15 August 2008

Khidmat bekas guru sandaran elok diguna

Berita Harian

SAYA amat mengalu-alukan hasrat kerajaan yang mahu memberi peluang kepada guru bersara untuk mengajar semula jika berminat.

Saya faham langkah drastik Kementerian Pelajaran mengambil keputusan ini untuk mengatasi masalah kekurangan guru.

Jika guru bersara yang melebihi umur 56 tahun diberi peluang mengajar, kenapa pula tidak bekas guru sandaran yang pernah berkhidmat melebihi lima atau enam tahun dan lebih muda serta bertenaga, diberi peluang sama?

Guru bersara dan guru sandaran mempunyai pengalaman mengajar. Namun, guru sandaran disingkirkan dan tidak layak menyambung tugasnya selepas berumur melebihi 30 tahun bagi lepasan Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia dan Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia.

Khidmat guru sandaran hanya dipandang sebagai 'melukut di tepi gantang, keluar tidak mengurangi, masuk tidak memenuhi.'

Masih ramai guru sandaran yang pernah berkhidmat menunggu peluang mengajar, jika dipanggil semula. Jika Kementerian Pelajaran yakin guru bersara dan lanjut usia mampu mengajar, kenapa tidak bekas guru sandaran yang jauh lebih muda dan aktif serta lebih berminat untuk mengajar tidak diberi peluang?

Kursus dalam cuti (KDC) hanya ditawarkan kepada guru sandaran di sekolah jenis kebangsaan Cina dan Tamil. Apakah nasib bekas guru sandaran yang mengajar di sekolah menengah dan kebangsaan?

Saya berharap Kementerian Pelajaran mengkaji semula dengan lebih terperinci dalam memberi tawaran KDC kepada guru sandaran di sekolah menengah dan sekolah kebangsaan tanpa mengira had umur, pengetahuan bahasa Tamil dan bahasa Cina.

Saya juga bercadang kementerian memberi peluang kepada bekas guru sandaran mengajar semula dan diserapkan ke perkhidmatan perguruan melalui kursus dalam cuti.

GURU SANDARAN MENGANGGUR,
Ipoh, Perak.

14 August 2008

The Dato Mirza Mohd Taiyyab saga

Malaysia Today

Yesterday morning, half the staff at the Ministry of Tourism's DG's office were in court to show support to their Boss who is being unfairly charged.

Sources say that Dato Mirza Mohd Taiyyab and his staff at the Ministry of Tourism have been a thorn in the side of Azalina Othman since she became its Minister. This is not by design. Taiyab has always been a simple and straight forward Civil Servant.

When Azalina became Minister, she insisted that she wanted to bring along 20 of her own private staff but to be put on the Ministry's payroll. Civil Service rules only allow a Minister four private staff. Azalina felt irritated when she did not get her wish.

Not giving up, Azalina got her cronies to set up a company that was given a contract to handle the Minister of Tourism's advertising slots on RTM. The money paid to this company by the Ministry was diverted to pay the salaries of the private staff Azalina brought along.

Azalina never forgave the DG Taiyab for standing in her way. She vowed to get him. Since she became Minister it has been a running battle between the corrupt Minister and the straightforward DG.

Then Azalina's father showed up. He wanted a RM10 million contract from the Ministry of Tourism to open a 'Malaysia Tourism Kiosk' at the Beijing Olympics. Azalina ordered the DG to approve her father's request. The DG said no. This really got Azalina mad.

Azalina then launched an investigation into the DG to screw him up. She wanted him out of the way. They found nothing. The DG of the Minister of Tourism ran a tight ship and was responsible for a RM1 billion budget, all of which was being managed well by him.

Dato Taiyab is the most popular DG in the Ministry of Tourism. He is also well liked by most tourist related organisations like the hoteliers and travel agents associations. He has contributed significantly to promote Tourism Malaysia overseas.

