STOP THE ROT OF MALAYSIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM, THE WORLD’S CRAZIEST AND MOST IDIOTIC SYSTEM EVER:

Restore STPM Gatekeeper + Abolish Matriks + Stop PTPTN Scam!

Look closely at the following Malaysia GDP per capita graph:

Malaysia GDP per Capita at current prices/inflation adjusted still stuck at 1980s?

Malaysia GDP per Capita at current prices/inflation adjusted still stuck at 1980s?

Why Malaysian income still stuck at 1980s level? Is it considered a failed nation?

Malaysia A Failed Nation? by Rustam A. Sani

Malaysia A Failed Nation? by Rustam A. Sani

There’s no fancy economics theory here to explain. In fact Crony Capitalism-based economy doesn’t require any genius to explain it. It is down to a rotten education system the main cause of it all. And it’s all because of Mahapokrit as well. Social re-engineering my ass.

But first let’s examine how education system being hijacked out of UMNO’s own inferiority complex. It is based on hate system toward Pendatang students that keep on excel in their studies despite many drawbacks, lack of school fundings and deliberate measures.

Firstly, STPM made redundant examination as SPM and Matriks being rigged to ensure as many UMNOPutra students gain direct entry to public universities. Pendatang students do not have such priviledge except being stuck thrown to STPM lions in Form Six. Yet the Pendatang students able to pass through the STPM and again, face the same undeserved UMNOPutra students in public universities.

How these UMNOPutra students cope and compete with Pendatang students?

Nope it’s not the biggest issue as competition will settle the obvious winner, but at what cost financially to both UMNOPutra and Pendatang students later.

Yes you got it right: how will they repay their PTPTN study loans back. For the those students having good results rest assured they may skip half, reduced loan rates or best of all being converted as full scholarship to top achievers. A-ha…in the end the UMNOPutra students suffered the most…having poor result albeit granted junk 3rd class degree with no employment chance in open job market…ends up as honorable jobless graduate with certified bankruptcy status unable to repay the PTPTN loan.

Is this how BN education systems works toward achieving high-income nation? By fooling own UMNOPutra students and turned them instead as jobless bankrupt graduate?

Obviously it is the UMNO fault all along out of hate toward Pendatang students that always dominating great academic results. Seriously UNESCO should declare Malaysian education system as a scam, highly racist and anti-intellectual.

There are already plenty of debates, strategies to reverse the declining standard of the education system including wasting billions and billions on teachers’ retraning, PPSMI and the reversal of it but still the rot continues. Hell, it’s billions more wasted on PTPTN study funds as well.

The solution and to end this academic disaster is ironically already in place but made redundant: it’s all down at STPM level.

Yes, just revised back STPM as the ultimate test and standard barrier to enter tertiary education. Scrap the practice as using SPM to enter college courses and abolish the dubious Matriculation system as alternate university entry point. Both public and private universities/colleges must accept only STPM holders as students.

This will filter out lots of genuine students from the idiots. And those with good STPM result deserves automatic study loan/assistance from PTPTN. No more free issuance of easy money for anyone from PTPTN. Competency must be rewarded and mediocrity shouldn’t be promoted.

The effect of this measure (STPM as common benchmark entry) will be immediate. Universities/colleges will receive only good, committed and quality students so it’ll be reflective on overall rankings of our universities as well on global standings. PTPTN meanwhile, require much lower funding to operate as the number of study loan applicants will be dropped. EPF can no longer risk of giving soft loans to PTPTN only to write it off as so many student defaulted unable to pay back with their junk degree deemed useless for employment. Colleges(cronies-linked) that depend on predating, luring the unsuspecting SPM holders either close down or buckle up to accept STPM holders.

Now what this means to Dayak students?

Very gloomy to be honest. Gloomy because all these while Dayak students being treated as 2nd class Bumiputra students and also one of the easiest target to be duped by private colleges that offer junk degree courses and also ends up as bankrupt jobless graduate. One can see just how many banners hanging outside the rural secondary schools ready to prey on these rural Dayak students.

Furthermore Dayak students are not exposed in earlier stage of education about English, the rigorous regime of Chung Hua style in studying Maths thus make them ill-prepared to face STPM open competition head-on. Only lucky few will survive the cut, how about the rest? Considering GiatMara? Odd job kopitiam waiter/waitress earning RM350 per month?

This is the single most tragic thing can happen to Dayak younger generation. Even under current system, many Dayak top achievers being left out. How many Dayak student applied for Engineering courses and get their placement, other than being thrown nursing courses in Terengganu colleges? This is how UMNO deliberately hinder Dayak progress in tertiary education.

Starting early to join Chinese schools may correct and prepare the Dayak students better but the rigorous journey remains. Dayak students can be intelletually disciplined thru Chung Hua school regimes but it is hopeful of the numbers reaching and passing the STPM gatekeeper.

This is the reality of how chronic our education system that needs complete overhaul after being abused and hijacked by UMNO. Even the Malays find themselves as the losing victims that suffer bankruptcy and unemployment. Only those UMNO Cronies operating dubious private college preying on PTPTN loans as the big winners: churning junk degree and still being paid by PTPTN.

The solution is so simple and in place only for UMNO to fucked it up and destroying countless future of Malaysian students.

Fuck you UMNO for fucking up our education system! Fuck you UMNO!
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WIKILEAKS: Malaysia’s Current Economic Performance Masks Need for Structural Change
Malaysia Today, Thursday, 13 October 2011

Education was among Ariff’s primary concerns. Ethnic Malays were poorly prepared for university, he explained, largely due to a separate one-year “fast track” matriculation which was designed to enable them to secure a place in college more easily. Non-Malays were required to complete a more rigorous two-year program and pass an exam. The end result was that the non-Malays did better once they entered university. Moreover, separate education before college led to patterns of self-segregation at the university, and Ariff observed that the various ethnic groups had little interaction.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

1. (SBU) Summary: Malaysia’s central bank Deputy Governor considers the country’s banking sector unexposed to the turmoil in the US sub-prime mortgage market and believes that the economy remains on track for six percent GDP growth in 2007.

