Malaysia’s own game of thrones

Malaysia’s own game of thrones

If we take the idea of democracy as implying the elevation of the voice of the masses and compare it with the idea of monarchy, the elevation of an individual voice, then we obviously have something of an ideological clash, though our system does give a passing nod to the idea of royal opinion having an effect on the making of law. That being said, royal consent for laws was made little more than a formality after the constitutional crisis of 1993.

Given the roots of the crisis and Johor’s role in it, one can understand why Sultan Ibrahim of Johor is reportedly seeking the re-establishment of the monarchy’s power to approve legislation. Under the Federal Constitution, as it was amended in 1993, a bill becomes law 30 days after Parliament passes it, regardless of whether the King approves.

The Sultan has called the curbing of royal power inappropriate and is seeking the relevant constitutional amendments necessary to restore royal authority to approve or veto legislation. Some elements have welcomed the Sultan’s call, judging by comments on social media.

It is understandable why the Sultan’s suggestion has appeal. The ruling government has long been in need of a check-and-balance mechanism. In the absence of a strong and vibrant parliamentary opposition, checks and balances provided by even-handed, fair rulers guided by noblesse oblige would be the last barrier against the excesses of the executive branch of government.

The Johor royals, in particular, have lately endeared themselves to the people of Malaysia like never before. For example, Crown Prince Tunku Ismail is a tremendously popular figure among the youth. The Sultan and the Prince have built this love around their Bangsa Johor rhetoric and have demonstrated a fiercely independent streak. Today, they can be considered among Malaysia’s most influential royals, not because of the powers conferred on them, but because they are seen as leaders who contribute to the shaping of the nation’s consciousness, press release by press release.

However, the DAP’s Ramkarpal Singh has raised some valid points that bring us back to the question of how a constitutional monarchy fits into the idea of democracy. While the two can complement each other, a royal ruler is nonetheless ruler by right of extraordinary privilege while a politician can come from any background and thus be supported by the people as one of their own. He leads by right of having earned votes.

But an apolitical monarchy, like the one currently headed by Queen Elizabeth II, also has its uses as a neutral institution. The English royal family is like a branch of a state department, earning its keep by performing diplomatic functions.

But the true argument against empowering royalty rests on the fact that agendas and policies change with each ruler, who is, furthermore, not vetted by the people. It is because of this that kingdoms have risen and fallen. While we do live in the modern age, we are often reminded of that fact when we become aware of unfair elections and the like, which keep a dominant party and a dominant ideology in power, not necessarily in accordance with the wishes of the people.

Nonetheless, the Sultan’s proposal is interesting indeed. On this, it is perhaps best to concur with historian Khoo Kay Khim, who feels like it is us, the public, who should decide whether or not to restore power to the monarchy. After all, we are a democracy, and it is still our choice, nominally at least.

Malaysia’s own game of thrones

Malaysia’s own game of thrones

If we take the idea of democracy as implying the elevation of the voice of the masses and compare it with the idea of monarchy, the elevation of an individual voice, then we obviously have something of an ideological clash, though our system does give a passing nod to the idea of royal opinion having an effect on the making of law. That being said, royal consent for laws was made little more than a formality after the constitutional crisis of 1993.

Given the roots of the crisis and Johor’s role in it, one can understand why Sultan Ibrahim of Johor is reportedly seeking the re-establishment of the monarchy’s power to approve legislation. Under the Federal Constitution, as it was amended in 1993, a bill becomes law 30 days after Parliament passes it, regardless of whether the King approves.

The Sultan has called the curbing of royal power inappropriate and is seeking the relevant constitutional amendments necessary to restore royal authority to approve or veto legislation. Some elements have welcomed the Sultan’s call, judging by comments on social media.

It is understandable why the Sultan’s suggestion has appeal. The ruling government has long been in need of a check-and-balance mechanism. In the absence of a strong and vibrant parliamentary opposition, checks and balances provided by even-handed, fair rulers guided by noblesse oblige would be the last barrier against the excesses of the executive branch of government.

The Johor royals, in particular, have lately endeared themselves to the people of Malaysia like never before. For example, Crown Prince Tunku Ismail is a tremendously popular figure among the youth. The Sultan and the Prince have built this love around their Bangsa Johor rhetoric and have demonstrated a fiercely independent streak. Today, they can be considered among Malaysia’s most influential royals, not because of the powers conferred on them, but because they are seen as leaders who contribute to the shaping of the nation’s consciousness, press release by press release.

However, the DAP’s Ramkarpal Singh has raised some valid points that bring us back to the question of how a constitutional monarchy fits into the idea of democracy. While the two can complement each other, a royal ruler is nonetheless ruler by right of extraordinary privilege while a politician can come from any background and thus be supported by the people as one of their own. He leads by right of having earned votes.

But an apolitical monarchy, like the one currently headed by Queen Elizabeth II, also has its uses as a neutral institution. The English royal family is like a branch of a state department, earning its keep by performing diplomatic functions.

But the true argument against empowering royalty rests on the fact that agendas and policies change with each ruler, who is, furthermore, not vetted by the people. It is because of this that kingdoms have risen and fallen. While we do live in the modern age, we are often reminded of that fact when we become aware of unfair elections and the like, which keep a dominant party and a dominant ideology in power, not necessarily in accordance with the wishes of the people.

Nonetheless, the Sultan’s proposal is interesting indeed. On this, it is perhaps best to concur with historian Khoo Kay Khim, who feels like it is us, the public, who should decide whether or not to restore power to the monarchy. After all, we are a democracy, and it is still our choice, nominally at least.

The changing face of nursing

The changing face of nursing

By Dr Chris Anthony

Nurses’ Day which falls on May 12 is a day to honour our nurses for their hard work and dedication in caring for the sick and dying. It is the birthday of Florence Nightingale who is credited as being the creator of modern, professional nursing, the fraternity to which our nurses belong.