There was one weak link. A dentist by the name of Dr Kamsiah. Dr Kamsiah's husband S. was a partner with the DG's brother T. They ran a media company. Three years ago, before he became DG, Dato Taiyab needed a tooth implant. His brother T. recommended his partner S's wife Dr Kamsiah. (Since then S. and his wife Dr Kamsiah have divorced and both have remarried).

Kamsiah fixed Dato Taiyab's teeth and charged him over RM15,000. This was three years ago. Since the implant treatment took months, he paid a little at a time during each visit. After a while Dr Kamsiah told him that she will bill him in total at the end of the treatment.

But unknown to Dato Taiyab, she sent the bill to her then husband S. who settled the bill without informing Dato Taiyyab.

Here is another connection. Kamsiah was the dormitory mate of Azalina at University. She is also known to be 'one of them'.

Later S. had a falling out with his partner T. Something about not getting contracts from the Min of Tourism. Despite having his brother as their partner, the DG of Tourism was 'impenetrable.'

He had to be 'removed'. Hence the old dental bills were pulled out conveniently.

Now with the DG out of the way, the Ministry of Tourism will be having 'Happy Hour' for some time. This is what is really happening at the Ministry of Tourism. An honest Civil Servant is being victimised by a corrupt Minister.

Pick the right VC for the job

The Star

A vice chancellor must understand the needs of academia. Merit has to be the paramount factor when hiring, firing and promoting.

OVER the years I have said many times (to any unfortunate soul listening) that two of the root causes of the poor state of Malaysian public universities are the appointment method of vice chancellors (VC) and the utter repression of our students.

Both matters are dealt with by the Universities and University Colleges Act. For about two years now there has been talk about this Act being amended. The amending Bill is finally ready and waits to be debated in parliament.

For this week, let’s look at the appointment of the VC. The choice of a VC is terribly important. They set the tone for the university and they can do much inside the institution to improve things, even within the limitations of Malaysian law and politics.

A VC has to have excellent managerial skills because it’s hard to think of a more unmanageable group of people than academics. They tend to be argumentative and questioning; at least those who understand that, as academics, they should be argumentative and questioning.

A good manager, however, does not mean a bureaucrat. A university can only thrive when there are as few bureaucratic obstacles as possible. A person enamoured by forms and the filling of forms, and who thinks this is the way to achieve academic excellence, should work for Sirim instead.

VCs must also be fairly presentable creatures as they, more often than not, represent their institution. By this I mean well spoken, intelligible and not parochial. I don’t mean they have to be handsome or pretty. That would make it hard to find anyone.

Finally, and most importantly, a VC must understand the needs of academia. Merit has got to be the paramount factor when hiring, firing and promoting (please don’t write angry emails about student intake and merit, it is out of the university’s hands – at least for now).

Academic standards must not be compromised for any reason and academic integrity (no cutting and pasting from the net and claiming it’s your work, thank you) must be the ethos to live by.

VCs must truly appreciate academic and intellectual freedom. They must realise that due to its nature a university must promote the autonomy of both the individual and the institution.

A simple example is that the needs of a humanities department are extremely different from the needs of a science department. As such, they require the autonomy to decide what is best for them. In universities, one size, most definitely, does not fit all.

A VC must thus respect the freedom of those working and studying in the university and must be courageous enough to stand up against any threat that challenges the very values that is required for a university to be good.

It’s not easy, especially with a government like ours, but this must be done and done in real terms, not just lip service.

The law as it stands states that the VC is chosen by the Higher Education Minister after consultation with the university’s board. The Bill proposes that an ad hoc committee be set up when necessary to advice the minister in the choice of VC.

This is indeed an improvement on the old method, which gave total discretion to the minister and which led to appointments being made, more often than not, on the political correctness of the candidate (and here I mean he or she supports the correct political party).

However, I’m not all that convinced about this new set-up either.

