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theSun | WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 4 2009 11

speak up!

thesun says

We await answers
to Dipang tragedy
THE NATION awaits the results of the answer them. Hopefully, the committee
investigation into last week’s Kuala Dipang will not be like other similar committees
tragedy in which three primary school pu- in the past where nothing much happened
pils drowned and many others were put after a few causes had been identified.
at risk. The incident which took place late Whatever the causes this committee is
at night on Oct 26 must have sent a chill going to identify the parents of the three
down the spine of most parents of primary pupils and the parents of the other nearly
school-going children and may even cause 300 pupils involved in the 1Malaysia camp
them to be uncooperative when they are that fateful Monday night are unlikely to
requested to allow their children to take be satisfied.
part in extracurricular activities outside Many will be blamed no doubt but
the school ground. most important of all some must be
Schools and even the district education punished, even if it is merely to show that
offices organise a number of activities for the Education Ministry does not tolerate
pupils outside the school premises from shoddiness especially where the safety of
time to time for recreational, educational schoolchildren is concerned.
and team building purposes. For these Much has been said about the suspen-
activities – like the 1Malaysia camp, for sion bridge that the pupils were on when
instance – to be successful and serve the it collapsed throwing them into the fast
purpose for which they are organised as flowing river below – about its location,
many pupils as possible are encouraged about its structure and even about who
to attend. built it. But so far little attention has been
It will be most unfortunate for the focused on the organisers of the event and
success of these activities if the Kuala the teachers, who at all events involving
Dipang incident automatically comes to pupils, are responsible for their safety.
the mind of most parents whenever their It will be most interesting for the com-
children tell them that they are required mittee to find out where all the teachers
to take part in an outdoor event organised were when the pupils were crossing the
by the school or the district or even state bridge. There are established procedures
education offices. Thus, what happened and guidelines schools and teachers must
was most unfortunate. strictly abide by whenever children are
Many questions have been asked by taken out of school on organised trips
the public and even by some of the more or outdoor activities. Were they strictly
concerned MPs and the special commit- adhered to by the teachers involved in the
tee investigating the incident will have to Kuala Dipang incident?


The ‘deception’ of
jobless graduates
THE SUN is to be commended for publishing can be argued) “structural reforms of the
“Who is prospering from jobless grads?” (Com- higher educational system” were neglected.
ment, Nov 2) in full. This is especially because, Indeed, Teck Ghee, myself as well as other
it is in the national interest to expose the founding pioneering lecturers of Universiti
so-called attempts at “enhancing graduate Sains Malaysia can testify that not only were
employability”, that in reality amount to noth- the standards of formal quality education
ing more than bureaucratic superficial ad hoc gradually lowered, but also the entire educa-
attempts to provide “more of the same”, in tional culture of scholarship, research, critical
the hope that this would in itself overcome thinking and intellectual debate was seriously
the problem. compromised. It needs to be mentioned that
With the estimated 60,000 unemployed the almost total inability of students to benefit
at any one time (some unemployable five from access to published material in English
years after graduation) and against the well was a particularly serious limitation.
researched analysis as above, it is perhaps It would be tedious to go into a “blow-by
understandable why some hapless graduates blow” prescription of what needs to be done.
would be among those Malays who desper- Instead, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak
ately cling to the “siege mentality” to fight the needs to be advised that nothing short of a full-
system and try to secure jobs. scale royal commission should be appointed
But unfortunately the jobless graduates to undertake a “get-go through” structural re-
themselves are not entirely to blame. As form of the entire Higher Educational System
endorsed by many concerned Malaysians before this becomes irreversible.
(including a recent comment by Tengku Ra-
zaleigh), the political elite sent their children Dr Collin Abraham
abroad for higher education and thereby (it Kuala Lumpur

Asri must play by the rules

I DO not understand the fuss over the arrest of Asri’s stature and reputation? We like to
of former Perlis mufti, Dr Mohd Asri Zainul talk about the rule of law and that all men
Abidin, by Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor for are equal before the law. Why should Asri be
giving religious talks without the department’s treated differently? Let him prove before the
permission (“Najib denies govt hand in Asri’s court that he has done nothing wrong like
arrest”, Nov 3). anyone else charged formerly with the same
The law on this is clear: in order to give offence.
talks or sermons on Islam in Selangor, one has If the law is bad, then we should take
to have the permission of the state Religious steps to repeal it. Otherwise we will continue
Affairs Department. That is the law and many to have this periodic exercise in knee-jerking
have been arrested, prosecuted and punished and finger-pointing which reflects negatively
under this law. on our societal and political maturity.
Asri’s arrest seems to have aroused the
ire of many, particularly politicians, on both Datuk Dr Shamsuddin Kassim
sides of our political divide. Why? Is it because Petaling Jaya