Private sector economists, however, point out that Malaysia’s economy is performing under its potential growth rate by as much as two percentage points due to poor government policy. The racial preference policies set out in the New Economic Policy (NEP) are viewed as the primary source of growth-restraining distortions which primarily have served to enrich political cronies. In the process, not only has the NEP failed to reduce poverty among ethic Malays, it has directly contributed to greater income inequality and poverty. It continues to crowd out of healthy private sector investment by government linked corporations.

Perverse education policies have chipped away at Malaysia’s ability to produce a competitive work force for a global economy. Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi is not perceived as a politician prepared to make the hard decisions necessary to reform the policies upon which his political supporters have come to depend. Middle of the road rates of economic growth prevent a greater sense of urgency among policy makers, but over time these structural policy failures are expected to create even stronger constraints on Malaysia’s ability to deliver on robust economic growth. End summary.

CENTRAL BANK: LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

2. (U) In a meeting with Economic Counselor and Financial Attach for Southeast Asia, Ooi Sang Kuang, Deputy Governor of Bank Negara, Malaysia’s central bank, expressed confidence that the Malaysian economy would remain largely on track to reach government forecasts of 6% growth for 2007, even in light of the U.S. sub-prime lending problems.

Ooi said that, although Malaysia was fairly insulated from the U.S. sub-prime lending market, he was concerned about how the “sentimental effect” of a significant reduction in financial markets could impact the global economy. He described the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to lower interest rates by fifty basis points as having done “wonders” for the global economy.

MANUFACTURING SECTOR MUST IMPROVE

3. (U) Ooi described Malaysia’s overall manufacturing sector as “not robust” and said it would need to become more competitive. The sector that would suffer the most from an economic downturn in the U.S. was electrical & electronics (E&E), which was largely dependent upon U.S. demand for semiconductors, he explained. He said Malaysia was not moving up the value chain rapidly enough, and that the country needed to transform its economy, particularly in light of a strengthening currency that would make Malaysian exports more expensive.

4. (U) Ooi pointed out that the ringgit’s long-term value was increasing, and said Malaysian manufacturers would be forced to either “move up the value chain” or relocate if necessary. He said many Malaysian companies were investing overseas, with labor-intensive manufacturing moving to Vietnam and Indonesia.

“MANAGING” FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATES

5. (U) Ooi said Bank Negara continued to intervene in the foreign exchange market, but only to “smooth it out” and “manage” volatility, since large volumes could “disturb or excite markets” if they were not kept within “tolerable levels” of flexibility. He claimed that the central bank intervened in both directions – to smooth both the highs and the lows. (Note: when asked about this, one private sector banking professional responded that this might be true on a one-to-ten ratio, with the central bank mitigating the “lows” once for every ten times it intervenes to mitigate the “highs.”)

ECONOMY STILL CHUGGING ALONG

6. (U) In spite of the setback in E&E, strong domestic demand continued to fuel the economy, explained Ooi. Demand was being driven largely by higher rural incomes resulting from high commodity prices, a recent 35% civil service salary increase, and large government projects being implemented under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

He estimated that the government projects would remain the primary driver of domestic demand until mid-2008, by which time he expected the private sector would strengthen and the government-funded projects taper off. The economy would also benefit by the imminent opening of the Kikeh oil field, Malaysia’s first deepwater operation.

FINANCIAL SECTOR LIBERALIZATION

7. (U) For its part, the Government of Malaysia (GOM) would continue to enact financial liberalizations, just as it had been doing for the Islamic finance sector. According to Ooi, the GOM had been adhering to the ten-year Financial Sector Master Plan and in some areas was ahead of schedule. This, coupled with the GOM’s recent announcement that corporate tax rates would be reduced to 25% in 2009, would help boost the Malaysian economy.

AN ANALYST’S VIEW

8. (U) While Ooi was upbeat about the Malaysian economy’s resilience, Dr. Mohamed Ariff, President of the Malaysian Institute for Economic Research (MIER), was more willing to discuss the weaknesses as well as the strengths. He cited similar economic indicators and pointed to the same strengths – strong domestic demand, government stimulus, and a reasonable forecast of 5.3 to 6 percent growth. But Malaysia had much more potential than that, he said.

Malaysia would need to “move up the value chain” to position itself to complement, rather than compete with, China and other low-wage manufacturing centers in the region. In fact, he said the GOM had rejected many applications to bring low-tech labor-intensive manufacturing to Malaysia, some of which had requested bringing in a few thousand (low-wage) foreign workers. Rather, the GOM was approving higher-tech manufacturing in the E&E sector, but these more capital-intensive investments were not bringing in many jobs for Malaysians, with 20% of new jobs going to foreigners.

REFORMS NEEDED

9. (SBU) To surmount the hurdles and achieve Malaysia’s full potential for economic growth, Ariff argued that the GOM would need to enact some politically sensitive – and perhaps unlikely – reforms. First on the list would be to address the “New Economic Policy” (NEP), a system of race-based preferences for ethnic Malays.

Most benefits were going to cronies; intra-ethnic inequality was increasing, especially among Malays; and the entire system was creating a “dependency syndrome,” putting low priority on academic achievement, he said.