The minister is the one who appoints the committee, and therefore is he likely to choose a group of people who don’t at the very least think along the same lines as he does? Will their advice be “politically correct”?

The committee looks very much like a search committee. This is the method that universities in developed parts of the world use to find a VC.

A true search committee is appointed by the university’s board, and opens the call for applications to anyone interested. It could be limited to the country or it could be open to the world.

There is a criterion which the committee must adhere to when sifting through the potential candidates, usually based around the qualities I mentioned earlier.

It then makes a shortlist and calls for interviews. Some universities involve the student body and the staff union in the interview. After this process it makes its recommendation to the board.

There is no government participation, and therefore no political criterion is involved, only academic and managerial. All this is done in an open and transparent manner which can be scrutinised by all.

Obviously, this is not the case with the suggested committee on the Act. There are still many unanswered questions with regard to it. Its make-up is just one.

What is the criterion it is to use in seeking a VC; will the search be based on an open call or will it be a matter of making a short list on its own?

None of these concerns are dealt with in the Bill, so forgive me if I am not dancing around with joy at this “improvement”. We still have to see how the committee works in practice before we get excited.

At least the explanatory notes to the Bill explain that the purpose of having a committee is to make the process more transparent.

That is something the academic community should hold the ministry to, and we should demand that the committee’s decision-making process is as open as possible and we should then scrutinise its activities (if the amendment Bill is passed) with eagle eyes.

For the next column, I shall discuss the implications of the amendment on students. And examine if the proposed changes will actually make much difference to their repressed little lives.

Dr Azmi Sharom is a law teacher. The views expressed here are entirely his own.

Isu pangkat tentera selesai September

Berita Harian

KEMENTERIAN Pertahanan ingin merujuk aduan mengenai 'Status Pegawai Tauliah Jangka Pendek (TJP) Pengambilan Ke- 66, 67 dan 68' disiarkan dalam ruangan ini 17 Julai lalu.

Markas Tentera Darat (MTD) mengambil tindakan berikutan keputusan Majlis Angkatan Tentera (MAT) pada 25 Mac lalu yang memutuskan kes mengenai pelarasan pangkat, kekananan dan gaji pegawai Tauliah Jangka Pendek (TJP) Pengambilan Ke- 66, 67 dan 68.

Bagaimanapun, pelaksanaan keputusan yang dibuat MAT tidaklah semudah dibayangkan kerana ia membabitkan semakan ke atas rekod perkhidmatan setiap individu berkenaan.

Ini perlu kerana sepanjang tempoh itu berlaku beberapa perubahan ke atas perkhidmatan mereka seperti kenaikan pangkat, pergerakan gaji serta kes tata tertib menyebabkan kehilangan taraf kekananan atau diberhentikan daripada perkhidmatan.

Semua faktor berkenaan perlu diperhalusi bagi mengelak kesilapan yang boleh menyebabkan tidak puas hati atau tuntutan pegawai terbabit pada masa depan.

Selain itu, sokongan pegawai atasan serta kekosongan jawatan masih diperlukan bagi kes kenaikan pangkat.

Dengan mengambil kira kerumitan terhadap pelaksanaan keputusan itu, MTD ketika sesi penerangan dengan semua pegawai terbabit memberitahu bahawa masalah berkenaan dijangka diselesaikan sekitar Ogos atau September ini.

Sehubungan itu, dakwaan mereka tidak dimaklumkan perkara itu tidak benar.

Untuk makluman, tindakan ke atas isu itu bermula sejak pertengahan 2006 dan beberapa siri perbincangan dilakukan membabitkan beberapa agensi.

Masa yang diambil agak lama kerana membabitkan skim perkhidmatan kerana pegawai yang terbabit tidak termasuk dalam skim perkhidmatan yang mentauliahkan Pegawai Kadet dengan pangkat leftenan.

