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Thursday, May 5, 2016

UiTM should face up to issue of intellectual property rights

UiTM's vice-chancellor must know that intellectual dishonesty and copyright infringements are serious issues that can very well tarnish the university's name.
uitm-ramasamyBy P Ramasamy
Contrary to what was said by UiTM Vice-Chancellor Professor Emeritus Hassan Said, nobody is accusing the university of plagiarism. The issue is more complex than this. There are allegations the university’s library uploaded 15 theses of former students of the MBA Executive programme of the University of Bath-Malaysian Institute of Management.
Since the theses are the copyright/intellectual property rights of this twinning programme, it was dishonest on the part of the UiTM library to have these items in its digital library.
My question to Hassan is simply this: how did UiTM allow for these theses to be uploaded in its library without written permission from the students or the institutions concerned?
Copyright rules are clear about intellectual property rights. What is more disconcerting is the fact that theses in UiTM’s library were used as if they were produced by students of this university.
Hassan has countered, saying there was no plagiarism involved. Yes, he is right, but we are not talking about plagiarism which refers to instances where students copy the work of others and pass them off as their own.
Violation of intellectual property rights comes in various forms. Outright plagiarism or to put it crudely, copying, is the lowest and most abused form. However in the case of UiTM, it uploaded the theses from the University of Bath-Malaysian Institute of Management, giving the false impression that these were the product of UiTM scholars.
Hassan should not be too defensive. He should not divert the issue by denying that plagiarism was involved in any way. He must confront the issue i.e. why UiTM, a public university, engaged in intellectual dishonesty, or in other words, “stole” the works of another university and passed it off as their own.
I hope Hassan as the person occupying the highest post in UiTM, takes the matter beyond preliminary investigations and offers more conclusive findings.
As an academician himself, he ought to know that intellectual dishonesty and copyright infringements are serious issues that have the potential to tarnish the reputation of institutions of higher learning.
Meanwhile I suggest that the students whose theses were uploaded to UiTM’s digital library allegedly without their permission, initiative some kind of legal action to get to the bottom of the matter.
No academic institution worthy of its name should be allowed to get away with intellectual dishonesty.
Public universities in Malaysia funded by taxpayers’ contributions should be made accountable to the public.
P Ramasamy is Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang.

Sg Siput Land Office forcefully evicts farmers

Eviction of farmers in Padang Tembak is a setback for PSM who has tried to defend the interests of those farming government land.
psm-farmersKUALA LUMPUR: The plan by members of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) to lobby state governments to initiate an amendment to the National Land Code has encountered a setback after officials from the Sg Siput Land Office forcefully evicted nine PSM-represented farmers from government land in Padang Tembak, Sungai Siput, Perak.
Personnel from the Sg Siput Land Office cleared away all structures at the chilli and papaya farms including cattle barns belonging to seven crop farmers and two cattle farmers.
“During the scuffle to clear the land, comrade Nagen from PSM was detained briefly when he tried to stop the eviction,” read a statement by PSM today.
The eviction followed previous reports that PSM lawmaker Michael Jeyakumar planned to lobby state governments to initiate amendments to the National Land Code that would require the setting-up of a special committee to look out for the interests of small farmers on government land.
It was also reported previously in 2015 that the nine farmers represented by PSM had been served a notice in April 2015 to vacate the land within two weeks or face a RM10,000 fine or jail sentence of one year.
“We filed an application for judicial review at the Taiping High Court in July 2015 asking the Court to order the Sg Siput Land Office to give us at least a one-year notice as well as assistance in finding an alternative site for farming and animal husbandry,” said PSM.
On April 13 this year, the Taiping High Court rejected PSM’s request.
PSM’s lawyers plan to take this matter to the Appeals Court, and will be putting in an application for a stay on the April 2015 eviction notice until the Appeals Court makes a decision.