I asked a retired nursing matron the other day what she thought about profession today. Without hesitation she said, “It is not as good as it used to be. I miss the days when nursing used to be a real vocation, not just a form of employment as it is now”. This sentiment unfortunately is shared by most other senior and retired nursing staff.

One could argue that many senior nurses feel this way because they are ill-prepared to handle the sophisticated systems of operations in the medical field today. Nevertheless in the name of progress and modernisation, we must admit that we have lost some of the cherished values of the nursing profession of the past – the personal human touch, which is so important in the care of the sick. In fact the virtues of empathy and human touch are the basic qualities that makes the nursing profession exceptionally unique and noble.

Nursing the sick is no ordinary task especially when those nursed are total strangers and there is no love attached to them whatsoever. It used to be a vocation where a nurse had to have some feelings for fellow men who were sick and dying, the absence of which made it extremely difficult to be a good nurse. However with today’s advances in medicine, this human touch is slowly but surely being replaced by high-tech mechanisation.

Moreover with commercialisation, privatisation and lately corporatisation of the medical services, not only are our nurses losing the human touch, they are being subjected to numerous clerical and accounting jobs, leaving little or no time for true nursing duties for which they were trained. The corporations they work for are driven solely by monetary profits and in this system there is little or no appreciation for the loyalty and dedication of the nurses who are often abused not only by the authorities but by patients and their relatives when things go wrong.

Not only are hospitals run like big corporations, even the training of nurses are corporatised. As such nurses are churned out in large numbers with many receiving inadequate clinical training as opposed to the situation before. Therefore we have a situation where hospitals are flooded with poorly trained junior nurses who have to cope with the management of patients relying mostly on the theoretical knowledge they have. The sad thing is there are hardly any seniors to guide them as the majority have migrated to greener pastures.

Nurses today work under great difficulties and are under tremendous pressure from within and without. The demands on them are tremendous, at times almost unreasonable. Amidst these limitations we salute those who still hold on to the age-old tradition of offering a smile and a personal touch when the sick and dying need it most.

The nursing profession is in for major changes as it strives to meet the present day needs of the people which have become extremely complex. We may not have the Nightingale model of nursing education anymore but of course we can adopt a system to produce our own Nightingales who can care for our sick with passion and with a human touch.

The adage, “Doctors diagnose nurses cure” highlights the extremely vital role nurses play in the total care of the sick. While the technical aspects of the profession may change with progress, the basic needs of the sick, love and concern, will forever remain unchanged.

Happy Nurses Day!

Dr Chris Anthony is an FMT reader.

With a firm belief in freedom of expression and without prejudice, FMT tries its best to share reliable content from third parties. Such articles are strictly the writer’s personal opinion. FMT does not necessarily endorse the views or opinions given by any third party content provider.

The changing face of nursing

The changing face of nursing

By Dr Chris Anthony

Nurses’ Day which falls on May 12 is a day to honour our nurses for their hard work and dedication in caring for the sick and dying. It is the birthday of Florence Nightingale who is credited as being the creator of modern, professional nursing, the fraternity to which our nurses belong.

I asked a retired nursing matron the other day what she thought about profession today. Without hesitation she said, “It is not as good as it used to be. I miss the days when nursing used to be a real vocation, not just a form of employment as it is now”. This sentiment unfortunately is shared by most other senior and retired nursing staff.

One could argue that many senior nurses feel this way because they are ill-prepared to handle the sophisticated systems of operations in the medical field today. Nevertheless in the name of progress and modernisation, we must admit that we have lost some of the cherished values of the nursing profession of the past – the personal human touch, which is so important in the care of the sick. In fact the virtues of empathy and human touch are the basic qualities that makes the nursing profession exceptionally unique and noble.

Nursing the sick is no ordinary task especially when those nursed are total strangers and there is no love attached to them whatsoever. It used to be a vocation where a nurse had to have some feelings for fellow men who were sick and dying, the absence of which made it extremely difficult to be a good nurse. However with today’s advances in medicine, this human touch is slowly but surely being replaced by high-tech mechanisation.

Moreover with commercialisation, privatisation and lately corporatisation of the medical services, not only are our nurses losing the human touch, they are being subjected to numerous clerical and accounting jobs, leaving little or no time for true nursing duties for which they were trained. The corporations they work for are driven solely by monetary profits and in this system there is little or no appreciation for the loyalty and dedication of the nurses who are often abused not only by the authorities but by patients and their relatives when things go wrong.

Not only are hospitals run like big corporations, even the training of nurses are corporatised. As such nurses are churned out in large numbers with many receiving inadequate clinical training as opposed to the situation before. Therefore we have a situation where hospitals are flooded with poorly trained junior nurses who have to cope with the management of patients relying mostly on the theoretical knowledge they have. The sad thing is there are hardly any seniors to guide them as the majority have migrated to greener pastures.

Nurses today work under great difficulties and are under tremendous pressure from within and without. The demands on them are tremendous, at times almost unreasonable. Amidst these limitations we salute those who still hold on to the age-old tradition of offering a smile and a personal touch when the sick and dying need it most.

The nursing profession is in for major changes as it strives to meet the present day needs of the people which have become extremely complex. We may not have the Nightingale model of nursing education anymore but of course we can adopt a system to produce our own Nightingales who can care for our sick with passion and with a human touch.

The adage, “Doctors diagnose nurses cure” highlights the extremely vital role nurses play in the total care of the sick. While the technical aspects of the profession may change with progress, the basic needs of the sick, love and concern, will forever remain unchanged.

Happy Nurses Day!

Dr Chris Anthony is an FMT reader.

With a firm belief in freedom of expression and without prejudice, FMT tries its best to share reliable content from third parties. Such articles are strictly the writer’s personal opinion. FMT does not necessarily endorse the views or opinions given by any third party content provider.

Sumpah saya tak buat, cikgu!

Sumpah saya tak buat, cikgu!