10. (U) Education was among Ariff’s primary concerns. Ethnic Malays were poorly prepared for university, he explained, largely due to a separate one-year “fast track” matriculation which was designed to enable them to secure a place in college more easily. Non-Malays were required to complete a more rigorous two-year program and pass an exam. The end result was that the non-Malays did better once they entered university. Moreover, separate education before college led to patterns of self-segregation at the university, and Ariff observed that the various ethnic groups had little interaction.

11. (SBU) Government-linked companies were another politically sensitive issue that would need to be addressed, as they were crowding out other players in the market, according to Ariff. In 1985 the GOM privatized a number of companies, but these simply went to cronies, he said. It was time for another round, but this would need to be done fairly.

12. (SBU) The race-based preferences in general and the poor educational system in particular were impediments to reaching Malaysia’s full potential, but Malaysians were afraid of change, he explained. “We need a new NEP,” said Ariff, “and a free press not owned by the Barisan Nasional” (the ruling coalition which has been in power since independence in 1957).

13. (U) Ariff also was disappointed that the newly released 2008 budget contained no reference to the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) which had been pending since 2004. The GST, similar to a value-added tax, would be desperately needed in several years’ time when Malaysia was expected to become a net importer of oil. Currently Petronas, the national oil company, provides 38% of the federal government’s revenue, and the country’s tax regime will need to be restructured to avert a crisis.

14. (U) Comment: There is widespread agreement on what to expect in the near term for the Malaysian economy: not much. The economy will continue to chug along, growing at five to six percent; cronies will continue to benefit from the current system; and, despite Malaysia’s greater potential, there will be little demand for change until things get measurably worse. With elections near, no one expects the GOM to take actions that are politically difficult – least of all changes to the NEP, which is the Malays’ sacred cow.

KEITH (October 2007)
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300,000 youths still actively looking for jobs
Malaysia Kini, Saturday, 26 March 2011

Some 300,000 youths nationwide are still actively looking for jobs, says Deputy Human Resource Minister Maznah Mazlan. Some are already employed but are looking for better jobs which offered better pay, Deputy Human Resource Minister Maznah Mazlan said in Jalau, Sarawak today.

She had earlier launched the Meluan state constituency’s Sarawak Youth Carnival 201l at the Meradong/Julau District Council Carpark, aimed at helping jobless youths. “Jobless youths should register online with the jobsmalaysia portal. There are currently about 500,000 vacancies advertised on the website by some 30,000 employers and most of them are in the service and production sector,” she told Bernama after the function.

“Through this free portal, you can search for the job you desire and even apply online if you come across one that interest you. But my advise is for them to check the portal regularly to see if there was response from potential employers or if their applications had been successful.” She said some 3,413 youth in the state had registered themselves with it and up to February this year, some 628 had found the jobs they wanted.

Unemployment at manageable level

On the problem of unemployment among youths in the country she said it was at still at manageable level. She added a small number of them were overly choosy in their preferences based on studies made by local universities on the marketability of their graduates.

“Some shun what they consider lowly paid jobs in relation to their academic qualification. Others want jobs that are available locally and do not want to be transferred to the Peninsular, for instance,” she said. Maznah said under the Tenth Malaysia Plan, the government had set aside RM500 million to train youths in various skills training in over 300 training centres nationwide.- Bernama
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115 loan defaulters charged
by Wong Yeen Fern, Malaysia Kini, Thursday, 22 February 2007

The National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) will take several thousands of former students to court over their failure to settle their study loans.

Contacted today, PTPTN chief executive officer Yunos Abdul Ghani said these students had not settled their debts despite three legal notices being issued.

“Students from the 1997-2004 batch will face court action for failing to pay their loans following a (third) legal notice being sent to them,” he added.

He said the former students who received the third legal notice were required to settle their debts within two weeks.

Yunos reiterated that those who cannot afford to do so should come forward and explain their situation. He said they should provide valid evidence and logical reasons.

Declare bankrupt

As for those who did not receive the legal notices, he said these students should get in touch with the PTPTN.

“For instance, if they have changed their address, they should have inform us about it, because it is their duty to inform us, if not we will never know,” he added.

He said those who did not receive the legal notices must settle their debts or face legal action as well.

Meanwhile, Nanyang Siang Pau reported yesterday that 115 students had been charged in court over this issue.

Yunos said PTPTN will consider having those who still refuse to pay as being declared bankrupt but stressed that it would be the last resort.

About RM600 million was loaned out to the first batch of students in 1997 and of this only RM270 million has been successfully collected from these students.

As for the overall figures, Yunos said PTPTN is still processing this.

The financial aid programme was established in 1997 and is mainly focused on students who have gained admission to local universities but are unable to further their studies due to financial constraints.
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PTPTN: We’ve given out RM37b since our start
Malaysian Insider, December 25, 2010

TEMERLOH, Dec 25 — The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) has given out RM37 billion in loans to students since its establishment in 1997 until November this year.

Its chairman Datuk Ismail Mohamed Said said with the loans, 1.7 million students were able to further their studies at public and private higher learning institutions.

“However, only 77 per cent of the recipients repay their loans after completing their studies,” he said after presenting school uniforms and bags to excellent students as well as poor students in the Kuala Krau parliamentary constituency, here, today.

He lamented that 191,262 borrowers had never paid back their loans despite being issued with several reminders and summons notices.

“Voluntary repayment of loans through salary deductions, bank standing instructions and online is seen to be ineffective.

“So we hope the proposed amendments to the PTPTN Act 1997, making it compulsory for borrowers to repay their study loans through salary deductions, can be implemented from next year,” he said.

Ismail said for this year, PTPTN targeted to receive RM5 billion in loan repayments but until November, only RM4.8 billion was received. — Bernama
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PAC zooms in on PTPTN’s RM46b deficit
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, Malaysian Insider, 9 Nov 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9 — The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) kickstarted its probe today into the National Higher Education Fund’s (PTPTN) possible RM46 billion deficit by hauling up top officials from the body as well as the Ministry of Higher Education.