Bagaimanapun, atas sikap prihatin dan konsep kesamarataan, MTD berusaha mendapatkan kelulusan agar Pegawai TJP Pengambilan 66, 67 dan 68 diterima masuk ke dalam Skim Perkhidmatan yang lebih baik.

Selepas berusaha hampir tiga tahun bagi mendapatkan pelarasan ini, MTD berharap pegawai berkenaan bersabar kerana semua proses yang berkaitan berada di peringkat akhir pelaksanaan.

CAWANGAN PERHUBUNGAN AWAM,
Kementerian Pertahanan.

Why we can’t get our experts to return

The Star

THE most important asset of a country is not its natural resources but its human resources. This is especially true in a knowledge-based economy, which will be the trend in future if it is not already the trend in most Western countries.

My daughter, who is in her final year studying medicine in Auckland, told me that a team of Singapore recruitment officers just visited Auckland and talked to the Malaysian students there, offering jobs and training prospects for the final year students.

My daughter also said that over the last few years, quite a number of her Malaysian seniors, after graduating from medical courses in New Zealand, have gone to Singapore to work as house officers and subsequently stayed back for their postgraduate training. Similar teams have gone to Australia and UK to recruit Malaysians to work in Singapore.

Our government unveiled plans last March to spend US$553.3mil over five years to boost research, attract foreign investment and build new facilities. But such efforts are going to waste unless it can retain more talented people.

Iskandar Mizal, head of the state-run Malaysian Biotech Corporation which oversees the Government’s strategy, was quoted as saying that by the time we have the research environment in place, every other country would have taken a slice of the biotech investment pie.

We have a serious problem and the problem is brain drain. Why are Malaysians overseas not coming back to work? Well, pay may be part of the reasons but it is not the main reason.

The Singapore recruitment team offers Malaysian students a salary several times more than what they would expect to get in Malaysia. For example, Singapore pays S$40,000 a year for houseman after tax (equivalent to RM86,000), which is about five times the pay of a houseman in Malaysia.

But, as I say, pay is not the main problem. Living expenses overseas are higher and for a person working overseas, the loneliness and the stress level are also much higher. So not everyone opts to work overseas because of pay; many would not mind working for lower pay if they can stay near their loved ones.

Why do people choose to work overseas away from their loved ones? Malaysia has many state-of-the-art hospitals and research centres, which may even be the envy of many overseas countries. But hardware alone will not attract these experts to come home.

In the medical fields, I have so many friends and classmates working overseas, many in world-renowned medical centres. Some of my classmates and friends did come back as specialists but after working a few years – many lasted only a few months - most got disillusioned and went off.

There is really not much prospect of career advancement here. How many can hope to become a professor even when they are acknowledged experts in their field? On the other hand, others are promoted to professorship for doing much less.

How many of them can have any say about how things are to be run? How many of them can blend into the local team where the work attitude is vastly different from overseas? There is an unwritten rule that the head of the team has to be someone from a certain ethnic group who may not even be half as good as you.

In everyday life, some become disillusioned with the corruption, red tape and tidak apa attitude of the officialdom. For an overseas doctor applying to come home to work, the application for approval can take up to six months whereas Singapore sends teams to recruit them on the spot, giving them the forms to fill and offering them jobs immediately as long as they pass their final examination. See the difference?

It is the sense of being wanted and being appreciated that make these people stay overseas. Back here, they are often made to feel they are of a lower class. They do not feel wanted and they do not feel appreciated and that is the main reason.

It is really sad. Parents spend huge amounts of money educating their children, but the ones who stand to benefit are the Singaporeans, Americans, Australians and the British. For as long as race politics is not done away with, the problem of brain drain will continue and Malaysia will always fall behind advanced countries, no matter how many twin towers and Putrajayas we build.

ANOTHER MIGRANT, Paris.

Be fair in probe, dept urged

The Star

MALACCA: The Malaysian Immigration Service Association has urged the Immigration Department to be fair in its investigations on two foreign attach├ęs and 36 officers who were recalled to Putrajaya.

