• 1 Malaysia products and symbols should not be allowed in any of the polling stations on the 5th of May, 2013

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming in Seri Kembangan on the 2nd of May, 2013

    1 Malaysia products and symbol should not be allowed in any of the polling stations on the 5th of May, 2013

    On polling day, no one is supposed to wear or use anything with a party logo, symbol or the name of any candidate within 50 meters of any polling station. But we fully expect that this rule be broken by Barisan Nasional through the use of the 1Malaysia logo.

    While technically speaking, the 1 Malaysia logo is not a registered logo or symbol of any political party, it has been used as a cornerstone of caretaker Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s political campaign during his 4 years are Prime Minister. As such, we strongly urge the Election Commission to exercise its discretionary power fairly and disallow anyone from wearing, holding or bringing shirts, caps, tudungs, jewellery, bottled water, umbrella and other paraphernalia that has the 1 Malaysia logo on it within 50 meters of any polling station as per Section 9 (H) of the Conduct of Elections Guide (Panduan Tatatertib Pilihanraya). [1]

    This would include any materials or vehicles which belongs to the government and has the 1 Malaysia logo on it.

    One example is the use of 1Malaysia branded tissue paper to wipe dry the indelible ink (picture below). We have received news that this 1Malaysia branded tissue paper will be used on polling day to help dry the indelible ink after it has been put on the finger of a voter. This is totally unacceptable and the Election Commission should put a stop to this immediately and order fresh supplies of tissue paper without any 1 Malaysia logo.

    The failure of the Election Commission to act decisively on this issue will strengthen the impression that it is not an independent organization but instead consistently makes decisions which favor the BN.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming, DAP Candidate for Parliament Seat P102 Serdang

  • GE13 For The People of Serdang, Not Just An Empty Promise

    Dear residents and voters of P102 Serdang,

    After careful consideration, I have made two very important personal decisions:

    1)      If I am fortunate to be elected as your Member of Parliament, I will move to Serdang and Serdang will be my home from now on. I will strive to be a full resident of Serdang in every aspect of my daily life and experience.

    2)      If I am fortunate to be elected as your Member of Parliament, I will strive to learn the local dialects including Hakka, and continue to improve my Mandarin and Malay so that I can have a better understanding of the local cultures of Serdang and to promote the interests of Serdang voters and residents more effectively.

    This is not just an empty political promise. This is something I sincerely believe in.

    If a wakil rakyat is unable to experience local life, and unable to understand local needs and concerns, how can he be qualified to represent his constituents? Surely the best way for a wakil rakyat to judge public sentiment and feelings is to learn the local language and spend as much time as possible with the people he serves.

    This is not just an empty political promise. This is a question of personal principles.

    I truly regret that I was not able to come to Serdang earlier and get to know the people of Serdang before I was announced as a candidate for Parliament. I was living in the United States for 6 years while doing my PhD there before coming back in April 2010. Since 2010, I have been living in Petaling Jaya to be near my elderly parents and to visit them often. The Democratic Action Party (DAP) decided that I should contest in Serdang only this week, so because of this I was not able to come to Serdang.

    To my beloved parents: I am very sorry that I will be moving away from your home to a place that is further away from you both. Nonetheless, this is a great responsibility that I must and want to carry out, and I hope that you will be proud of my decision.

    This is not just an empty political promise. This is a question of political courage.

    It is not easy to migrate to an unfamiliar environment, nor is it easy to learn a new language. However, one of my most important goals in life is to keep learning and keep trying new things. If one does not try or learn, one cannot live well. Trying and learning new things also means learning about local practices, local languages and local political issues as well.

    On a national level, being willing to ‘try and learn new things’ also means being willing to try and experience the uncertainty of political reforms. But if Malaysians think that reform is too difficult a challenge, how will we be able to build our nation and have a better tomorrow?

    I hope that my two decisions – to move to Serdang and to challenge myself to learn the local languages, cultures and issues – will encourage everyone to take up the challenge of supporting reform in Malaysia. Even if we have to move out of our comfort zones, we must never give up. The Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Pakatan Rakyat coalition believes that with reforms, we can have a new hope for Malaysia.

    If you, dear reader, still believe that reform is too difficult to do, I welcome you to come talk to us and discuss with us your concerns.

    Thank you all. I hope to see all of you in Serdang!

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    DAP Election Strategist
    Parliamentary Candidate for P102 Serdang
    Saturday, 20 April 2013

  • PRU13 Janji Reformasi

  • Higher Education Reform

    Dear fellow Malaysians, voters, and residents of P102 Serdang,

    I believe that higher education should be accessible and affordable to all Malaysians who want to pursue higher education i.e. post-secondary education. Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has promised that public higher education will be fully funded by the government. This is a policy deserving of support.

    I believe that entry into our public universities should be based on ability and not on race, religion or social background. Quotas for marginalized groups must be decided and implemented transparently: there must be clear targets, timelines and progress reviews.

