Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stupidity in Malaysia

The stupidity of our BN ministers is simply amazing! Yesterday, Malaysiakini reported that International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed (above photo) informed a press conference that the protest-riddled Lynas Advanced Material Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng, Pahang is “safe and a non-issue”. He came to this conclusion because he said industrialists from China have demonstrated keen interest to invest in the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) – a proposed 607-hectare site that is also located in Gebeng. [MCKIP is a sister-park to the China-Malaysia Qingzhou Industrial Park (CMQIP) in Qingzhou, China and it is within the East Coast Economic Region (ECER). Reports have claimed that the MCKIP is expected to attract nearly RM7 billion in investments and create 5,500 new jobs for the local populace by 2020].

And of course, stupidity is always contagious. China’s ambassador to Malaysia, Chai Xi dismissed concerns about Lynas because he said the Malaysian government had given the assurance that LAMP’s production will not affect the environment. He believes because the Malaysian government said so!

As if China cares two hoots about the environment! Haven’t we been regularly reading about the increasing citizen activism regarding government decisions which have been perceived as being environmentally damaging? Keith Bradsher writing in The New York Times on July 04, 2012 highlighted that “China has long been known as a place where the world’s dirtiest mines and factories can operate with impunity”. To be fair, the Chinese government is trying to clean up its act – and this is illustrated by the fact that in the same news article, mention was even made that “the government has lately been closing down even legal rare earth refineries all over China for months at a time to require them to install new emissions control equipment, after years of tolerating heavy emissions of toxic and radioactive waste that have turned areas into moonscapes”!

So if there are simpletons who dementedly cling to the myth that Lynas is non-hazardous – the last line in the above paragraph will dispel any romantic notions some Malaysians still have about Lynas.

Mustapa happily commented that, none of the potential Chinese investors have raised concerns about Lynas with either him or the Malaysia Investment Development Authority. I just wish the man is right in front of me so I can slap him hard for that fatuous flapdoodle!

This Minister is a real jerk if he associates investor confidence to a supposedly safe Lynas. He gauged this from those who are willing to pump money into MCKIP and in return, profits from their overseas venture. These people will be far removed from danger, won’t they? Do you really think the investors care about the wellbeing of Malaysians? If our own Malaysian government doesn’t give a damn – why should they?

Also yesterday, when Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin announced that the government will freeze the setting up of universities, university colleges and colleges for two years, I went into a hysterical delirium of unhinged chortling! It would seem that he had only just realized that the speed at which tertiary institutions have been mushrooming in Malaysia are going to worsen academic standards that are already in decline! I know how challenging it is to locate good academicians locally – we cannot depend on greenhorns who may have the subject knowledge (hopefully) but little else. I have been lecturing Marketing for ten years at undergraduate and graduate levels and having been around, I know how difficult it is to find gems like me! Honest!

I am reminded of Sunny Decker’s wisdom which you can read in An Empty Spoon: “Part of the art of teaching is the ability to rearrange the world for students – to force them to see things in a new way. I've known too many stupid intellectuals to believe that education and wisdom come as a package deal along with facts, it's your perspective that counts – your ability to see differently, not just to see a lot.” How many of us in education continually challenge ourselves in the classroom?

This country has too many universities and colleges. Just for a moment, forget the branch campuses such as Xiamen University, Heriot-Watt University, University of Reading and others that are setting up shop in this country. Let’s look at the local private education providers and you cannot help but notice that they are a dime a dozen – the newer ones include Asia Metropolitan University, Perdana University, Lincoln University College, Manipal International University, Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation and University of Management and Technology.

Yup, education in Malaysia is big business!

I just remembered what Napoleon Bonaparte once said: "In politics, stupidity is not a handicap". Sigh, how very true! 

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