i) Ini merupakan pintu belakang bagi kerajaan untuk memberi akses kepada syarikat kroni yang akan menggunakan rangkaian rel untuk mengambil alih perkhidmatan KTMB termasuk dalam perkhidmatan ‘freight and haulage’ yang terdiri daripada 42% jumlah hasil KTMB (RM216 daripada RM516 juta dalam Tahun Kewangan 2015).

    (ii) Ini akan meningkatkan kos operasi untuk KTMB kerana RAC akan mengenakan caj kepada KTMB untuk penggunaan ‘rolling stock’.

    (iii) RAC, dengan hanya 38 pekerja, tidak berkeupayaan untuk mengurus asetnya dengan baik termasuk penyelenggaraan stok dan trek. Kemungkinan besar tanggungjawab ini akan dikontrakkan kepada syarikat kroni lain.

    KTMB telah mengalami kerugian terkumpul sebanyak RM855 juta dari tahun 2009 hingga 2015 kerana harga tiket yang rendah dan kontrak perolehan yang mahal. Sebagai contoh, KTMB membazirkan RM85 juta untuk kontrak sistem ‘Automatik Fare Collection’ (AFC) yang tidak dapat dilaksanakan. Pada awal tahun ini, Presiden KTM ketika itu, Datuk Sarbini Tijan, diminta ambil cuti sambil menunggu siasatan dalaman mengenai tawaran perolehan yang bernilai berjuta-juta ringgit.[2]

    RAC juga gagal memperolehi keuntungan. Ia telah mengalami kerugian terkumpul sebanyak RM372 juta dari tahun 2009 hingga 2015. RAC tidak mempunyai kakitangan yang mencukupi untuk mengurus asetnya yang bernilai RM36 bilion (termasuk tanah) dengan baik. Kesilapan pengurusan pembayaran kontrak penyelenggaraan keretapi dilaporkan dalam laporan Ketua Audit Negara pada tahun 2013.[3]

    Pakatan Harapan menawarkan perjanjian yang lebih adil kepada KTMB dan 6000 pekerjanya termasuk:

    1) Membatalkan RNAA antara RAC dan KTMB

    2) Memindahkan aset di RAC ke KTMB sebagai cara untuk memaksimumkan nilai aset tersebut. Saiz kecil RAC menghalangnya daripada menambahkan pendapatannya daripada sumber seperti ‘Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)’, pengiklanan serta penjualan barangan (‘retail’). Aset-aset ini perlu dipindahkan ke KTMB dan KTMB mesti dibenarkan untuk menambahkan kepakarannya dalam bidang-bidang ini. Ini akan membolehkan KTMB untuk mencapai keuntungan dan juga untuk mengurangkan keperluan untuk meningkatkan harga tiket.[4]

    3) Mengkaji semula kos dan kesesuaian projek East Coast Rail Link (ECRL). Aset-aset di bawah ECRL iaitu ‘rolling stock’, trek, tanah dan stesen, tidak akan dimiliki oleh RAC ataupun KTM. Sebaliknya, ia akan dimiliki oleh sebuah syarikat yang baru diwujudkan, Malaysia Rail Line (MRL) Sdn Bhd, yang 100% dimiliki oleh Kementerian Kewangan. Ia telah dilaporkan bahawa perkhidmatan ECRL akan dijalankan oleh operator lain yang belum dinamakan lagi. Kos ECRL bukan sahaja sangat tinggi malahan kemungkinan besar operasinya akan diberikan melalui rundingan terus (‘direct negotiation’).

    4) Melaksanakan tender terbuka untuk semua pembelian aset dan perkhidmatan oleh KTMB; dan

    5) Tidak menswastakan KTMB

    Dengan tawaran dasar-dasar baru tersebut, maka kita dapat mensasarkan KTMB menjadi sebuah syarikat yang kedudukan kewangannya kukuh dan berkeuntungan, memastikan para penngguna perkkhidmatan KTMB tidak dibebani peningkatan harga tambang keretapi dan juga menjamin kebajikan dan keselamatan ribuan pekerja KTMB pada masa akan datang.