Its president Ismail Yusof said the officers were based at KL International Airport and the attaches in London and Shanghai.

“We hope that thorough investigations are carried out and done fairly without any prejudice,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

Ismail agreed that appropriate action should be taken against those found to have abused their powers or flouted department regulations.

He was commenting on a statement by Immigration Director-General Datuk Mahmood Adam that the officers were junior officers with less than three years with the department.

Mahmood said they were recalled for internal investigations and rehabilitation after the public alleged that they had abused their powers and entered into pacts with other parties that went against regulations. He said any case of corruption would be handed over to the Anti-Corruption Agency.

Meanwhile, Ismail commended the department for promoting 35 officers following vacancies created when the Prisons Department handed over control of immigration detention depots recently.

Mirza digantung kerja dua bulan

M'kini

Ketua Pengarah Pelancongan, Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, yang dihadapkan ke Mahkamah Sesyen Kuala Lumpur semalam atas tuduhan rasuah membabitkan rawatan giginya berjumlah RM13,860
pada 2005, digantung perkhidmatannya selama dua bulan berkuatkuasa serta-merta.

Timbalan Ketua Setiausaha (Pelancongan), Kementerian Pelancongan, Datuk Ab Ghaffar A Tambi berkata sebuah jawatankuasa ditubuhkan untuk membuat keputusan mengenai kedudukan Mirza.

"Kami akan mendapatkan prosedur dari Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) berhubung (kedudukan) jawatan Mirza," katanya kepada pemberita selepas satu majlis di Kuala Lumpur hari ini.

"Biasanya, kita menggantung selama dua bulan. Jika tidak selesai lagi, ia boleh disambung (selama) dua bulan lagi.

"Semasa digantung, gajinya dipotong separuh. Jawatankuasa itu akan membuat keputusan mengenai Mirza dalam tempoh dua bulan," katanya.

mirza mohd taiyabMirza didakwa mengikut Seksyen 165 Kanun Keseksaan di hadapan hakim Fathiyah Idris.

Beliau dibenarkan ikat jamin RM5,000 dengan seorang penjamin. Tarikh perbicaraan ditetapkan pada 16 hingga 18 Februari tahun depan.

Mirza, 51, didakwa menerima suapan itu daripada Zulhisyam Ayob, 48, pengarah syarikat Perunding Pakar Media Sdn Bhd, sebuah syarikat perunding pengiklanan.

Syarikat itu membiayai rawatan tertuduh di Clinical Practice Prosthodontics Sdn Bhd ketika beliau memegang jawatan timbalan ketua pengarah lembaga berkenaan.

Kesalahan itu didakwa dilakukan di klinik itu di No.15, Ground Floor, Jalan 2/71 Off Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, di antara 17 Jan hingga 26 Julai 2005.

Jika disabitkan kesalahan, Mirza boleh dipenjara sehingga dua tahun, atau dengan denda, atau kedua-duanya sekali.

Only 50 out of 10,000 jobs snapped up by disabled

The Star

Only 50 disabled people have applied for the 10,000 jobs made available in the public sector, said Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen.

“All kinds of jobs were available, from rank and file such as office boys to management level, but unfortunately, there have been few takers.

“The Government needed to find out why the disabled group had been reluctant to take up the jobs,” she said Thursday after chairing the first meeting of the National Council for People With Disabilities here.

The Government has set as a policy to reserve 1% or 10,000 jobs for the disabled in the public sector as a measure to integrate the disabled into mainstream society.

Dr Ng called on the disabled community to be responsive to the job applications. She said the Government would try its best to overcome obstacles that the disabled faced in the work place.

“They should not have the negative thinking but instead they should apply for the jobs first and let us know what obstacles they are going to face if they take up the jobs.

“If there are more people coming forward to apply for the jobs, we (the Government) might consider arranging the transport for them, including getting buses to go around Putrajaya,” she said.