Assemblyman took woman’s car without permission, court told

Penang Hospital's Nursing College deputy director tells magistrate Batu Uban assemblyman Dr T Jayabalan took her Mercedes-Benz without permission and ‘destroyed’ it.
GEORGE TOWN: A high-ranking civil servant told a Magistrate’s Court here that a Penang assemblyman had not obtained express consent before using her Mercedes-Benz car.
T. Saroja Devi, 57, who is the deputy director of Penang Hospital’s Nursing College, said the car was later involved in an accident and “destroyed”.
She claimed that Batu Uban Assemblyman Dr T Jayabalan did not have the courtesy to inform her that her car would be driven by a third party out of Penang.
“He (Jayabalan) took it for granted that having the keys to the car gave him the right to do as he liked with the car.
“He is morally wrong as he did not utter a single word to me that he had taken my car. Not even a single phone call from him.
“The car had met with an accident at the North-South Expressway… I made a police report only after finding out that the car had met with an accident,” she said during cross-examination by Jayabalan’s counsel, CV Prabhakaran.
Saroja had filed a suit against Jayabalan following the accident. She is seeking general and special exemplary damages, a compensation of RM15,000 for the car and loss of RM100 a day for not being able to use her car from the date of the accident.
Magistrate Aziana Azib had earlier heard that Saroja’s husband had given the car keys to two of Jayabalan’s assistants on Aug 22 after telling them to get her consent before using the car.
However, she said, Jayabalan had not called her to get her express consent or notify her of his intention to take her car out of Penang.
Saroja also told the court that Jayabalan did not offer any compensation after the accident.
“All I could remember was he came to my house and told me, “Hey! Your car is a scrap!”
Prabhakaran then asked Saroja if Jayabalan had offered to buy the car.
To this, Saroja said “yes”.
However, Saroja told Prabhakaran that Jayabalan did not agree to the price she wanted.
“My client has offered to buy your car, why didn’t you take it? He has also offered a settlement, why didn’t you take it?” Prabhakaran queried.
Saroja said the offer made by Jayabalan was “way too low” and hence she did not take it.
Saroja, in her statement of claim, said she had made a police report over her missing car on October 2014 and that Jayabalan had turned up at her home with another man, urging her to withdraw her report.
She had refused to do so. She said she made another police report on Nov 22 the same year after failing to get her car back.
Saroja added that her car was taken away on Aug 22 from her home in Bayan Lepas by Jayabalan’s assistants without her knowledge.
“A third party informed me that the car had been involved in an accident in the North-South Expressway, allegedly driven by a man called Ishak Mat.
“Jayabalan did not care about the accident and told me the car was ‘scrap’ and was ‘worthless’.”
S Raveentharan appeared for Saroja. The trial continues today, with Jayabalan taking the stand.

Analyst: BN to 'carpet bomb' Sarawak's rural north with goodies

S'WAK POLLS The ruling BN coalition is expected to "carpet bomb" Sarawak's rural north with little goodies in an effort to win over voters, says an analyst.
Universiti Malaya professor Awang Azman Awang Pawi told Malaysiakini the goodies will be in the form of "logistics support".
"Tomorrow, they will increase the transport and food allowance and other goodies," Awang Azman said.
This tactic, he added, would be carried out in Mulu, Marudi, Telang Usan and Ba'kelalan.
Based on his UM team's research, Awang Azman said, the BN's chances in these seats are currently 60-40 in Mulu; 55-45 in Telang Usan; and 50-50 in Marudi.
He added that the ruling coalition doesn't stand a chance in Ba'kelalan.
However, Awang Azman stressed, this reading does not take into account voters who are currently living outside the constituencies.

"About 30 to 35 percent of the voters live and work in urban areas, such as Kuching and Bintulu.
"They are aged 21 to 45. They will be the kingmakers."
Mulu is the site of a four-cornered fight among BN, DAP, PKR and an independent candidate.
Marudi is seeing a three-way battle among BN, PKR and an independent, while Telang Usan and Ba'kelalan are straight fights between BN and PKR.
Sarawak goes to the polls tomorrow. -Mkini

Sarawak sends Selangor MB back, PKR says 'black' day

S'WAK POLLS Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali flew to Kuching today – and was immediately sent on the flight back to Kuala Lumpur after Sarawak immigration authorities barred him from entering the state.
"The immigration officers decided to send me back on instructions of the state authority," Azmin told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, with reporters at Kuching airport hearing his statement via the handphone speaker of PKR vice-president Dr Xavier Jayakumar.
"I have received a notice of refusal from the Sarawak Immigration Department. I've been made to board the next flight to Kuala Lumpur immediately.
“This is a blatant disregard of the Immigration Act, where the spirit of the law is very clear. The authorities should not ban any political leader from entering Sarawak, especially during this election period," Azmin said.
He also urged Sarawakians to support PKR candidates to "send a strong message to the state authority, so this can be stopped".
Some 100 PKR supporters had turned up at the Kuching International Airport to welcome Azmin back.
Xavier said it was a "sad" and "black" day for Malaysia.
"This is a sad day. The chief minister (Adenan Satem) has abused his position by barring politicians. To do this to a chief of a state in Malaysia speaks volumes on the state of affairs in BN. We feel a great wrong has been done."
"We hope that this matter would be brought up in the next sitting of Parliament by our elected parliamentarians to set things right.
“This is legally and morally wrong, especially during an election period. Today is a black day for Malaysia," said Xavier (photo).
The PKR candidate for Batu Lintang, See Chee How, said state PKR supported the immigration autonomy of Sarawak.