Oleh Khairul Naim Rafidi

Tulisan ini saya nukilankan supaya isi hati yang terbuku, sejak usia belasan tahun kesampaian. Adalah sesuatu yang tidak adil jika saya tidak dapat berkata apa-apa hanya kerana runsing sekiranya hilang ‘keberkatan’ yang sering dicanang di semua peringkat institut pendidikan.

Masih segar dalam ingatan saya, sejak tingkatan satu, sering sahaja saya keluar masuk ke bilik disiplin untuk berbagai-bagai kesalahan. Ketika itu di sekolah kami menggunakan sistem mata penalti.

Saya tidak pasti bagaimana mekanisme ini bergerak sekarang. Tetapi, perkara yang saya rasa masih begitu segar dalam kotak fikiran adalah wajah runsing ibu dan ayah saya demi melihat keadaan anaknya pada waktu itu.

Denda, gantung, buang

Saya tidak dapat ingat secara spesifik kali terakhir saya masuk ke ‘tribunal’ ketika tingkatan lima dahulu.

Seingat saya, ketika itu hanya tinggal beberapa minggu sahaja sebelum kami hendak menduduki peperiksaan SPM. Saya yakin, Aidil ‘Boxer’ (bukan nama sebenar) tidak mungkin akan lupa detik-detik tersebut.

Saya telah cuba untuk mencari ‘planner’ yang digunakan untuk mencatat segala perkara yang berlaku pada tahun itu tetapi tidak jumpa. Tidak mengapa, mungkin kalau terjumpa saya akan ceritakan kisah-kisah tersebut untuk masa yang akan datang.

Berbalik kepada cerita asal, saya yakin rakan-rakan ‘seangkatan’ pasti akan ingat tiga frasa yang memainkan peranan dalam menentukan nasib dan survival ketika berada di sekolah dahulu; denda, gantung dan buang.

Kadang-kala pelajar tidak dapat tidur malam dengan nyenyak kerana dalam kes-kes yang agak berat, siasatan akan mengambil masa beberapa hari. Selalunya, selepas sekolah pelajar yang menjadi suspek akan dipanggil semula untuk siasatan. Misalnya, kes buli dan pukul pelajar beramai-ramai.

Berbanding kes-kes ringan seperti menghisap rokok (yang selalunya ‘kantoi caught red-handed), kebiasaannya hukuman akan dijatuhkan pada waktu itu juga.

Adakah wujud perbicaraan?

Kata orang tua, kalau tiada angin, masakan pokok bergoyang. Saya percaya ramai yang ditangkap kebanyakannya memang melakukan kesalahan di sekolah.

Tetapi daripada semua kes, saya juga percaya, mungkin dalam 30 % pelajar yang dihukum hanya bersalah kerana bersubahat, kebetulan di tempat kejadian dan mungkin juga tidak langsung melakukan kesalahan.

Ini hanya tanggapan dan tidak semestinya betul. Saya hanya bercakap berlandaskan pengalaman-pengalaman peribadi yang saya yakin benar.

Berdasarkan Seksyen 130 (2) (g) Akta Pendidikan 1996, Menteri mempunyai kuasa untuk membuat sebarang peraturan yang bersesuaian bagi memastikan disiplin di sekolah-sekolah di Malaysia dikawal dengan rapi.

Maka, pihak sekolah dalam mengendalikan hal-hal berkaitan disiplin sekolah akan merujuk kepada Peraturan – Peraturan Pelajaran (Disiplin Sekolah) 1959. Peraturan ini merupakan suatu panduan kepada pihak sekolah dalam menjalankan kuasa-kuasanya untuk memastikan keselamatan dan ketenteraman di kawasan sekolah.

Saya kira peraturan ini adalah suatu undang-undang klasik kerana ia dibuat atas kuasa yang diberikan kepada Menteri Pendidikan Pertama, iaitu Allahyarham Tan Sri Mohamed Khir Johari.

Hanya beberapa hukuman penting yang akan dibincangkan di dalam tulisan ini.

Menurut pembacaan saya berkenaan dengan hukuman dera (corporal punishment), jelas bahawa Peraturan 5 akan terpakai.

Dalam Peraturan ini, guru besar/pengetua sesebuah sekolah mempunyai kuasa untuk menjalankan hukuman yang beliau rasakan perlu dan bermanfaat bagi tujuan menjaga disiplin pelajar di sekolah dengan syarat ; hukuman dera kepada murid perempuan adalah dilarang, dan hukuman rotan oleh seseorang guru biasa atau kakitangan sekolah hanya dibenarkan di tapak tangan.

Manakala, bagi hukuman rotan dipunggung ia hendaklah dijalankan oleh seorang guru besar/pengetua melainkan kuasa diberikan kepada pihak lain dalam situasi tertentu. Hukuman juga mesti dijalankan secara munasabah. Misalnya, punggung yang hendak dirotan harus berlapik dengan pakaian.

Saya berpendapat bagi hukuman dera, kita tidak mempunyai masalah atau isu-isu besar. Jika ada pun mungkin isu kemunasabahan seperti teknik menghayun rotan, serta jenis-jenis rotan yang digunakan.

Namun begitu, hasil penelitian saya terhadap suatu kerja kerja yang dikeluarkan oleh Sektor Pengurusan Pembangunan Kemanusiaan, Bahagian Sekolah, kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia, antara perkara yang ditekankan adalah hukuman dera seperti menumbuk, menampar, mencubit, mengetuk dengan tangan atau pembaris serta ketuk-ketampi dan seumpamanya adalah dilarang sama sekali kerana hukuman dera di bawah Peraturan 5 sahaja dibenarkan oleh undang-undang.

Jika kita imbas kembali, hukuman seperti ini sudah biasa menjadi kebiasaan untuk kita lihat. Selepas membaca peraturan ini, saya baru tersedar bahawa hukuman-hukuman tersebut adalah dilarang. Lihat, betapa kesedaran kita tentang isu undang-undang adalah kurang sama sekali.

