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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Speak up for Ain or resign, Maszlee tells minister

 

Former education minister Maszlee Malik has questioned the silence from his successor Radzi Jidin and deputies.

PETALING JAYA: Former education minister Maszlee Malik has urged his successor Radzi Jidin and his two deputies to speak up over the issue involving schoolgirl Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam, who had revealed how a teacher had made inappropriate rape jokes recently.

In a series of Twitter posts, Maszlee urged Radzi and his deputies, Dr Mah Hang Soon and Muslimin Yahaya, to show some leadership instead of ignoring the matter.

Maszlee, who is MP for Simpang Renggam, said the issue brought to light by Ain was not an isolated incident but had been taking place for a long time and needed to be brought to an end.

“With the current attitude shown by the minister and his deputies towards this case, distrust between parents and schools will widen. They need to be more proactive or just resign!

“Schools should be the safest place for children!” he said.

Maszlee also urged the education ministry to implement a memo he had issued as education minister in December 2019, stating that teachers found guilty of physically or sexually abusing students must be sacked.

The memo also stated that teachers being investigated cannot be allowed to meet any student, adding that the transfer of such educators must be stopped immediately.

Why is the ministry silent, says parents’ group

The education ministry’s silence on Ain’s allegations was also questioned by the Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie), whose chairman asked if the ministry was condoning the teacher’s actions.

Magpie chairman Mak Chee Kin also cited reports that Ain had been issued a warning letter for skipping school, while no disciplinary action had been taken against the teacher in question and a classmate who had made rape threats.

He warned that there would be a drop in public esteem for schools and teachers if the ministry did not address this issue.

“The school’s management and education ministry owe us an explanation as to why the warning letter was given when her father had already met with the school management. What message are they giving to the students?

“To keep quiet even if you feel something isn’t right? To accept what is being taught in school blindly?

“The education ministry cannot sweep this issue under the carpet. We urge for swift action to be taken to prevent recurrence. Our girls need to be protected and schools need to be a safer place for all,” he said in a statement to FMT. - FMT

As schools close, some parents worry about children's education

 


After the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays, school sessions are set to resume with the home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) method for two weeks to prevent the spread of infections after the festival.

Although some parents are relieved by the decision, many are also worried if their children would be able to learn effectively.

The issue is also of concern as the implementation of PdPR previously had its weaknesses, including the problem of "digital poverty" as well as the gap in access to online education, which has caused many students, especially among the B40 group, to be left behind.

Even those who possess the required devices and have decent internet access claim that their children find it difficult to focus during PdPR as compared to the face-to-face learning process in school, which is deemed to be more effective.

Several opposition MPs in a joint statement today also expressed the concerns of many parties, especially parents and teachers regarding the development of children's education, as they may also fall behind in terms of the syllabus.

The MPs are Maszlee Malik, who is Pakatan Harapan Education Committee chairperson, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Teo Nie Ching and Hasan Baharom.

"Even more worrying is the fact that parents also do not know if their children are really learning and mastering the topics taught. Parents cannot check the exercise books, and the Education Ministry (MOE) has not provided a guide - physically, nor through any specific application - for parents to monitor their children's learning and development," read the statement.

The MPs are of the opinion that the MOE should provide self-learning materials to students with a new and flexible pedagogy to address the issue.

They also raised concerns with regard to students who will sit for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination this year, as the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) for long periods of time when they were in Form 4 last year as well as in Form 5 currently had affected their performance and learning.

According to them, if last year's SPM students were only affected during Form 5, this year’s students would be affected for almost two years.

"Therefore, this year's SPM students' mastery of Form 4 and 5 subjects is very much affected and is weak. The MOE should reduce the number of subject topics according to their actual period of study. The fact is, when they were in Form 4 last year, there was no organised PdPR, and it’s as if they have lost a year of studies,” they said.

In the meantime, the group suggested that the MOE use the Hotspot Identification for Dynamic Engagement (Hide) system to identify if it was suitable to close a particular school.