The PTPTN’s deficit crisis was among nine “irregularities” highlighted in the 2009 Auditor-General’s Report.

According to the A-G’s Report, based on cash flow projections PTPTN will face a deficit of RM45.89 billion up to the end of the 11th Malaysia Plan in 2016.

As such, PTPTN needed additional funds amounting to RM8.56 billion under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, RM15.67 billion under the 10th Malaysia Plan and RM21.66 billion under the 11th Malaysia Plan.

PAC chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said today the committee’s main concern was PTPTN’s sustainability in the near future.

Azmi said the investigation was focused on PTPTN’s inefficient loan repayment system, but stopped short of providing details.

“From what we saw if they continue as they are, PTPTN is not sustainable because the expenditure exceeds income but we cannot say more.

“We don’t want to repeat (what) the audit report (has mentioned), whatever the weaknesses, they are committed to rectify but we are looking beyond, mainly on the sustainability of PTPTN and why it took them so many years. It took them 13 years (1997-2010) and yet the system is still defective in terms of collections, tracing information as reported in the audit report,” said Azmi.

In the audit report, it was reported that the PTPTN had approved loans totalling RM23.78 million to 16,013 students who did not apply for the facility.

Azmi said the PAC had called up Ministry of Higher Education secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Zulkefli A. Hassan , acting PTPTN CEO Wan Ahmad Wan Yusoff and representatives from the Government Housing Loan Department, but added that investigations were still on-going and there were no conclusions made yet.

“PAC will also be meeting a few relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Finance which has appointed other agencies to handle the loan system,” said the Padang Besar MP.

Another PAC official said the accounts committee will be questioning the Finance Ministry on Prokhas Sdn Bhd, a company under the ministry which had been appointed to administer the PTPTN database system.

“The project was awarded to Prokhas in peculiar circumstances, to a company which does not have any experience in the field. It was totally outsourced to an Indian firm where it became problematic. It is only at 16 per cent completion from 2006,” said the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The official claimed that the decision to award the contract was not made by the PTPTN management.

He said the project, which stalled twice, was “mysteriously” continued despite the problems faced, adding that the matter was blamed on the former CEO, who may be called up to explain.

It is understood that PTPTN’s deficit woes could affect educational providers such as Masterskill Education Group Bhd.

Masterskill, which offers nursing courses and allied health sciences education programmes, was reported in The Edge today as having experienced a sharp decline and trading of its shares since the A-G’s Report was made public recently.

It is said that the sell-down may be due to concerns over PTPTN’s possible RM46 billion deficit, as highlighted in the A-G’s Report.

Masterskill is said to rely on PTPTN to provide financing for 95 per cent of its students.
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MTUC queries EPF’s RM2b bailout of PTPTN
by P. Selvarani, Malay Mail, 22 Feb 2005

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) is concerned over the use of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to bail out financially-troubled Government agencies and companies.

Referring to the RM2 billion loan from the EPF to the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), MTUC president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud said the authorities should have employed other ways to resolve the problem without digging into the EPF funds.

“Although the EPF is one of the biggest pension funds in the world, it should not be used as a cash cow to bail out financially troubled Government agencies or companies.

“While we sympathise with the students who need financial aid, it is the responsibility of the Government to find the money to help finance their education,” Syed Shahir told The Malay Mail yesterday.

“They should have another mechanism to deal with the problem of non-payment of loans and not turn to the EPF to bail the PTPTN out.”

The New Straits Times had on Saturday reported that the PTPTN had to borrow RM2 billion from the EPF in 2003 to provide loans to students.

PTPTN chief executive officer Datuk Othman Jusoh had said this was because students were not repaying their loans.

He also said the organisation had not received any allocation from the Government since 2003.

It was reported earlier that graduates owed the Government more than RM7 billion. As of Dec 31 last year, the PTPTN had only collected RM93 million.

The MTUC also questioned the terms on which the loan was given.

“RM2 billion is not a small sum. We want to know at what interest rate the loan was given. What guarantee is there the loan would be repaid considering that the PTPTN has admitted that it does not have the money and has difficulty recovering the loans from students.

“The Government has also stopped its allocation. What are the chances of the EPF getting its money back? We are concerned about this,” Syed Shahir said.

He said this was one of the reasons the MTUC was asking the EPF to be transparent in its dealings, especially pertaining to its investments and “unrealised losses”.

“Everything must be above board. If they can prove that after investing the money in a proper way, they still cannot get good returns, that’s fine, we can accept it.

“But if they used it to bail out companies and agencies, that is not acceptable,” he said.

The MTUC general council, which met on Sunday, is also seeking higher representation in the EPF board.

It wants half of the 20-member EPF board to be worker representatives.

Currently, there are only five worker representatives on the board – four from the MTUC and one from Cuepacs.

The rest of the board comprises five representatives from the employers, five from the Government, three investment experts, the chairman and the CEO of the EPF.

“Right now, the composition of the board does not reflect the representation of the contributors. As the bulk of the contributors, the workers should have a bigger role in the decision-making process of the fund,” he said.
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Guan Eng says workers should have say over RM5b EPF money
Malaysian Insider, November 01, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 – The DAP condemned the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) today for allowing the federal government to use RM5 billion of workers’ money to “rescue” certain companies listed on the Malaysian stock exchange.

Calling it a “short-sighted measure” DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng noted that EPF’s agreement to the Barisan Nasional government’s request without first consulting its board of trustees had caused the value of its shares to plunge by 15 per cent in the past two weeks.

“It is unacceptable that representatives from workers do not have a say on how workers’ funds are invested, are forced to risk their savings to save those few companies who never remember to give back to workers when these companies reap huge profits,” he said.