Kedua, perkara yang sangat penting untuk ditekankan adalah berdasarkan Peraturan 8, guru besar/pengetua adalah dibenarkan untuk menggantung atau membuang pelajar sekiranya ia perlu bagi tujuan menjaga ketenteraman sekolah.

Penggantungan sekolah terbahagi kepada dua jenis. Pertama, gantung yang bertujuan untuk mengasingkan pelajar yang liar daripada masuk ke sekolah supaya siasatan untuk sesuatu kesalahan dapat dilengkapkan secepat mungkin. Kedua adalah gantung sebagai hukuman. Ia adalah suatu arahan kepada pelajar supaya tidak masuk ke kawasan sekolah. Arahan ini tidak boleh lebih daripada 14 hari.

Manakala, bagi hukuman buang sekolah, ia adalah salah satu tindakan yang dijalankan sekiranya seseorang pelajar melakukan kesalahan berulang-kali dan tidak berubah walaupun tindakan pemulihan telah dijalankan.

Harus diingat bahawa kedua-dua hukuman dan gantung hanya boleh dijalankan atas kuasa guru besar/pengetua sahaja. Sekiranya ia diputuskan oleh lembaga disiplin sekolah, maka ia akan menjadi ‘void and of no legal effect’. Dalam erti kata lain, sekiranya keputusan tersebut dicabar ke mahkamah, ia tidak boleh dipertahankan lagi kerana jelas berdasarkan Peraturan 4 dan Peraturan 8, hanya guru besar/pengetua sahaja yang mempunyai kuasa budi bicara terhadap kedua-dua hukuman berat ini.

Berdasarkan maklumat ringkas di atas, persoalan yang saya ingin timbulkan, adakah benar wujud perbicaraan untuk hukuman-hukuman di atas? Walaupun di dalam suatu kertas kerja yang disediakan oleh Kementeri Pelajaran menekankan bahawa prosedur menghukum haruslah dijalankan menurut aturan yang disediakan oleh Kementerian, tetapi adakah pasti undang-undang tersebut akan dipatuhi?

Suatu maklumat di dalam sebuah blog guru mengatakan bahawa pelajar yang hendak digantung atau dibuang harus diberikan peluang untuk membela diri serta hak untuk di dengar.

Tetapi, saya khuatir, adakah peluang tersebut hanya diberikan oleh 100% guru di Malaysia? Atau hanya golongan yang berpegang kepada keadilan sahaja? Itu suatu persoalan yang kita harus jawab.

Selain itu, dalam keadaan runsing didakwa di sekolah serta ditambah pula dengan bayangan wajah ibu dan ayah di dalam benak fikiran, saya tidak rasa pelajar akan berani untuk membela diri.

Pelajar biasanya akan tunduk, diam, atau mengaku sahaja bagi mengelak dikenakan tindakan lebih berat. Itu belum masuk pengakuan melalui dorongan dan balasan dilepaskan lagi.

Pada bahagian ini, bukan tujuan saya untuk mempertikai tanggungjawab besar dan kerja seorang pendidik mahupun membela pelajar yang bermasalah, tetapi zaman sudah berubah.

Justeru, perkara-perkara ini harus dimasukkan di dalam undang-undang bertulis. Undang-undang klasik seperti Peraturan-Peraturan Pelajaran (Disiplin Sekolah) 1959 haruslah disemak dan diperbaiki kerana banyak lubang-lubang yang harus ditutup bagi memberi keadilan dan dalam masa yang sama mendidik pelajar dengan cara yang menurut perkembangan semasa.

Pekeliling dan panduan berdasarkan kertas kerja adalah tidak mencukupi. Terdapat ruang yang begitu luas untuk penyalahgunaan kuasa, kerana di akhirnya kira harus sedar guru juga manusia biasa.

Isu keadilan asasi (natural justice)

Isu keadilan asasi adala perkara yang tidak boleh diambil mudah oleh semua pihak.

Ketika melepak bersama beberapa rakan sebentar tadi, saya tergelak kerana mendengar cerita Toby (bukan nama sebenar) yang menceritakan pengalamannya menghadapi siasatan salah laku di sekolah dahulu.

Dengan nada berseloroh beliau cuba untuk membina pembelaan yang saya kira jenis alibi dengan mengucapkan kata “sumpah saya tak buat, cikgu! Cikgu nampak ke saya buat macam tu?” Sedar tidak sedar panas juga pipi dihinggap tangan waktu itu. Saya kata, “itu biasa, apa lah nak dihairankan.”

Menurut undang-undang asas, Perkara 8 Perlembagaan Persekutuan meletakkan bahawa setiap orang adalah sama dan wajar mendapat perlindungan yang sama di sisi undang-undang.

Walaupun saya berpendapat bahawa pihak berkuasa disiplin sekolah yang diketuai oleh guru besar/pengetua tidak diharapkan bertindak seperti di mahkamah, saya percaya keadilan dan layanan yang sama rata harus diberikan.

Pelajar adalah aset dalam negara, berbanding dengan kes-kes jenayah berat di luar yang biasanya sukar dipulihkan, pelajar harus dibicarakan dan diberi peluang yang mencukupi selaras dengan konsep “Audi Alteram Partem” atau hak untuk didengari.

Walaupun sebanyak mana pekeliling atau kertas kerja dikeluarkan bahawa pelajar dibenarkan untuk membela diri, saya yakin dan percaya bahawa hak ini tidak akan dapat diamalkan jika ia tidak diuar-uarkan kepada umum dan diletakkan di dalam undang-undang bertulis. Dalam masa yang sama, metod-metod bagi asas undang-undang serta tatatertib haruslah diajar.