"However, this is a clear abuse (of power). There are clear provisions on what the exemptions are. This is a menteri besar coming in for legitimate political activity. There is no way the menteri besar is doing anything wrong. We are definitely disappointed," See said
Azmin had previously entered Sarawak on April 29, and left on May 1, a day before his visa expired.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's stay in Sarawak was restricted to seven days and he was made to leave yesterday. -Mkini

Sarawakians, ensure PBB doesn’t become Umno-like

COMMENT As if barring 30-odd opposition leaders was insufficient to depict himself as practising ‘electoral authoritarianism’, to paraphrase Professor Andreas Schedler, or in simple term, a farce democracy, Adenan Satem ensures he cripples further the opposition by giving a deadline of May 5 for them to disappear from the ‘battle-ground’.
What an act of cowardice! What could be worst of an autocrat and one which truly makes a huge mockery of his imminent victory and a farce of democracy at its worst.
Never mind the many outrageous and long-standing practices of denying the opposition access to the mainstream media. Never mind the many blatant abuses of public funds in the billions as announced during campaign period by ministers, and money politics changing hands.
The only ‘democracy’ that is, is because there is an electoral process but a very far cry from any meaningful semblance of an equal and level playing field, much cherished by Bersih, the electoral watchdog.
This writer and his three other party seasoned campaigners; Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (MP for Kota Raja), Aminolhuda Hassan (former state assemblyperson for Parit Yaani, Johor) and Suhaizan Kayat (organising secretary of Parti Amanah Negara) were amongst those that were given limited visas and a deadline of May 5 to rid and banish themselves from Sarawak. Despicable!
Why the necessity to worsen further his image as an autocrat is extremely baffling, much as it is arguably constitutionally illegitimate.
Despite every polls analyst talking of his sure victory, Adenan is making absolutely certain that he reverses the trend that the opposition make definite inroad into Sarawak politics.
Adenan is particularly anxious of the continuing Chinese support for the opposition, evident in the last two elections of 2011 and 2013.
For that matter, the dwindling support of Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu for BN is equally worrying for him and his boss in Putrajaya. His main key performance indicator is now to arrest this emerging trend.
Campaigning in the battle-ground of the opposition-held seats has been stiff, though not obviously fierce.
Adenan’s cowardly acts were specifically aimed at reducing the intensity of this fight and stifling the opposition firepower, banning those in in the like of Amanah’s president Mohamad Sabu and parliamentarian Khalid Samad and DAP’s Tony Pua, et al.
The dismal and disgraceful state of the unfortunate Sarawakians after 53 years of forming a federation with Malaya, is what Adenan fears most to be exposed.
False illusion
He is surely under a false illusion that Sarawakians could be continuously deluded and conned.
His RM27 billion cash reserve is totally meaningless, if tap water in the homes is anything but clean and clear, while 183 (and more) dilapidated schools are still in a sorry state throughout Sarawak.
This writer witnessed the many sorry state of schools, longhouses and basic amenities like roads, etc, everywhere he campaigned.
It is both scandalous and ‘criminal’ for a government to subject their citizens to this state of abject deprivation, while they boast and gloat of their massive cash reserve.
The high cost of living, as a result of the recent Goods and Services Tax (GST) and withdrawal of subsidies, could have easily been absorbed and handled by a ‘caring and rich government’.
But only a strong willpower and tenacity could deliver a meaningful life to their rakyat. Will Adenan now deliver?

Well, be that as it may, into the last 24 hour of the only 10-day campaign period, it would be tactical, wise and pertinent that the Sarawakians take a long hard look before making their decision tomorrow.
Granted Adenan’s autocratic tendency, it is very dangerous to mandate him with too handsome a victory.
Only by mandating a strong opposition representation will PBB-BN be checked into not becoming a corrupt and dysfunctional government, like their counterparts of Umno-BN in peninsula Malaysia.
Only this will ensure ‘A Better Sarawak’ for the immediate future.
Otherwise, Sarawak would be doomed and act to their own detriment and peril!

DR DZULKEFLY AHMAD is strategy director, Parti Amanah Negara. ---Mkini

Body of woman found near helicopter debris site

The Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department has confirmed that the body of a woman was found this afternoon, near the site of the helicopter crash.
"Yes, the body of the woman was found at 12pm," state Fire and Rescue Department assistant director of operations, Farhan Sufyan Borhan, said.
The body was uncovered near the site where debris from the crashed helicopter was found earlier, along Sungai Batang Lupar, Farhan told Malaysiakini.
As of now, the identity of the woman is yet to be confirmed.
[More to follow]