    Tan Sri Muhyidddin Yassin, Presiden BERSATU
    Liew Chin Tong, Ahli Parlimen Kluang
    Dato’ Abdullah Sani bin Abdul Hamid, Ahli Parlimen Kuala Langat
    Dr. Hatta Ramli, Ahli Parlimen Kuala Krai

    Gambar pemimpin Pakatan Harapan bersama dengan wakil Railwaymen Union Malaysia (RUM) termasuk Presiden RUM, Encik Abdul Razak

    [1] http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/transport-ministry-says-agreement-will-not-cost-4000-job-losses-ktmb

    [2] http://tonypua.blogspot.my/2011/01/ktmb-rm85m-contract-to-company-without.html dan http://ongkianming.com/2015/08/22/press-statement-prime-minister-najib-should-look-at-the-failure-of-the-automatic-fare-collection-afc-system-rather-than-asking-for-new-ktm-ticket-counters-to-be-added/

    [3] http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/01/11/rail-controversy/

    [4] http://english.astroawani.com/business-news/highlights-auditor-generals-report-2013-series-2-37880

  • Pakatan Harapan (PH) offers a fairer deal to KTMB and its workers

    Media Statement by Pakatan Harapan on the 9th of August, 2017

    Pakatan Harapan (PH) offers a fairer deal to KTMB and its workers

    The Railway Network Access Agreement (RNAA) is an agreement between KTMB and the Railway Assets Corporation (RAC) which will see KTMB transferring all of its rolling stocks and lands to RAC. This exercise is supposed to be completed sometime in 2018.[1]

    Pakatan Harapan is opposed to the RNAA for the following reasons:

    (i)               This is a back door way for the government to provide access to crony companies to use the rail network to undermine KTMB’s core businesses including the freight and haulage business that comprises 42% of its revenue (RM216 out of RM516 million in Financial Year 2015).

    (ii)              This will increase the costs of operations for KTMB because RAC will charge KTMB for the use of the rolling stock.

    (iii)            RAC, with only 38 employees, is in no position to properly manage its assets including the maintenance of the rolling stock and the track. It is likely that these responsibilities would be sub-contracted out to other crony companies.

    KTMB has suffered accumulated losses of RM855 million from 2009 to 2015 because of low ticket prices and expensive procurement contracts. For example, KTMB wasted RM85 million on a contract for an Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) ticketing system that could not be implemented.[2] More recently, the then President of KTM, Datuk Sarbini Tijan, was asked to go on leave pending an internal inquiry on procurement deals worth millions of ringgit.[3]

    RAC has also not been profitable. It has accumulated losses of RM372 million from 2009 to 2015. RAC does not have enough staff to properly manage the RM36 billion in assets including land. Its mismanagement of train maintenance contract payments was reported in the Auditor General’s report in 2013.[4]

    Pakatan Harapan promises a fairer deal to KTMB and its 6000 workers including:

    1)     Cancelling the RNAA between RAC and KTMB

    2)     Transferring the assets in RAC to KTMB as a way to maximize the value of these assets. The small size of RAC prevents it from increasing its revenue from ventures such as transit oriented development and advertising and retail. These assets should be transferred to KTMB and KTMB should be allowed to expand its expertise in these areas. This will be the way forward to KTMB to regain its profitability and also to minimize the need to increase ticket prices.

    3)     Review the cost and suitability of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project. The assets under ECRL i.e. the rolling stock, the track, the land and the stations, will not be owned by RAC or KTM. Instead, it will be owned by a newly established 100% Ministry of Finance Owned Entity, Malaysia Rail Line (MRL) Sdn Bhd. It has been reported that the ECRL service will be run by another operator which has not been named.[5] Not only is the cost of the ECRL extraordinarily high, it is very likely its operations will be awarded via direct negotiation.

    4)     Implement open tenders for all procurements of assets and services by KTMB

    5)     Not to privatise KTMB

    With these policies, we can chart the path towards financial profitability for KTMB, guarantee continued low prices for the passengers and ensure employment security and welfare for thousands of railway workers.

    Tan Sri Muhyidddin Yassin, President of BERSATU
    Liew Chin Tong, MP for Kluang
    Dato’ Abdullah Sani bin Abdul Hamid, MP for Kuala Langat
    Dr. Hatta Ramli, MP for Kuala Krai

    [1] http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/transport-ministry-says-agreement-will-not-cost-4000-job-losses-ktmb

    [2] http://tonypua.blogspot.my/2011/01/ktmb-rm85m-contract-to-company-without.html andhttp://ongkianming.com/2015/08/22/press-statement-prime-minister-najib-should-look-at-the-failure-of-the-automatic-fare-collection-afc-system-rather-than-asking-for-new-ktm-ticket-counters-to-be-added/

    [3] http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/01/11/rail-controversy/

    [4] http://english.astroawani.com/business-news/highlights-auditor-generals-report-2013-series-2-37880

    [5] http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/03/29/east-coast-rail-kicks-off/

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