Prosedur yang adil harus ditekankan dalam tindakan tatatertib di sekolah. Ini jelas menurut satu nas undang-undang di dalam kes Suraya Amdah v Ketua Setiausaha Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia [2015] MLJU 915 apabila hakim Mahkamah Tinggi YA Collin Lawrence Sequerah JC menyebut ;

“In modern and even in ancient civilizations of any note, the fundamental principle has always been that in any action which may adversely affect or impact an individual’s rights, such ought to be given an opportunity to be heard and to defend themselves. The Romans encapsulated these notions into the twin concepts of “audi alteram partem” and “nemo judex in causa sua” which translated in English meant, the right to a fair hearing and the rule against bias, respectively. It would therefore seem that the general idea underlying this concept is that injustice is to be avoided in a situation which involves any erosion of the fundamental rights of an individual by a decision maker. Since no one ought to be condemned unheard, the concept of natural justice as of necessity therefore, would appear to translate into an almost inalienable right of an individual to demand the right to a hearing.”

Walaupun nas ini adalah tentang semakan kehakiman kakitangan kerajaan, saya percaya bahawa ia juga terpakai untuk hal tatatertib di sekolah kerana undang-undang tertinggi di dalam Perkara 8 jelas meletakkan layanan harus diberikan sama tidak kira kedudukan, jawatan, ras, kaum dan warna kulit.

Sekali lagi, buat pembaca yang tidak bersetuju, saya tidak mengharapkan suatu undang-undang yang mirip kepada mahkamah untuk diimplementasikan di sekolah kerana saya jelas bahawa unit disiplin sekolah merupakan ‘Quasi – judicial body’ atau badan separa kehakiman. Tujuan pembaharuan ini adalah untuk memastikan keadilan dapat dilaksana dan proses pendidikan dapat berjalan dengan lancar.

Peranan kerajaan dan Majlis Peguam

Pertama sekali, undang-undang klasik yang saya sebut di atas iaitu Peraturan-Peraturan Pelajar (Disiplin Pelajar) 1959 haruslah disemak oleh Menteri Pendidikan, Dato’ Seri Mahdzir Khalid. Peruntukan-peruntukan di dalam peraturan tersebut harus dipinda dan diperbaharui rohnya supaya sesuai dengan konteks masa kini.

Prosedur-prosedur seperti hak pelajar untuk menjawab kes bersabit (prima facie) dan membela diri haruslah dimasukkan di dalam undang-undang bertulis tersebut. Sebaran pekeliling sahaja tidak mencukupi kerana ia terbuka untuk penyalahgunaan.

Saya juga mencadangkan supaya ditambah suatu peruntukan penting iaitu pelajar boleh diwakili oleh pelajar lain, guru atau kakitangan sekolah. Hal ini penting kerana dalam sesetengah kes, pelajar tidak mampu untuk bercakap. Hal in mungkin sahaja kerana takut atau tidak faham akan prosiding yang dijalankan.

Maka, hak untuk diwakili juga harus ditekankan di dalam undang-undang tersebut. Kegagalan pelajar tersebut untuk bercakap bagi pihak dirinya sendiri tidak membataskan nikmat keadilan untuk diberikan kepadanya.

Selain itu, pelajar-pelajar juga harus diberi kesedaran bahawa mereka mempunyai hak untuk membela diri sebagai warganegara. Kesedaran undang-undang harus dipupuk sejak kecil. Dengan melaksanakan perubahan ini, kos dapat dijimatkan bagi kempen-kempen kesedaran perlembagaan dan undang-undang untuk masa akan datang.

Kedua, Majlis Peguam juga mempunyai tanggungjawab besar dalam isu ini. Misalnya, Majlis Peguam harus mencadangkan penubuhan kelab perlembagaan dan undang-undang di sekolah bagi tujuan memberi pengajaran tentang asas-asas undang-undang. Sebagaimana Rotary Club dan Lions Clubs yang sudah sekian lama masuk ke sekolah-sekolah bagi meningkatkan aktiviti kesukarelawan di peringkat rendah, begitu juga Majlis Peguam harus berusaha memupuk semangat tentang konsep keadilan dan hak sebagai seorang manusia, selaras dengan moto mereka iaitu “Keadilan Melalui Undang-Undang”.

Bagi menyokong usaha kerajaan yang saya sebut di atas, Majlis Peguam boleh memberikan latihan asas tentang prosedur-prosedur menghadapi prosiding badan separa kehakiman iaitu lembaga disiplin sekolah. Dalam erti kata yang lebih menarik, ahli kelab perlembagaan dan undang-undang yang disebutkan boleh menjadi ‘peguam-peguam’ muda yang mungkin sahaja berpontensi untuk masa akan datang!

Kesimpulan

Akhir sekali, saya sedar bahawa perkara yang diperkatakan di atas adalah suatu cadangan yang idealis, dan mungkin sahaja ‘utopia’ bagi sesetengah individu. Namun, saya melihat bahawa nasib pelajar-pelajar harus dibela sebagaimana nasib para buruh, kakitangan kerajaan dan rakyat miskin. Kita sering terlupa bahawa pelajar merupakan aset dan proses pendidikan harus dijalankan dengan cara berhikmah dan berkesan. Sekali lagi saya ingin tekankan bahawa bukan tujuan saya untuk menyalahkan barisan pendidik mahupun membela pelajar, tetapi harus diingat bahawa kaedah dan undang-undang yang digunakan haruslah praktikal dan sesuai dengan zaman.