"For rural places that are not near any infection hotspots, nor have any movements in and out of their areas, the MOE should allow these schools to remain open, especially because the internet access is not adequate for them to undergo PdPR," he said.

Meanwhile, Anuar Ahmad from the Centre for Community Education and Wellbeing at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) said the PdPR method should be carried out in various forms, and not just focus on online learning.

He said this was because based on a study conducted, almost 60 percent of students did not have proper internet facilities and devices.

According to Anuar, all teachers should also already have a contingency plan in place to deal with any eventuality, including school closures.

"It means that if the school wants to close for 10 days, all teachers already have a set of PdPR notes in case the school closes. The school must be ready and have the photocopies ready. If the school is closed, they can distribute the notes. (For example) If it closes today, by tomorrow it (the notes) must be distributed to the students.

"If the school area has internet and students can afford it, they can do it online. This (distribution of physical notes) is for those who do not have internet or cannot afford it. So, when the notes are distributed, students will practice and continue learning even when they are at home," he said.

Apart from that, he said the method of learning through television and radio, such as DidikTV, also needs to be streamlined and expanded, so that it is used optimally.

"Another method is the outreach programme, where teachers go to the community. Teachers do not wait for students to come to school, but they themselves go to the students. Teachers in Sabah and Sarawak use this approach a lot.

“When teachers come to a house, the students there will inform friends living nearby to come and learn together," he added.

Bernama

More Pakatan MPs stand with student Ain Husniza called ‘Satan’s spawn’ by school principal over rape joke exposé

 Subang Jaya assemblyman Michelle Ng poses with a ‘#StandWithAin’ placard May 9, 2021. — Picture via Twitter/Michelle Ng

Subang Jaya assemblyman Michelle Ng poses with a ‘#StandWithAin’ placard May 9, 2021. — Picture via Twitter/Michelle Ng



KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 — Several more federal and state lawmakers from Pakatan Harapan have rallied behind student Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam in a growing solidarity movement after she was threatened with expulsion from her school for missing classes after she revealed a teacher’s rape joke.

The online movement dubbed “#StandWithAin” gained widespread traction amongst Opposition lawmakers and Malaysians on Twitter who held up placards in support, with lawmakers such as Teluk Intan MP Nga Kor Ming and Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen expressing their solidarity.

“#GenerasiKita No girl should be called ‘anak setan’ for speaking out. Say NO to cyberbullying! #StandWithAin,” Kelvin posted on Twitter in reference to uncouthed comments made against Ain by her headmistress on Facebook.

Other state lawmakers voicing similar sentiments included Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lim Yi Wei, Subang Jaya assemblyman Michelle Ng, Ketari assemblyman Young Syefura Othman, Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi Zi Sen and Ayer Keroh assemblyman Kerk Chee Yee.

In a series of comments, the Facebook account of the principal Sarimah Mohamed Nor (named “Aimanaizah Sarimahmohamednor”) called Ain “hypocrite”, “Satan’s spawn wearing headscarves”, and told Ain’s parents to “educate her with manners”.

The comments were left on a post promoting Ain and her mother Niza Sharifudin’s appearance in a Facebook live session with Khadijah Learning Centre on the topic of speaking up.

Earlier today, several MPs have called for swift action by the Ministry of Education towards the principal of SMK Puncak Alam after she purportedly left the comments against Ain on Facebook and labeled her “Satan’s spawn”.

“Don’t be a coward and take action before it is too late,” Muar MP Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman posted on Twitter last night.

“I stand firmly in solidarity with Ain.”

Similarly, Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto implored minister Radzi Jidin to take action after the comments.

“Would you tolerate this kind of language if your daughter was subjected to it?” she asked.

“Take action now. Suspend both teacher and headmistress pending investigation.”

On Twitter, Ain confirmed that the Facebook account that left the comments was of the principal.

Ain also said that she faces the possibility of being expelled for speaking up against the rape joke by the school’s teacher and the rape threat by her schoolmate.