“I have mentioned it many times in the newspaper about the vacancies available. You (disabled people) cannot just expect us to knock on your doors and inform you about the opportunities,” she said.

Another bone of contention for government doctors

The Star

THE Health Ministry’s effort to get private doctors to work part-time may have run into a snag. The ministry has agreed to pay such part-timers RM80 an hour to help ease the doctor shortage.

However, government medical officers have objected, not to the scheme, but to the quantum being paid. Their complaint is that they should be paid a similar amount, instead of RM10 an hour to work overtime.

Their contention is that they have to look after many cases, including emergency ones, while on duty while part-timers enjoy a much lighter workload, dealing with patients with minor medical problems, such as cold, fever or cough.

The ministry will have to increase its financial allocations if this request is to be met. Otherwise, there will be a new problem for the ministry to deal with.

This is something new for the ministry to mull over since its officials would have thought that medical doctors were happy with their recent salary and allowance adjustments.

The purpose in starting the part-time programme is to get more private practitioners to fill the temporary gap at hospitals and clinics so that services to the people would not be compromised.

This is certainly a commendable decision, and would help ease the shortage temporarily until more young graduates could join the service.

So far, the response from the private sector has been lukewarm for one reason or another. The ministry finds it hard to understand why this should be so since sufficient publicity has been given to this project.

Perhaps the ministry should review this and more groundwork may need to be done to get better response. One step is to define the clinic requiring part-timers by finding out how many GPs there are in the area.

Information regarding the part-time work should be sent directly to each GP to get them to help out in this programme. In other words, instead of waiting for them to come forward, ministry officials should be more proactive and engage them instead.

Actually, RM80 an hour is quite a fair rate, and should attract some GPs to earn some extra money. Private practice is not as lucrative as believed by some. Some new start-ups can barely meet their overheads.

It would not be too difficult for GPs to earn a few thousand a month by just working a few hours daily. This will go a long way towards easing their financial burden.

It is not cheap these days to start a new clinic. A few hundred thousand ringgit may be needed to pay the rent, medical supplies, staff and utilities. Therefore, the money from such part-time work should come in handy until the clinic can stand on its own financial feet.

In fact, doctors, if they feel like it, can make such part-time job a full-time profession. They can earn RM8,000 a month by just working five hours daily for five days a week.

Seminar di hotel dibenar

Berita Harian

Larangan ditarik balik elak industri perhotelan terjejas

KUALA LUMPUR: Berkuat kuasa semalam, majlis rasmi dan seminar yang dianjurkan kementerian atau agensi kerajaan dibenarkan untuk kembali diadakan di hotel.

Kementerian Kewangan menerusi Pekeliling Perbendaharaan bilangan 4/2008, yang dikeluarkan semalam mengumumkan larangan mengadakan majlis rasmi dan seminar di hotel terhadap kementerian dan agensi kerajaan sebelum ini ditarik balik.

Ketua Setiausaha Perbendaharaan, Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah, berkata sebelum ini melalui pekeliling bertarikh 9 Jun 2008, kementerian dan agensi kerajaan tidak dibenar mengadakan majlis rasmi di hotel sebagai langkah menjimatkan perbelanjaan.

Bagaimanapun, katanya, pengusaha industri hotel menyuarakan kebimbangan bahawa kesan langkah itu boleh menjejaskan industri perhotelan.

"Berikutan pentingnya industri perhotelan dalam ekonomi negara termasuk dari segi penjanaan pekerjaan, Jemaah Menteri semalam memutuskan bahawa majlis rasmi boleh diadakan di hotel, tertakluk kepada syarat perbelanjaan adalah terkawal dan sederhana.

"Dengan berkuat kuasanya Pekeliling Perbendaharaan ini, perenggan 11 dan 12 dalam Pekeliling Perbendaharaan bilangan 9/2008 yang dikeluarkan pada Jun lalu adalah terbatal," katanya dalam kenyataan di sini, semalam.