Keadilan adalah meletakkan sesuatu pada tempatnya. Saya tidak rasa pelajar yang masih pendek akalnya patut dihukum sebegitu keras tanpa diberi peluang sewajarnya dalam keadaan tertentu. Kata Lord Justice Hewart dalam kes R v Sussex Justices; ex parte McCarthy [1924] 1 KB 226, beliau menyebut ;

Justice ‘should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done’ (Keadilan bukan sahaja perlu dilaksana, tetapi harus jelas dan tiada keraguan bahawa ia dilihat terlaksana)

Khairul Naim Rafidi adalah pengasas Sekolah Undang-Undang Rakyat (SUUR) dan mahasiswa tahun akhir undang-undang UiTM Shah Alam

Di atas kepercayaan kebebasan bersuara tanpa wasangka, FMT cuba untuk berkongsi pandangan dengan pihak ketiga. Artikel yang disiarkan ini adalah pandangan peribadi penulis dan tidak mempunyai kaitan dengan FMT

Those who eat together, stay together

Those who eat together, stay together

A few days ago, a columnist wrote of her experience in Penang, and how “disconcerting” it was to witness how segregated Malaysians had become in their dining habits. She claimed the “unhealthy obsession” Malay-Muslims had with halal food discouraged many from dining with Malaysians of other races.

Being a Penangite who grew up indulging in all kinds of “island” food, and having a bevy of friends of different races who all ate together, I had to speak out.

For one, the columnist was obviously taken to all the wrong makan spots on the island, hence her observations.

When I take friends to Penang, it’s to places that portray the island at its best. The first stop is usually Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng – a Muslim stall located inside a Chinese coffee shop at the centre of Pulau Tikus; followed with Padang Brown Food Court in Jalan Dato’ Keramat – where an amazing spread of food can be found from Bah Kut Teh to Gado-Gado; and not forgetting Kedai Kopi Bee Hwa at Lebuh Dickens that serves mouth-watering dishes, the most notable being Hokkien Char and Wantan Mee.

All these places are teeming with diners of different races and religions – including the halal-obsessed, who apparently don’t seem to mind dining in predominantly Chinese makan spots.

I can go on and on about all the other wonderful places in Penang serving unity on a plate, but I think you get my drift.

I am happy to say Penangites do eat together and that is precisely why we’ve stayed united and harmonious. We do not look at each other’s food with “suspicion” or dread but do check each other’s plates out so we can better decide what to order next. Instead of scrutinising the menu, we Penangites prefer pointing at the next table and saying: “I want that!”

Let’s be honest – food is a personal thing. So much depends on one’s taste, preferences or culture. If some Malays do not wish to dine in certain places, suka hati dioranglah! There is no need to force one to sit at the same table with those of a different race or religion simply to portray a united front. And even if one did, its hardly worthy enough to prove unity in the real sense of the word.

The next time anyone heads up to Penang, give me a buzz. I’ll gladly let you see all that Penang has to offer in terms of good food and racial harmony.

Malays, Chinese, Indians, Bangladeshis, Burmese, Nepalese, Indonesians or the “lain-lain” – Penangites just love to makan until we drop. The only time we would kick up a fuss is when our food starts tasting like KL food – but that’s entirely a different story.

A traffic operation to what purpose?

A traffic operation to what purpose?

By Ravinder Singh

Penang traffic policemen in two patrol cars had a field day at 1.40pm today (May 11, 2016) issuing summonses to about 30 cars parked along both sides of Jalan Midlands, Pulau Tikus, Penang.

This is not a busy thoroughfare but a road serving a residential area. Even though cars are parked on both sides, they do not cause any obstruction to traffic flow.

They consist of small vehicles, mainly cars.

I do not condone any traffic offences by motorists, but in this case, I’m wondering about the summons-issuing spree. There are no yellow lines prohibiting parking. There is no “No Parking” road sign anywhere along the road.

Compared to whatever offence these motorists have committed for parking their vehicles along this road, there are other motorists who really cause obstruction to traffic flow by double parking, who endanger motorists with their reckless and dangerous driving or manoeuvres, who drive with one hand holding a phone and who beat the traffic lights.

Which should be priority – those who commit traffic offences that obstruct traffic flow and endanger other road users and cause accidents, resulting in injuries and death, or those who park their vehicles in residential places like Jalan Midlands, which does not endanger the lives of others?

With the issuing of so many summonses in an operation like today’s, the traffic policemen would, to their bosses, appear to be doing a good job.

What was the real intention of this operation – to make the roads in Penang safer and reduce accidents and casualties, or to make money through the fines?

Priorities must be set right. Could the chief of the traffic police please enlighten us how this afternoon’s operation contributed to making Penang roads safer?

Ravinder Singh is an FMT reader.

With a firm belief in freedom of expression and without prejudice, FMT tries its best to share reliable content from third parties. Such articles are strictly the writer’s personal opinion. FMT does not necessarily endorse the views or opinions given by any third party content provider.

Global anti-establishment wave and the Adenan effect

Global anti-establishment wave and the Adenan effect

By Rayner SY

There have been many attempts to explain the recent victory of Barisan Nasional (BN) in the 11th Sarawak Election. However, many of these analysts often combine the factors that have been contributed to BN’s success all this while and the factors that were instrumental in this particular election.

For some readers who already have some idea why BN keep winning elections in Sarawak, they might be more interested to know the factors which had contributed to BN doing better and the opposition doing worse in the 2016 Sarawak Election compared with the 2011 Sarawak Election. I will be focusing on this direction.

Among the factors which are instrumental in keeping the dominance of Sarawak BN in elections for decades are money politics, the patronage network, abuse of civil service for political purpose, fear and intimidation, and the control of media and information.

There have been many articles let alone books written on this subject explaining all these factors very well. However, these factors alone cannot explain why BN has managed to improve their result from the last state election.

There are few factors which could be attributed to the improvement of performance of Sarawak BN under Adenan Satem: The Adenan effect, the Sarawak nationalism sentiment and the disunity of the Opposition.

Among these factors, the disunity of the Opposition is deemed the least important, no less because the combined votes of PKR and DAP in the six seats in which both parties contested, still could not surpass the votes received by the respective BN candidates.

Some might like to point out that it goes beyond the totality of votes and beyond the six overlapping seats as the bickering of PKR and DAP had affected the synergy among Pakatan Harapan’s component parties and undermined the confidence that voters had in them.