She also clarified that she was not expelled yet but was threatened with expulsion after receiving her first warning letter for being absent in school three consecutive days without reasons.

Apart from federal and state lawmakers alike, cartoonist Zulkiflee SM Anwar Ulhaque better known as Zunar also conveyed his firm support to Ain, stating that no one should be labelled Satan’s spawn.

Ain had previously started a Twitter Hashtag #MakeSchoolASaferPlace that set Twitter abuzz and appeared among the top 10 trending topics in the country — with even celebrities sharing their personal stories of sexual harassment.

Her original post on Twitter was accompanied by the hashtag #MakeSchoolASaferPlace, in which she called out public figures such as former education minister Maszlee Malik, cartoonist Zunar and celebrity actress and singer Adibah Noor, to support the cause.- malaymail

Awie's manager admits to SOP breach, says fine paid

 

PETALING JAYA: The manager of Malaysian rock legend Datuk Ahmad Azhar Othman - better known as Awie (pic) - has admitted that his client and several others had violated Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP) recently.

“We made a mistake and flouted the standard operating procedure (SOP), we admitted it and paid the fine, ” Awie’s manager Mubarak Akhtar said in a short recording sent to the media on Sunday (May 9).

He was responding to a report by Sinar Harian over action being taken involving Awie after a police report was lodged over a 42-second viral video.

The video purportedly shows Awie and several individuals flouting the recovery MCO SOP while attending a humanitarian mission ceremony at a hotel in Jalan Hang Tuah, Melaka recently involving trishaw riders.

“What are we to do if such things are bound to happen. This was a mission to help the trishaw riders.

“They asked Awie to sing but Awie did not want to sing. So we played a music video in the front, ” Mubarak explained.

He said that Awie then stood up beside his table and was besieged by the trishaw riders.

Melaka state CID chief Asst Comm Mohd Sukri Kaman had confirmed earlier on Sunday that those involved in the event, including Awie and the organiser of the programme, would be called to Melaka Tengah police headquarters to give a statement. - Star

Believe in your children, says Ain Husniza's mother

 

Ain Husniza (left) and her mother Niza Sharifudin speaking at the Mother’s Day forum organised virtually by Khadijah Learning Centre on Sunday (May 9).

PETALING JAYA: In conjunction with the Mother’s Day celebration, Niza Sharifudin, the mother of 17-year-old Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam, has come out in support of her daughter’s efforts to make schools a safer place, as she urged parents to always believe in their children.

Niza, who spoke in a Mother’s Day forum organised by Khadijah Learning Centre with Ain on Sunday (May 9), also said that it is vital for parents to be a pillar of support for their children.

“Believe in your children. Because if they cannot complain to you, then who should they go to? If we don’t trust our children, then who else should they trust?

“So trust your children. As parents, we must also look after their safety, ” she said.

Admitting that she isn’t as strong as Ain and her husband Saiful Nizam Ab Wahab, Niza said she has been very worried for Ain, as the 17-year-old has since received many threats after she spoke out against a male PE teacher for making a distasteful joke about rape.

“I’m always worried about her safety after all these threats. I may not be as strong as her, but what is wrong, is wrong.

“For that, I believe in her and I support her.”

Describing herself as a “normal mother”, Niza said that Ain, as the eldest daughter in the family, had shared the responsibility with her in terms of caring for the family.

“When I’m not at home, Ain will care for the siblings. If I’m working, she will be cooking.”

Niza emphasized that trust, kindness and cooperation, are the qualities that she instils in her family.

“If it’s wrong, we tell them it’s wrong. If it’s right, then we praise them.”

Niza also said that she used to be a housewife in the past, but recently rejoined the workforce after Ain’s father fell sick.

At the same time, Niza said it is very important for schools to be a safe place so parents can have peace of mind when they send their children to school.

“I want schools where we can put trust in the teachers and make our students feel safe, ” she added.

Ain, who spoke alongside her mother, said it is disappointing that the Education Ministry hasn’t reached out to her since the incident made rounds on social media.