Lim was speaking to Malaysian businessmen today while on a working trip to Seoul.

He also told them that the government had not announced any measures to help working Malaysians weather the present financial crisis, apart from “giving a miserly RM 364.2 million in tax cuts… in the 2009 Budget.”

He added that it worked out to only RM36 a year for each working Malaysian.

“What is RM364.2 million in tax cuts for working Malaysians compared to the RM5 billion using workers’ funds to help companies?” he asked rhetorically.

“Clearly the BN government has not only got its priorities wrong helping the few instead of all, but is a short-sighted measure that confuses and equates economic policy with corporate bailouts,” he said.

Lim who is also the Chief Minister of Penang reiterated his four-pronged strategy to help businesses and the poor overcome the global economic crisis. He had first brought it up during the DAP’s first national Hari Raya open house celebration two weeks ago.

The DAP wants the government to progressively reduce corporate tax from the present 25 per cent to 17 per cent, to conduct a daily review of petrol prices and to reduce electricity tariffs for businesses to reflect the present change in global oil prices.

Lim also urged the government to give an annual RM6,000 “oil bonus” to households earning less than RM6,000 a month and to bachelors earning under RM3,000 a month from Petronas’s profits. It works out to roughly RM500 a month.

The Bagan MP noted that it would only cause the national oil company a third of its gross profits. Last year, Petronas churned out RM107 billion in gross profit.

He estimated that the entire plan would cost RM48 billion. “A RM 48 billion economic stimulus plan that has the tidal effect of helping 27 million Malaysians has direct benefit, fairer and financially sustainable than risking RM 5 billion borrowed from EPF to fund purchases of shares of certain companies,” Lim said.
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Interest rates mismatch ails federal students’ loan provider
By Yow Hong Chieh, Malaysian Insider, 12 Nov 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — The National Higher Education Fund Corporation’s (PTPTN) practice of borrowing money from financial institutions at higher interest rates to lend to students at very low interest rates has led it to its current deficit crisis.

The Malaysian Insider understands that PTPTN admitted to taking out 10-year loans from financial institutions to bankroll students who then have up to 20 years to repay them when it briefed the Public Accounts Committee on Tuesday.

Not only has this caused cash flow problems, but the education fund also borrows money from institutions like the Employees Provident Fund at five per cent interest which it then lends to students at only one per cent interest, a source told The Malaysian Insider.

The administrative charge was originally set at four per cent until January 2004, when it was cut to three per cent before being once again reduced to the current rate in January 2008.

PTPTN acknowledged that this “unbalanced tenure” was one of the main reasons why it is haemorrhaging money, which the Auditor-General’s Report estimates will hit RM45.89 billion by the end of the 11th Malaysia Plan in 2016.

As such, PTPTN will need extra funds amounting to RM15.67 billion under the 10th Malaysia Plan and RM21.66 billion under the 11th Malaysia Plan, in addition to the RM8.56 billion it received under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

From 1997 until September 30, 2010, PTPTN approved loans worth RM36.5 billion to 1.66 million students in public higher education institutions (IPTA) and private higher education institutions (IPTS). A total of RM20.6 billion (56.4 per cent) went to 1,180,195 students in public institutions while RM15.9 billion (43.6 per cent) was set aside for 483,802 private institution students.

This year alone, RM2.27 billion in loans has been approved for IPTA students, together with RM2.85 billion for IPTS students.

Compounding PTPTN’s woes is the fact that repayment rates have traditionally been low, in part due to its own inability to track delinquent loans.

Loan repayment rates have hovered just below the halfway mark for the past three years. The rate of repayment was 48.5 per cent in 2008, 49.6 per cent in 2009 and 48.3 per cent as of September this year.

From PTPTN’s inception in 1997 to the end of last year, a total of RM22.2 billion in loans was issued, with an expected repayment of RM4.1 billion. However, only RM2 billion was ever paid back.

As of April 1 this year, “0 per cent” of the loan collection module under its End-to-End Financing System (ETEFS) database had been completed. The module covers delinquents, non-performing loans, recovery and litigation.

The other two modules, loan origination and loan management, were 46.7 per cent and 4 per cent complete, respectively. Loan origination deals with application processing, approval and disbursement and document tracking while loan management cover accounting and administration.

PTPTN opted for Ministry of Finance Inc wholly-owned subsidiary Prokhas to help develop the database system in 2006 after passing over the more established PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Prokhas in turn appointed Mumbai-based 3i Infotech to develop the ETEFS even though PTPTN had yet to sign a contract with Prokhas.

The education fund began to use the ETEFS beginning in July 2007 but was forced to abandon it temporarily by October 2 that same year due to “too many technical problems”, following which borrowers details were transferred to the previous Education Loan Management System (ELMAS).

The fund resumed its use of the ETEFS in July 2008 despite the system being incomplete. A contract between PTPTN and Prokhas specifying that the ETEFS had to be completed by end-March 2010 was eventually signed on September 16, 2009.

On the whole, only 16.9 per cent of ETEFS has been completed. PTPTN has proposed that it will work with institutions of higher learning to brief final-year students on the importance of repaying loans as a short-term measure while it seeks alternative models.
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Student didn’t apply for PTPTN loan but billed RM25,000
by Beh Lih Yi, Malaysia Kini, 3 Mar 2005

A 34-year-old manager with a wood-based company was shocked when she received three statements from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) last December, stating that she has borrowed RM25,000.

The statements stated that five payments of RM5,000 each had been made to Tee Chai Chin from 2001 to 2003, ostensibly while she was a student at the Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (Unitar), a local private university. However, Tee said she had only attended classes for one semester from July 2000, and had never applied for a PTPTN loan.