    I believe higher education must develop minds, and not just skills and knowledge. Students, whether destined for skills-based or desk-jobs, must leave university with the ability to think, critique and solve problems. In this respect, the higher education environment must be unencumbered. The baggage accumulated over the past decades must be cleared.

    Starting from the very top, Vice Chancellors of our public universities must be chosen according to their own internal governance structures. The process must involve search committees comprising respected academics and other learned individuals. Vice Chancellors should certainly not be appointed by the Minister of Higher Education as they are today. These duly-chosen Vice Chancellors must then be empowered to direct and develop their universities as they see fit. The Ministry of Higher Education’s role should be limited to one of setting broad policies and regulations.

    All students in higher education, as future leaders of the country, must be allowed, even encouraged, to participate in political activities and public engagement. Freedom of association, as enshrined in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, must be respected if we are to create campus environments which are dynamic, spirited, energetic and animated. As such, clubs representing political parties should be allowed in our public and private universities as is normal practice in vibrant democracies around the world. The university administration should play a pro-active role in creating a dynamic environment of student participation rather than stifling the spirit and energy of our students.

    Our universities should be the engines of knowledge creation and dissemination in our country. In this respect, government, tax-payer funding for research should be allocated in a transparent manner, and be open to academics from both public and private universities.  Private universities and colleges should not be entirely profit-driven. At least some should strive to become research universities in their own right complementing and engaging in healthy competition with public universities. To achieve this objective, the issuance and renewal of licenses for private institutions of higher learning need to be scrutinized carefully.

    I believe that our universities should also be engaged in their local communities by working with resident associations, local NGOs and businesses to create strong local bonds and a more integrated community and also encourage a spirit of service / giving back among students.

    For far too long, our public universities have been stifled by their political masters. At the same time, our private universities have been allowed to operate only as vehicles of profit generation. Vocational and technical higher education has been totally sidelined. Only by freeing up our higher education system and allowing them to compete and to engage in research can we begin to take the step of achieving a world class higher education system.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Election Strategist, Democratic Action Party
    Parliamentary Candidate for P102 Serdang
    Thursday, 18 April 2013

  • Public Education Reform

    Dear fellow Malaysians, voters, and residents of P102 Serdang,

    I believe that a common language is indispensable for peace, harmony and nation-building. How can we understand each other, let alone develop our country, if we cannot communicate? Therefore, I believe that the education system must enable all children in Malaysia to speak and write effectively in our national language, Bahasa Malaysia.

    I believe that the national school education system must be strengthened so that it can once again be the default choice for parents. The syllabus and environment must be revamped to reflect Malaysia’s multi-ethnic, multi-cultural identity, and Pupil’s Own Language such as Mandarin, Tamil, Iban and Kadazan must be effectively taught within regular school hours. The national education system must be accessible and affordable to all Malaysians regardless of background.

    At the same time, I also believe that parents must have the freedom to choose the type of school which their children attend. I do not believe in a ‘one size fits all’ education system. There must be room for alternative schools such as schools which teach mainly in English or other languages; which blend religious values with academic achievements; or which offer unique teaching or learning methods for special students. I believe that all schools which receive government funding must be open to all students regardless of race, religion and social background.

    Our current education system is highly centralized which has caused our schools to be unnecessarily inflexible and rigid. I believe that decentralizing our education system by giving more power to the states and local authorities and the schools themselves, including school administrators and teachers would result in a system that is more accountable, that takes into account state and local education needs and that allows for more creative teaching methods and approaches to be implemented.

    I believe the ultimate purpose of education is to develop productive, civic-minded Malaysian citizens. In this respect, I believe that scholarships must be based on ability and need.  We must also recognise that not everyone is suited for the traditional academic stream, but everyone has different skills and interests. We must restore the dignity of skills-based professions. Vocational training must not be associated with poor wages and bad job conditions. In high-wage Germany, about half of all high-school students go on to train in a trade. We must redirect good educators and enlist the private sector to reform technical and vocational education. Schools should also be allowed to offer specialized programs in the arts, music, sports and other niche areas.

    How can these educational objectives be achieved? Firstly, by using our vast education budget much more effectively. The Education Ministry receives the largest share of the federal budget – RM38.7b or 15.5% of the 2013 budget. Cutting down on wastage and leakages will free up funds to improve infrastructure, compensate teachers better and develop good students. The stature of teachers need to be elevated so that high-calibre Malaysians will consider it as a rewarding and difference-making career with fair compensation and attractive career development pathways. Responsibilities need to be decentralized such as the funding of schools and syllabus-setting should be delegated to the state or even the local levels.

    We can only reform the education system by having the necessary political will and courage to undertake bold and far reaching reforms.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Election Strategist, Democratic Action Party
    Parliamentary Candidate for P102 Serdang
    Thursday, 18 April 2013

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