“Right now, we are getting a lot of support from kids my age and I’m overwhelmed. It’s also surprising to see how the Education Ministry hasn’t responded or reached out to me personally.”

Ain also advised her peers to be brave and open to criticisms, adding that it is important for youths to build their inner strength so that they can stand up against injustice.

“Fortunately, I have enough inner strength against the backlash.”

Ain also said that many students have since reached out to her after her TikTok video went viral, as she thanked everyone for their support towards her.

“Many students told me they went through the same thing and it makes me wonder that this is such a big issue in society.

“We need to end this now and we need to make sure that this issue is resolved.”

Earlier on Sunday (May 9), Ain had said she received her first warning notice of expulsion from school, for being absent for three days.

The warning letter came about despite her father Saiful Nizam having met with the school authorities to explain that his daughter did not feel safe in school.

Ain had made headlines after she uploaded a TikTok video detailing a male PE teacher as making distasteful jokes about rape in class, with the hashtag #MakeSchoolASaferPlace trending on social media. - Star

Health system needs social market reforms

 

From Geoffrey Williams

Fundamental reform of resources, management and, above all, governance will be needed for Malaysia to have a world-class health system after the Covid-19 crisis.

Three things are clear from the country’s battle with Covid-19.

First, Malaysia’s frontliners have a world-class commitment to this fight.

Second, under-resourcing of healthcare has been exposed to public scrutiny and concern.

Third, the relationship between the public and private sectors has fallen short of expectations and the leaders have resorted to public bickering in the midst of a global health crisis.

Malaysia needs and deserves a world-class, universal health system which should provide comprehensive, high-quality treatment, free of charge at the point of need, to everyone who needs it, when they need it.

Currently, the funding, management and governance of healthcare in Malaysia is not fit-for-purpose in delivering this aim.

Many people are not aware that almost half of Malaysia’s health spending comes from private sources. Out-of-pocket expenses account for around 38% of spending, according to health ministry data but private insurance accounts for only 7% and charities and private companies add another 4%.

This heavy reliance on private, out-of-pocket spending is problematic from an economic perspective.

Contrary to popular opinion, healthcare is not a public good because people can be denied access because of costs and the constraints on resources.

Economists say it is excludable and rival in consumption, which is the exact opposite of a public good.

Healthcare is formally a “merit good” or a private product provided through public means because it is beneficial and would be under-provided by the market if the private sector was left to its own devices.

Healthcare is also subject to multiple cases where the market fails to provide adequate or equitable coverage for people who need treatment.

Private insurance, for example, excludes people with costly long-term chronic illness or prior conditions. This in itself justifies public healthcare.

Other important causes of market failure in the private healthcare system include the problem of uninformed consumers.

Patients are not able to judge whether the treatment recommended is necessary, or is the right type or is being charged at the right price so they can’t make a proper decision as to whether they should buy it or not.

This also leads to a form of “moral hazard”, where unscrupulous private hospitals can take advantage of patients. Unnecessary treatments or tests are recommended because doctors and hospitals earn money from them and the “doctor knows best” imbalance puts vulnerable patients at a disadvantage.

Private health providers push curative rather than preventative healthcare because they don’t get paid so much if they prevent you from getting sick. They under-provide unprofitable healthcare such as physiotherapy and particularly long-term residential care, which accounts for less than 0.1% of private spending.

Overcharging

Overcharging is endemic because patients do not know the true price of treatment or whether it is necessary. Brand name medicines are overused because they have a bigger profit margin when compared to generic medicines.

Private hospitals deny overcharging but during this pandemic, a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur was fined RM200,000 for an offence under Section 11 of the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 when it charged RM11.20 for face masks which should cost only RM1.50.

Part of this failure arises because of the management culture, mostly run by clinicians without management qualifications. We would not expect an accountant to perform a successful tonsillectomy. So, why would we expect an ENT specialist to be a good financial manager?