She had signed up for a four-year business administration bachelor’s degree course but could only complete one semester because she could not keep up with both work and study. Tee said she called up PTPTN and was told that her particulars in its statements had been provided by Unitar. She then took the advice of a PTPTN official to write to PTPTN and Unitar to seek clarification.

Last month, she received a copy of a letter from Unitar, addressed to PTPTN. The letter dated Jan 20 and entitled ‘Refund of students’ loan’ listed the names of Tee and 25 others, their identity card numbers and the outstanding amount of their ‘loan’ ranging between RM4,600 and RM25,572. “The following students (listed in the letter) have terminated their studies at Unitar. We hereby attach a cheque for RM446,783.07 as the balance of loan held by Unitar for the students,” stated the letter, a copy which was made available to malaysiakini.

The letter showed that Unitar refunded RM24,619 as ‘balance of loan’ on Tee’s behalf to PTPTN, but there were no details to explain the discrepancy in the figure – given that Tee was said to have borrowed RM25,000.

“All these years I have never received any payment or statement from PTPTN until last December. I have no clue as to what has transpired as I never signed any agreement with PTPTN and I paid for my tuition fee for that semester,” said an infuriated Tee. “This is very unfair. I believe there is corruption involved. I hold Unitar and the PTPTN management responsible for this.”

She alleged her particulars had been misused without her consent, but was not sure whether the other 25 ex-Unitar students were in a similar predicament. “PTPTN has said it has an outstanding arrears of RM7 billion owed by loan defaulters, but has it considered the possibility that the defaulters might had their particulars misused?” Tee asked.

PTPTN, Unitar response

Responding, PTPTN’s enforcement and collection head Mohd Rusdi Ismail stressed that the corporation would not issue any loan without any agreement signed between student and PTPTN, as well as the university’s verification of the student status to support the application. Prior to 2003, the PTPTN loan was channeled to applicants through their university, which is responsible for disbursing the money to students after deducting their tuition fees. It is also obliged to verify the status of the students before each disbursement.

The system was changed after students complained about delays in disbursement. The corporation now banks in the payment directly into the applicant’s bank account Unitar president Dr Syed Othman Alhabashi denied the university has misused students’ particulars to apply for the education loan in order to pocket the money. He also ruled out initiating an internal probe into Tee’s allegations.

“I doubt it (the allegation)… it is impossible. Why should we (do so)? We are very transparent. But the question now is whether is she liable to pay the money. If we have settled it for her already, then there is nothing to complain about,” he said when met at the university. Unitar vice-president Dr Sheikh Ghazali Abod, who oversees the university’s operations, said that Tee could not have made use of the ‘loan’ since she was in the university for just four months – and approval of loan applications to PTPTN usually takes more than that.

However he could not explain why Tee had received the PTPTN statements.

“Even in the ‘worst case scenario’ that her identity was misused and her signature was forged, she would have been informed at a certain stage during that period (2001-2003),” he said. “But many students do not inform the university when they drop out, partly because we operate on a ‘virtual university’ concept. (Since we are unaware of their status), the university still considers them to be students.”

When contacted for a response, Tee said she did not inform Unitar that she had dropped out, but insisted that this does not change the situation as to why she is listed as a borrower.

Issue of refund

Asked about the refund of half a million ringgit to PTPTN, Sheikh Ghazali said this represented the amount withheld by the university in the case of students who failed or who had terminated their studies. He claimed there was no connection between the refund and Tee’s complaint letter.

A subsequent check by malaysiakini at the PTPTN office on Tuesday revealed that Tee’s status was still listed as having defaulted on RM25,000. The check also showed a similar result for another ex-Unitar student who was listed among the 26 in the Unitar letter dated Jan 20.

According to an employee at the enquiry counter, the data in the system is up to date and that it usually takes a maximum of three days for any new payments to be recorded. When told of the results of the check, Tee vowed to pursue the matter, saying: “I felt I have been cheated.”

Unitar was set up in 1997 as the country’s first Multimedia Super Corridor-status virtual university. It provides education though online technology and facilitator-based tutorials or academic meetings. The chancellor is Rahah Mohd Noah, mother of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and wife of Malaysia’s second prime minister, the late Abdul Razak Hussein.

The university is wholly owned by public listed company KUB Malaysia Bhd, whose chairperson Hassan Harun is also Unitar chairman and a former Umno supreme council member. He has been a member of the PTPTN board of directors since 1998.
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Concern at University of Wales overseas degrees
BBC News Wales 9 November 2010

A Malaysian pop star with a bogus doctorate has been running a college offering University of Wales degree courses, a BBC investigation shows. A Bangkok college that Thai authorities say has been operating illegally, is also offering courses leading to degrees from the Welsh institution.

Week in Week Out examined the way in which the University of Wales validated courses in overseas institutions. The university said it was dealing “thoroughly” with the issues raised.

The programme revealed that Fazley Yaakob, who runs the Fazley International College (FICO) in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, was claiming to have both a masters and a doctorate in business administration. But both came from a bogus university.

The pop star, who has four hit albums to his name, claimed the qualifications from the European Business School (Cambridge), an offshoot of the Irish International University, which was exposed as a sham by the BBC in 2008. He said the University of Wales did not ask about his credentials, which were displayed prominently on the college website until he was confronted by BBC Wales’ education correspondent Ciaran Jenkins in Kuala Lumpur.

No new admissions

Professor Nigel Palastanga, pro vice chancellor at the University of Wales, said the university was “concerned” about the issues raised in the programme. “We are not happy about what is happening, we are dealing with it and will deal with it very thoroughly and will learn lessons from what has happened,” he said.

The University of Wales announced it had suspended its involvement with Fazley International College, and would take no new admissions to its business administration and MBA courses until the matter had been investigated. Professor Palastanga said there were no concerns about academic standards at the college.