While this might be true and Pakatan Harapan better get their act together and prevent the same from happening in future, the first two factors mentioned above – the Adenan effect and the Sarawak nationalism sentiment – played a more important role in ensuring Sarawak BN’s bigger win this time around.

To explain the popularity of Adenan, we have to take note of the global phenomenon of anti-establishment, anti-political elite sentiment which has become widespread in recent years.

The amount of distrust in establishment politics, in which people lost faith in political players and rising discontent with “business as usual” in politics have given rise to some interesting developments in many countries.

The various “Occupy” movements in different countries is just one type of manifestation of this distrust factor. The other way this sentiment has manifested itself is by the rise of new parties with heavy anti-establishment tone, like the Aam Aadmi Party, which aims to eradicate corruption in India, and the ascendancy of various far left and far right political parties in Europe, which would have been considered as fringe parties a decade ago.

Besides giving rise to mass movements and small parties, this development has also given rise to individuals within the mainstream political parties who claim themselves as outsider and vow to do what the establishment had failed to do.

They often portray themselves as a reformer who has the ability, energy and enthusiasm to do things that could not be done by the establishment, either because of their inertia, incompetence, or because they have been bought by vested interests.

Barack Obama, in his 2008 presidential campaign, was an early sign of this. By the establishment’s standard, he was vastly underqualified. However, by riding the wave of discontent and portraying himself as the reformer needed to overhaul the system, he finally managed fight his way to the White House.

In the primaries for the 2016 US Presidential Election of the United States, the establishment has had to deal with the wave created by outsider candidates, the likes of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party and Donald Trump in the Republican Party.

The latter is almost sure to become the standard bearer of the Republicans in the upcoming Presidential Election in November.

Closer to home, we have the rise of Narendra Modi in India, Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in Indonesia and the latest being the victory of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines presidential election.

All these figures used mainstream political parties as a vehicle to capture power, but they did so by portraying themselves as a committed outsider who has the guts to stand up to the corrupt and incompetent establishment.

In short, they were implying “You might not trust my party, but you can trust me. I am different from all the other politicians. I can change the system from within”.

Modi is an interesting example because he ran a presidential-style campaign while competing in a parliamentary system. While the Congress Party was damaged goods and was expected to be ousted from power in the 2014 Indian General Election, it was not initially clear that the main opposition party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), would win enough seats to form a strong government.

After all, the disaffection that was felt by Indians was against the ruling class in general and not solely the Congress party. The Congress were badly hit as it was the one in charge during that period, but it was unlikely that the other mainstream parties had taken much benefit from the sentiment.

The rise of Modi changed the situation dramatically. Portraying himself as an outsider to Delhi politics who promised to steer the Indian economy to new heights and tackle issues such as corruption and security, Modi led his alliance to secure a strong majority, even though his party, BJP, won enough seats to govern alone had it wished to do so.

Some might be tempted to think in a country such as Malaysia, in which the ruling party has been in power since independence, the rise of anti-establishment wave would benefit the Opposition enormously.

The reality is more complicated than that. Since 2008, opposition parties have had a strong presence in Parliament and are in control of a few state governments too. H

Hence, in the consciousness of many Malaysians, they are lumped together with BN as members of the ruling class or the establishment. At the same time, Malaysia is still an authoritarian, semi-democracy nation in which the playing field between the ruling and opposition parties is very uneven.

Under these circumstances, it is easier for the BN rather than the opposition to produce a “you might not trust my party but you can trust me” figure, who could use the anti-elites sentiment to benefit his party.

It is clear that Malaysians are affected by this anti-establishment sentiment. In Sabah and Sarawak, this discontent has an extra layer.

First, in Malaysia generally, people have political fatigue and have the feelings of “all politicians are the same” or “both sides are equally bad”. These feelings are shared across both divides of the South China Sea.

However, in Sabah and Sarawak, there is an extra layer to this sentiment. As they have been marginalised for more than half a century, they also harbour resentment towards the elites in the centre and their local allies who they think are too weak to stand up to their “Malayan boss”.

To put it in simple words, the first layer is a feeling of disdain towards a political class because they have failed Malaysia, which is shared by all Malaysians; while the second layer is the disdain for the political class by East Malaysians because of their marginalisation.

As the BN is the one in power at the Federal level as well as in both Sabah and Sarawak, it is a given that this sentiment will mostly be directed against them.

However, the opposition parties are also affected by this kind of sentiment. As mentioned above, as we are ruled under an authoritarian, semi-democracy system, it is far easier for BN to manufacture a “you might not trust my party but you could trust me” kind of politician.

Adenan’s efforts to address these two layers of discontent among the people of Sarawak are visible since he came to power in 2014, taking over from Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Some of his policies such as reduction of electric tariffs, abolishment of quit rent and his vow to fight corruption are meant to address the first layer and succeeded in portraying his image as a people-centric politician.

However, the more significant part is his move to address the second layer of discontent, by portraying himself as a fighter for Sarawak’s autonomy and Sarawak’s way of life, projecting an image of fearlessness and appearing as a Sarawak nationalist unintimidated by the Federal Government.

All of these contributed to the improved result by BN in the 2016 Sarawak Election.

The global backlash against the political class is a real phenomenon. While at the moment Najib seems like the biggest target for such sentiment in Malaysia, the opposition seems unable to fully benefit from this and sometimes even appears to be dragged along with it.

With all the institutional and deep-rooted advantage that BN has in the Malaysian political system, they already win by default if people think both sides are equally bad.

If they manage to produce an “Adenan” once in a while, a figure who could claim the mantle of reformer and who is able to distance himself from the rest of the political class, their advantage would be even bigger.

The opposition parties in Malaysia need to think the best way to harness the gain that they could make from this worldwide anti-establishment wave instead of letting themselves be buried by it.

Rayner SY is an FMT reader.

With a firm belief in freedom of expression and without prejudice, FMT tries its best to share reliable content from third parties. Such articles are strictly the writer’s personal opinion. FMT does not necessarily endorse the views or opinions given by any third party content provider.

