Parliamentary Speech 1st Sitting 24th June to 18th July, 2013

We have a Barisan Nasional government that is facing a crisis of confidence on many fronts. The majority of the public no longer has confidence in this government. I want to take this opportunity to point out this crisis of confidence in three areas – the electoral roll, the cabinet and the education system.

Firstly, the crisis of confidence in the electoral roll.

As part of the Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP), I discovered that a government agency – Jabatan Hal Ehwal Khas (JASA) – which is part of the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, has been given the responsibility of registering voters. Through my research, I discovered that many dubious voters were registered by JASA. These includes voters who have kod-71 in their ICs but do not have house addresses or street names even though they are registered in urban areas such as Serdang, Gombak, Kelana Jaya and Johor Baru. If the government is sincere about wanting to decrease the number of eligible but unregistered voters – which currently stands at over 3 million – why not make all government departments take part in a year-long, nationwide voter registration campaign? Why only allow selected government agencies such as JASA to be involved in this? JASA, for your information, is led by a former UMNO state assemblyman and who speaks and acts more like an UMNO propaganda chief than a civil servant.

During the ongoing Sabah RCI investigation, Mr. Ruslan bin Alias, an assistant head in the IC division of Sabah and Sarawak in the National Registration Department (“NRD”) on 16 January 2013 revealed a list containing 130,549 ‘problematic’ old IC numbers where their records with the NRD were either incomplete or these cards had been cancelled. These old IC numbers were divided into lists of P1, P2 and P3. According to Mr. Ruslan bin Alias, whose unit is in charge of investigating the problematic ICs in lists, only 7.5% of ICs in these lists have been investigated so far.

After analysing the 4th quarter 2012 electoral roll, I found that 46,893 registered voters in Sabah had old ICs in the P1 and P2 list. In addition, I found that there were 6,817 voters with P1 and P2 old ICs registered in Peninsular Malaysia. This means that a total of 53,710 voters with dubious ICs listed under the P1 and P2 list were on the electoral roll during the 13th general elections.

How can we have confidence in the integrity of the electoral roll when there are so many voters in there whose ICs have been listed down as suspicious by witnesses in the Sabah RCI?

Secondly, the crisis of confidence in the cabinet.

I will not touch on the issue of how certain individuals were announced as Ministers even before they were sworn in as Senators. Rather, I want to highlight the fact that we have now two Ministers who have not one, but two degrees each from degree mills. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs website lists YB Serian as having “obtained his Bachelor of Business Administration from Chartered Institute of Business Administration (Ireland), Teoranta in 1994 and Masters of Business Administration from Preston University, United States of America.” Not only could we not find any website belonging to the abovementioned Chartered Institute of Business Administration (Ireland), Teoranta, Preston University is a well-known bogus university as reported in numerous newspaper reports. After my press conference on his qualifications, the Minister came out to say that he obtained his undergraduate and Masters degrees from the University of Hertfortshire. Why then did the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where YB Serian was the Deputy Minister for a few years, give completely different information about his education background? Who is lying here – the Ministry or the Minister?

The second Minister in question is the new Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI), YB Ranau. The MoSTI website initially listed the Minister as having obtained his Doctor in Business Administration (DBA) from Golden State University, Wyoming. After I exposed his qualifications in a press conference, this information is no longer available on that website. Although not stated in the MoSTI website, I was informed that the Minister obtained his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Commonwealth Open University which is based in the British Virgin Islands. Both of these ‘institutions’ are listed down as ‘unauthorized schools and invalid degrees’ by the state governments of Oregon and Maine in the United States.

How can we have confidence in the integrity of the cabinet when two of the Ministers have two degrees each from degree mills?

Thirdly, the crisis of confidence in the education system.

The National Education Blueprint 2013 to 2025, which was launched in September 2012, is supposed to transform our national education system. Unfortunately, even the Malaysian Independent Review Panel, headed by former USM Vice Chancellor, Professor Tan Sri Dato ‘Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, does not have confidence in the NEB. In an internal memo to the Minister of Education, the IRP concluded that the National Education Blueprint is a ‘nice’ document and can serve as an internal guide for the officers in the Ministry of Education. But as a public document, it shows just incremental change that is carried out regularly by the Minister of Education, rather than introducing the much-hoped-for reforms and renewal.

They were also of the opinion that only 5 out of the 11 shifts are necessary and suitable to be prioritized as focus areas. As for the other shifts, the Panel felt that these shifts were merely part of the ‘refinement’ process which is already in the existing National Education Development Masterplan 2006 to 2010.  They also felt that the National Education Blueprint will not be very impactful in bringing the necessary change or shifts that the public was hoping for.

If this independent panel, which is comprised of such distinguished individuals and experts, does not have confidence in the National Education Blueprint, there is little reason why the larger public should have any public confidence in the ability of this Blueprint to transform our education system.

This crisis of confidence can only be rectified when the current Barisan Nasional government is replaced by a Pakatan Rakyat government, which God-willing, will occur in the 14th General Election.

Thanks be to God.