Meanwhile, Thai authorities said Accademia Italiana, a fashion college offering University of Wales validated courses in Bangkok, Thailand, had been operating illegally. Dr Sumate Yammoon, Secretary General of the Commission on Higher Education in Thailand, said last week that the matter was in the hands of the police. However, Professor Palastanga said the situation had now changed.

‘Run its course’

“My information is that the college is now operating legally within the Thai system,” he said.

Jenny Randerson AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat education spokesperson, said she believed the University of Wales had now “run its course” and that its remaining accredited institutions in Wales – Swansea Metropolitan University, UWIC, Glyndwr University, Trinity Saint David and University of Wales, Newport – could operate independently.

Universities in Wales are bracing themselves for the outcome of a review into the governance of higher education, ordered by Education Minister Leighton Andrews. He has now instructed the review to look at the issues raised in the Week In Week Out programme.

Cardiff University left the University of Wales in 2004 while the universities of Bangor, Swansea and Aberystwyth decided to offer their own degrees in 2008.

Severed ties

In November 2008, a BBC Wales Dragon’s Eye investigation showed that the University of Wales validated courses run by a controversial bible college in the United States. The university severed its ties with Trinity College of the Bible in Newburgh, Indiana shortly before the programme was broadcast.

Professor Palastanga said it was “not good” for the university’s reputation when things went wrong, however he stressed it worked continually with its partners to uphold standards. The University of Wales validates courses in more than 100 colleges in more than 40 countries.

There are currently 70,000 students studying for University of Wales degrees worldwide. The university said the profits from its international validation programmes were invested in Welsh higher education.

Responding to a question from Jenny Randerson AM on the investigation, First Minister Carwyn Jones told the assembly the education minister has already asked the review of HE governance to look into this matter. “Primarily, it’s an issue for the University of Wales and its reputation,” Mr Jones told AMs.

“So it’s exceptionally important that the University of Wales takes note of the allegations that have been made, and then of course takes steps to ensure that if the allegations are correct, that there is no opportunity for anybody to use the name of the University of Wales in an inappropriate way.”

Week In Week Out: University Challenged is on BBC One Wales at 2235 GMT on Tuesday, 9 November.
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Ministry to fly in 370 experts in English next year
Bernama News, October 25, 2010

MELAKA, Oct 25 — The Education Ministry will hire 370 English language experts from abroad starting next year to monitor teaching of the language in Malaysian schools.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the recruitment was in line with the implementation of the government’s policy of upholding the Malay language and strengthening use of the English language (MBMMBI) for Year One pupils from next year.

“They (the experts) will see how our teachers teach their pupils English,” he said at a Titipan Naluri dialogue programme with trainees of the Melaka, Johor and Negeri Sembilan teacher training institutes, at the Melaka Women’s Teacher Training Institute, here, today.

The MBMMBI was introduced to replace the policy of teaching of science and mathematics in the English language (PPSMI), which will be abolished in 2012 after discovering that the policy failed to achieve the objective of improving students’ proficiency in English while also affecting the performance of students, especially in the rural areas, in the two subjects.

Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, said the government had no worries about upholding the status of the Malay language as most of the serving teachers were already trained in the language.

“The challenge for us now is how to strengthen usage of the English language. That is why we need our teachers to be exposed again through courses during the holidays so as to be more proficient in the language.”

He said the English proficiency of trainees at the teacher training institutes would also be improved so that they would not face problems when they start teaching in schools.

“We will soon explain to the public the MBMMBI policy so that they will understand it and help ensure its successful implementation.”

Muhyiddin also said the ministry would be finding a way to balance the number of male and female trainee teachers because the former’s number was currently lower.

He said that up to August, there were 34,512 trainees at the 27 teacher training institutes in the country, comprising 22,805 women and 11,707 men. — Bernama
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Training scheme for jobless grads launched
Bernama News, July 17, 2010

SEGAMAT, July 17 — The government today launched a special training scheme to equip fresh and unemployed graduates with skills required by the industries in a move to realise the New Economic Model’s (NEM) aim of making Malaysia a high-income nation.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said under the scheme called Graduate Employability Program (GEP), the graduates would not only enhance their chances of employability but also become more innovative and creative in line with the NEM.

The minister said RM10.5 million had been allocated for the GEP and it would be managed by Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad (PSMB) under the ministry.

“The GEP’s aim is to increase the skills and competencies of graduates to prepare them for the job market with higher salaries and to assist the less fortunate graduates who cannot find employment due to lack of skills,” he said when launching the GEP here.

When unveiling the NEM last March, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said it would make Malaysia more competitive regionally and globally with benefits accruing to all Malaysians, with their per capita income increasing to US$15,000 (RM48,000) by the end of the decade from US$7,000 currently.

Najib had said that creating a high-income nation would mean higher wages throughout the economy as growth was derived not only from capital, but from greater productivity through the use of skills and innovation, improved co-ordination, stronger branding and compliance with international standards and intellectual property rights.

Subramaniam, who is also the Segamat member of Parliament, said the GEP would equip, develop and assist unemployed graduates through six key skills namely information and communication technology; competencies; transferable skills which include communication, analytical thinking and problem-solving; relevant working experience; exploring new route for their career; and job placement.

He said the target group would be diploma and degree holders who have been unemployed for at least three months after graduation.

“We will select the first batch of 1,000 graduates for this program and they will undergo training between five and six months,” the minister said. He said the training would include three components — classroom training, attachment, and job placement.

“The attachment component provides hands-on learning environment and because of on-the-job experience, it makes it easier for trainees to apply what has been learnt in the classroom to where they are attached to,” he said.

He said the government would bear the course fee for the graduates who would also be paid a monthly allowance of RM500 during the training. He said on completion of the GEP, the trainees would secure employment almost immediately.