Sepanjang larangan itu, hanya mesyuarat, persidangan, seminar serta bengkel antarabangsa dibenarkan di hotel.

11 August 2008

Graduan pendidikan terasa diketepikan

Utusan Online

SAYA rasa terpanggil untuk menyuarakan isi hati bakal guru yang telah bertungkus- lumus untuk mendapatkan Ijazah Sarjana Muda Pendidikan dalam masa empat tahun. Sememangnya kami berasa agak gusar kerana penempatan di sekolah masih belum terjamin walaupun mempunyai Ijazah Sarjana Muda kelas kedua atas.

Senario ini berlainan bagi lulusan Kursus Perguruan Lepasan Ijazah (KPLI) yang terus diserap ke sekolah selepas menamatkan pengajian yang memakan masa hanya dua semester atau setahun.

Mereka ini tidak perlu menunggu lama, dengan alasan kerana pengajian KPLI ditanggung oleh kerajaan. Bagaimana dengan nasib kami yang sememangnya dilatih dan diasuh untuk menjadi pendidik selama empat tahun di universiti dengan dipasak tentang nilai-nilai murni kerjaya perguruan dan sememangnya memilih dunia pendidikan sejak awal lagi?

Di sini saya ingin menyuarakan kenapa masih diteruskan kursus KPLI ini (dahulu ada ura-ura untuk memberhentikan).

Bukankah kita tahu golongan yang memohon untuk mengikuti kursus itu terdiri daripada mereka yang terdesak setelah gagal mendapatkan pekerjaan yang dihajati. Mereka ini dahulunya semasa mengambil ijazah pertama (dalam pelbagai bidang) melabelkan bahawa kerjaya guru tidak profesional, tidak mencabar, tidak glamor ataupun kerjaya yang membosankan dan stereotaip.

Namun setelah tamat pengajian dan mendapati tiada masa depan dalam bidang kerja yang dihajati maka mereka berlumba-lumba memohon menjadi guru kerana sememangnya dibukakan peluang seluas- luasnya kepada golongan ini.

Maka lahirlah 'guru terdesak', 'guru gaji bulan' dan pelbagai gelaran yang diberikan kepada guru yang hanya mengajar separuh hati dan sambil lewa kerana tidak berminat dalam profesion perguruan apatah lagi menghayati nilai-nilai yang terkandung dalam Falsafah Pendidikan Kebangsaan (FPK).

Adakah golongan ini layak menjadi pendidik dan melestarikan apa yang terkandung dalam FPK?

Malangnya yang menjadi mangsa adalah pelajar sekolah yang terpaksa berhadapan dengan guru yang sebegini. Sesungguhnya inilah realiti guru KPLI walaupun ramai yang menidakkannya, tetapi dalam senyap mereka mengiakan.

Kerana nila setitik, rosak susu sebelanga. Akhirnya kerjaya guru terus diperlekeh, dipandang sebagai kerjaya pilihan kedua dan mencemarkan imej profesion perguruan kerana umum beranggapan kerjaya guru adalah kerjaya yang enteng dan sesiapa sahaja boleh memohon menjadi guru.

Adakah masih relevan kursus KPLI diteruskan dan bagaikan terus menghina kerjaya guru yang begitu mulia?

Saya menyeru kepada semua cerdik pandai dalam dunia pendidikan, kesatuan guru sama-sama fikirkan demi memartabatkan profesion perguruan seperti yang terkandung dalam teras kelima dalam Pelan Induk Pembangunan Pendidikan (PIPP).

BAKAL GURU

Kuala Nerang, Kedah

10 August 2008

Government docs want on-call allowance raised to overtime rate

The Star

PETALING JAYA: Government doctors certainly have a lot to complain about, and they’re mostly to do with the much better perks offered by the private sector.

But this time, they are griping about their counterparts who do overtime at government health clinics. And it’s all about a vast discrepancy in the on-call allowance and overtime rate.