Systemic management dysfunction is common, including “accidental managers”, where medical specialists become managers only for career progression. “Group think” causes resistance to innovation and growth. Key functions and intuitions can be captured by special interest groups.

A lack of diversity across age, gender, specialism and aptitude can lead to the “grumpy old men” syndrome that excludes important stakeholders, such as women practitioners.

Most importantly, patients, the largest and most important group of stakeholders, are actively excluded from healthcare management. If this happened in another industry, we would be shocked.

Poor management and leadership exacerbates the problems of market failure and leads to rigid, unresponsive management and poor resource decisions which damage patients’ confidence in the long term.

These ideas are well understood by economists, especially with the social market economy framework which provides solutions based on good governance of private markets.

The principle of liability within the social market ensures that there is a balance between buyers and sellers and the principle of public provision of merit goods and the principle of solidarity ensures that no-one is excluded due to market or management failures.

In terms of governance, many recent cases in the public domain show how dangerous the private healthcare market can be for patients. A prominent lawyer from Penang is suing three hospitals and eight doctors over a wrong cancer diagnosis.

International media reported that a highly regarded Malaysian journalist was assaulted by a doctor in a private clinic. An award-winning regional news portal has reported multiple issues of malpractice among a group of Malaysian doctors at a local private hospital.

If you follow a Federal Court decision in September 2017, private hospitals are not generally liable for negligence by independent medical practitioners who practise there.

The lawyers who won this case for the hospital celebrate the decision and the RM100,000 in legal costs awarded in their favour but for patients the effects of this decision are chilling.

First, it denies them any general claim against hospitals for negligence and malpractice by the doctors they recommend and credentialise.

Second, it encourages a moral hazard in which private hospitals can reduce the monitoring of doctors because they are protected from legal liability when the doctors misbehave.

Third, for international medical tourists, in particular, it signals that patients are on their own if anything goes wrong because the private hospitals will not look after them.

The public sector is also not immune as recent cases of abuse of female doctors by male superiors and the abuse of junior housemen reveals.

There appears to be a systemic governance problem in the medical profession which harms the customers of medical services and exacerbates market failure.

Cover-ups by the Malaysian medical fraternity have been widely reported by leading local and regional investigative journalists.

Even a former president of the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) has publicly called out mismanagement and conflicts of interest in the governing body of the Malaysian medical profession.

Given this background, the need for a national discussion on the economics, management and governance in Malaysian healthcare has never been more urgent.

Above all, the statutory, civil law and regulatory protection of patients as customers in the private healthcare market denudes them of feasible remedies at law.

This is made worse by the governance system within the MMC, particularly the private sector members, which protects doctors at the expense of patient welfare as a matter of standard practice so that the private system is not properly regulated within a social market framework. - FMT

Professor Geoffrey Williams is an economist at Malaysia University of Science and Technology.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

Langgar SOP, tapak niaga trak makanan jambatan angkat diarah tutup

 

Tapak perniagaan trak makanan di jambatan angkat Terengganu diarah tutup tujuh hari selepas berlaku pelanggaran SOP. (Gambar Facebook)

KUALA TERENGGANU: Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Terengganu mengesahkan tapak perniagaan trak makanan di jambatan angkat ditutup selama tujuh hari selepas gagal mematuhi SOP.

Pengarah Kesihatan Negeri Terengganu, Dr Nor Azimi Yunus, berkata penutupan bermula hari ini hingga 15 Mei itu berkuat kuasa bawah Seksyen 18 (1) (f) Akta Pencegahan dan Pengawalan Penyakit Berjangkit 1988 (Akta 342).

“Notis perintah tutup premis telah dikeluarkan bagi tujuan menjalankan kerja mencegah bermulanya atau merebaknya sesuatu penyakit berjangkit di lokasi terbabit.

“Arahan penutupan susulan satu operasi bersepadu yang dijalankan malam tadi melibatkan Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri bersama polis dan Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu (MBKT),” katanya ketika dihubungi Bernama. - FMT