Dr. Subramaniam said to enlist, graduates could download application forms at http://www.hrdf.com.my or send their applications to PSMB. — Bernama
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Bumiputera graduate unemployment and Malaysia’s world class education system – a recipe for disaster
by Greg Lopez, New Mandala, 6 Feb 2011

Graduate unemployment can be a bad thing. But Bumiputera unemployment can be explosive. The rise in Bumiputera graduate unemployment should worry Malaysians.

Anil Netto’s blog has the following statistics, gleaned from a parliamentary response provided to PKR Member of Parliament, William Leong in 2009:

In 2004, there were 4,594 unemployed graduates of whom 163 were Chinese, 207 were Indians and 4,060 were Malays;

In 2005, there were 2,413 unemployed graduates of whom 31 were Chinese, 70 were Indians and 2,186 were Malays;

In 2006, there were 56,750 unemployed graduates of whom 1,110 were Chinese, 1,346 were Indians and 50,594 were Malays.

In 2007, there were 56,322 unemployed graduates of whom 1,348 were Chinese, 1,401 were Indians and 49,075 were Malays.

In 2008 (as of June) there were 47,910 unemployed graduates of whom 1,403 Chinese, 4,694 Indians and 41,813 were Malays.

This more or less tallied with the 47,733 active graduate registrants on the Malaysian Labour Exchange in June 2008.

By March 2009, Najib was talking about 60,000 unemployed graduates. This was more or less in line with the 57,701 graduate registrants on the Exchange in March 2009.

By October 2009, we were looking at 81,046 active graduate registrants on the Labour Exchange – and another 70,747 active registrants who are diploma holders.

In 2010, it was reported that 30,000 graduates could not find employment six months after graduation.

Malaysia’s world class education system appears to have produced unemployable graduates with 90% of them bumiputeras.

Malaysia’s public sector historically performed the function of absopring Bumiputera graduates but with a bloating public sector but with critical shortages in skilled areas (doctors, nurses, science and mathematics teachers) and Malaysia’s fiscal position reaching worrying stage, this option is now limited.

The culprit appears to be Malaysia’s public universities. In 2006, 70% of graduates from public universities were unemployed with Universiti Teknologi MARA — the universiti exclusively for Bumiputeras — contributing the highest. William Leong also attributes Bumiputera graduate unemployment to mismatch – where public universities are not being in tune with industry needs and/or producing graduates that are not in demand.

Retraining them have produced dismal results but at a tremendous cost. Dr. Lim Teck Ghee of CPI cites that approximately RM500 million a year is spent on retraining these graduates.

It is the fervent hope that these unemployed Bumiputera graduates correctly identify Barisan Nasional’s policies and themselves for their predicament and not innocent bystanders such as the non – Malays.

[Editors note: UMNO and and its new partner PERKASA, have perfected the art of blaming non-Malays, especially the Malaysian Chinese community and sometimes, Western powers for the ills of the Malay community.]

Thousands more Bumiputeras are expected to graduate in the short and medium term. The Malaysian economy is expected to perform at a stable but mediocre 4.6% to 5% over 2011-2020. It is unclear if there will be sufficient number of jobs created for them or if these graduates will be able to compete for the jobs that are available in the private sector.

It is left to be seen how this rising tide of unemployable Bumiputera graduates will affect Barisan Nasional and Malaysia’s future.

[Editor’s note: This is not to suggest that Bumiputera graduates are not competent but merely to highlight that a large majority of them – 90% – have difficulty finding employment.]
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Employers’ Perceptions on Graduates in Malaysian Services Sector
International Business Management
Year: 2011 | Volume: 5 | Issue: 3 | Page No.: 184-193
http://www.medwelljournals.com/fulltext/?doi=ibm.2011.184.193

Extract:
“…Another factor that contributes to unemployment among graduates themselves is the quality of graduates. Employers’ are complaining that lots of graduates do not meet their requirements. Among the weaknesses of graduates are lack of soft skills and not performing well at work place. Graduates nowadays are expected to not only excel in academic but at the same time also equipped with soft skills.”

“…Besides that more opportunities to involve in international events should be given to graduates in order to open up their minds and at the same time improve their language proficiency especially English language.”
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Poor command of English affects job chances
by Teoh El Sen, FMT, June 9, 2011

In the competitive global environment, Malaysians are at a ‘slight disadvantage’ because English is recognised as an international business language

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians will be at a “slight disadvantage” in the competive global environment because of their poor command of English, said Jobstreet.com.

The online recruitment company recently placed Malaysia, behind Singapore and the Philippines in an English Language assessment test conducted in Asian countries.

“We are not that far off in the ranking but the third place does mean that we do have a slight disadvantage when we compete globally for businesses,” said JobStreet.com country manager Chook Yuh Yng.

Chook said there was a need to appreciate the importance of English proficiency as English is recognised as the international business language.

“Proficiency in English influences one’s ability to communicate effectively, and to articulate ideas and solutions well. It also affects self-confidencethe , ability to work in a team and excel, and so on,” said Chook.

“In a 2009 survey with employers, we found that lack of proficiency in English is also the one of the top three reasons for the unemployment rate among graduates,” said Chook.

She said that in a 2009 survey, 91% of companies surveyed said that English was their official business language.

She added that the lack of English proficiency was a “worrying trend” as the ability to communicate is among the five main criteria employers look for in job applicants.”

The JobStreet.com English language assessment test was conducted from November 2009 on 1.5 million workers in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. The test comprised 40 questions to evaluate an individual’s grasp of the language.

It had ranked Singaporeans first, Filipinos second, while Malaysians came in third. Thailand and Indonesia came in fourth and fifth respectively.

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