Doctors at government hospitals get a RM10 hourly on-call allowance, while those at government health clinics get RM80 for every hour’s overtime.

The hospital doctors say they have to attend to life threatening and emergency cases at casualty units, while the clinic doctors mostly only attend to patients complaining about coughs and colds.

Doctors at government hospitals have to perform on-call duty several times a month, and have called on the Health Ministry to standardise the payment rates.

“The RM10 hourly allowance for on-call doctors is grossly unfair,” said a senior doctor at a government hospital in the Klang Valley.

The doctor revealed that eight to 16 doctors were rostered for on-call duty in most large government hospitals.

”On the other hand, our counterparts at the health clinics are being paid RM80 hourly for treating patients with coughs and flu,” he said.

Other doctors, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they preferred to serve at government health clinics which have extended operating hours to 9.30pm on weekdays, and from 8am to noon on Saturdays.

“We don’t have to work long hours and the workload is also not that heavy at health clinics,” said one doctor.

A 29-year-old doctor from Malacca said that with the current inflationary pressure, young doctors could hardly survive, especially if they were married with children.

The ministry reviewed the on-call allowance after two decades in 2005.

For weekdays, the on-call allowance was increased from RM75 to RM150 per day (calculated at the compulsory 15 hours of on-call duty which has to be performed daily), while such allowance on weekends was increased from RM113 to RM170.

The ministry started the overtime scheme at 16 government health clinics earlier this year for doctors who volunteered to work from 5pm to 9pm.

This means that a health clinic doctor who volunteers to work the four-hour period will earn RM320, compared with RM150 for a hospital doctor's 15 hours' work.

A specialist doctor cautioned that young doctors may be discouraged from serving in government hospitals if this issue was not resolved.

Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai explained that “overtime” and “on-call” were different, likening them to an apple and orange situation.

“Being on call is something that all government doctors have to do while working overtime is voluntary. You cannot compare working overtime with being on call,” he clarified.

He said the ministry was not considering raising the on-call rate but pledged to work on improving benefits for doctors to retain more of them in the public sector.

Master English, Sultan urges

The Star

ALOR STAR: The Sultan of Pahang has directed Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) personnel to master the English language to enhance their skills in handling hi-tech devices.

Sultan Ahmad Shah Sultan Abu Bakar, who is RMAF’s colonel-in-chief, said those who are fluent in the language have better career opportunities.

“The job scopes of armed personnel have become more challenging with the advent of information technology and advances in modern technology.

“You (RMAF personnel) must enhance efforts to master the language (English) and use it in your daily lives especially when discharging duties,” he said in his speech read out by the Tengku Mahkota Pahang, Tengku Abdullah, at the Air Force College’s graduation ceremony in Kepala Batas near here yesterday.

Best in their categories: Lt Kamal (right) and Lt Lo congratulating each other and chatting near a Skyhawk jet fighter after receiving their awards in Kepala Batas yesterday.

He said the armed forces had acquired hi-tech assets in line with its modernisation.

“As English is an internationally accepted medium of communication, it is vital to master the language to understand modern technology. With exposure to knowledge, I am confident you (RMAF personnel) can handle the (hi-tech) assets and guard national airspace.”

Tengku Abdullah presented scrolls to 44 diploma graduates.

Lt Kamal Hilmi Kamarulzaman was named the best overall cadet graduate and Lt Lo Chee Sing the best cadet graduate in academics.

Lt Kamal received the Sultan Ahmad Shah challenge trophy and a sword of honour. Lt Lo, from Sabah, received the Panglima Pendidikan Udara trophy.

Lt Kamal, 23, said he wanted to be a fighter pilot like his father, Kol Kamarulzaman Mohd Othman.

“I feel proud that my son is named the best overall cadet,” said Kol Kamarulzaman, 48.

Lt Lo, 22, also aims to be a fighter pilot.