Pakatan deserved the slap that it got

Pakatan deserved the slap that it got

Spotted on Facebook: a warning by the Election Commission (EC) not to pick one’s nose with a finger that’s been dipped in indelible ink and a photo of a smudged nostril.

We’re not sure if this was a genuine EC directive, but why worry? With allegations that the ink was not indelible, the nostril just needs a quick wash and a wipe to return it to pristine condition. The same goes with the finger.

Whether or not it’s true that the ink was not indelible, don’t expect the EC to say anything about it. It does not appear to think the re-delineation exercise – some call it gerrymandering – was a problem. So why should it investigate this and another allegation, made by Bersih’s Maria Chin, about a sudden increase in the number of voters in the closing minutes of last Saturday’s voting in Sarawak?
There is nothing the ordinary rakyat can do about the alleged cash handouts or about all kinds of promises that some people see as bribery. These include the promise to build a super-duper highway, which has been in the pipeline for decades despite the billions of ringgit in oil income.

But the rakyat can console themselves with the thought that there is one thing they can do. They can punish the Opposition for ineptness. The Sarawak state election was a good slap in the face for the opposition parties, and they deserved it.

Everyone knows, especially BN, that cash is king. Even in its wildest dreams, the Opposition will never see RM2.6 billion dropping in its lap.

There are two other things we know: the ineffectiveness of the Opposition and the confusing attitude of Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali, who is the Deputy President of PKR.

When Azmin was pressed to explain the bickering between PKR and DAP, he said the past was past and the two parties should learn from their mistakes and move on.

How many elections will he need to fritter away before he learns his lesson? Did he and PKR learn nothing from GE13 or from the 2011 Sarawak election?

If that was not bad enough, Azmin also said the opposition coalition should, in readiness for GE14, invite PAS to rejoin it. Is he really for a strong and effective opposition movement, or is he, as some have alleged, someone whose Umno-Baru DNA is so strong that it cannot be repressed?
With Abdul Hadi Awang at PAS’ helm, the same misogyny, backstabbing, U-turning and double talking will damn Azmin’s proposed coalition. Hadi used his trump cards of hudud, the female factor and other emotive issues to scupper Pakatan Rakyat.

Is Azmin another Trojan horse in the opposition coalition? PAS and Umno-Baru have a wishy washy pact to form a unity government.

Is Azmin in on the act, and does he want a ménage à trois with them?

The bottom line is that the Opposition has failed the rakyat.

Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist

With a firm belief in freedom of expression and without prejudice, FMT tries its best to share reliable content from third parties. Such articles are strictly the writer’s personal opinion. FMT does not necessarily endorse the views or opinions given by any third party content provider.

Behind Azmin’s call for PAS-Pakatan reunion

Behind Azmin’s call for PAS-Pakatan reunion

The return of BN to dominance in Sarawak was not merely an open embrace of Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s policies and ideology, but also a steadfast rejection of the opposition as it stands now. There is plenty of blame to go around, but the opposition parties cannot deny that a major reason behind their failure to get enough support from voters was their inability to present a united front in the face of BN’s electoral juggernaut.

We can talk about misconduct, outright bribery and chicanery, but ultimately, the opposition parties failed to galvanize support on the ground because they were too preoccupied with the ego-stroking exercise of trying to extort more seats from each other. The tussle between PKR and DAP put off many voters, and despite calls for reconciliation from their leaders, there is a profound sense that this particular issue is far from over.

A lot of it has to do with the change in PKR’s power structure and its need to show that it’s not subservient to DAP, which has thus far been the spearpoint of Pakatan Harapan with its widespread Chinese support and clearly visible representatives. PKR has become something of a sideshow since Anwar was sent to prison. With party president Wan Azizah and her faction turning their attention to a futile campaign for Anwar’s release, Azmin Ali and his clique have emerged to become the dominant representative voice of the party.

In many ways, PKR desperately needed a big win in Sarawak to shore up its waning reputation, but its inability to win any new seat speaks volumes of what people think of this new, aggressive PKR. Many observers have noted Azmin’s ambitious streak, and this has worked against him. There is a sense of discontent with the Menteri Besar among Selangorians, who see him in the headlines for everything but his work for the state. What we do hear of his work involves a lot of the tolled highways we protested against and which Pakatan leaders swore they would never allow.

In his latest major political statement, Azmin pleaded with PAS to rejoin the opposition coalition for the next general election. But DAP and Amanah are not likely to entertain the suggestion given PAS’ persona non grata approach to the two parties.

Let’s assume that PAS is even open the notion of rejoining an opposition coalition. Without establishing common ground rules and a mutual ideological stand, we will end up with the same problem sooner or later. Hadi Awang’s pride and his inability to evolve ideologically will always remain a point of friction between his party and Amanah and DAP.

Truly, aggressive promotion for Amanah should be the opposition’s current task. PAS is a party divided on the notion of working with Umno, and Amanah could prove to be the better deal for many ideological purists who reject BN and Umno.

In all likelihood, this is Azmin’s play for a stronger position for his faction come GE14. As it stands now, DAP and PAS are the most powerful of the opposition parties. One assumes that the tussle for seats in the Sarawak election has indicated to Azmin that PKR lacks strength at the negotiation table. He probably reckons that with PAS on his side, his PKR faction would hold significant influence over DAP.

Regardless, Azmin’s call for PAS to rejoin the fold is unlikely to endear him further to an already sceptical public. Azmin’s reputation for being ambitious makes him one to be held at arm’s length, as evidenced by the reaction to the notion of his becoming Menteri Besar in the run-up to GE13 and during the Selangor MB crisis. This call will be seen as another power ploy.

Either way, there’s some truth in his words. The opposition coalition cannot afford to be fractured like it was in Sarawak or it will lose what little it has in Peninsular Malaysia as well.