View issues with Tan Seng Giaw

Friday, April 28, 2006

Focus on the real standard of our experts such as medical consultants

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw reminds the Prime Minister of the need to ensure that Malaysian experts in all fields including medicine attain international standard. We have about 14 years to achieve the objective of a developed nation.

Dr Tan broached the subject on 27 April, 2006, when the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wound up the debate on the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) motion in Parliament.

During the debate on 9MP, the Kepong MP called on the Government to make sure that those experts returning from overseas are given recognition such as the status they would otherwise have obtained overseas such as the United Kingdom (U.K.).

On 26 April, 2006, Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said in the House that it was not possible to compete with developed nations that offered much better money than this country for experts. He did mention that certain universities such Universiti Teknologi had increased financial incentives for those returning home. He would offer positions equivalent to those these experts could get overseas.

There are people returning to Malaysia because of factors other than financial rewards. Very often, researchers opt for opportunities other than money.

On the same day, the Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek reassured those medical experts who came home of equivalent status in this country. However, he was unclear as to what was considered an expert. For example, he insisted that if a doctor obtained his or her postgraduate diploma such as Member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP), U.K., he or she would be confirmed a specialist 18 months after getting the diploma. Does he mean he or she is a specialist registrar? Is clinical specialist equivalent to specialist registrar?

Dr Tan urged the Prime Minister to be focussed on important matters such as the standard of experts. In the U.K. system, a doctor is allowed to take MRCP one and a half years after having qualified as a doctor. There are three parts to the examinations. Having obtained the MRCP, he or she applies for numbered jobs in recognized hospitals to work in a specialty such as cardiology. He or she must complete five years in these hospitals before getting a certificate. With this certificate, he or she can then apply for a consultant post. Before being appointed a consultant, he or she is called a specilist registrar.

Abdullah reiterated his intention to ensure the standard of our experts, especially when Malaysia is promoting medical tourism. He did not want to shortchange Malaysians and tourists.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ombudsman instead of IPoliceCM Commission or none?

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw urges the Prime Minister to consider carefully the issue of Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) especially in the context of the Royal Commission for the Enhancement of the Operations and Management of the Police.

The Royal Commission has given 125 recommendations including IPCMC. These recommendations must be implementated as much as practicable. While many policemen are good, sincere and dedicated, there have been black sheep. How do we get rid of them?

The police and others have objected strongly against the setting up of IPCMC. True, bad things such as corruption happen not just to the police, but also to other government departments such as Customs and Immigration. Let the police tell us how do we make the force clean, efficient and trustworthy?

In his column in the Sunday Star on 16 April, 2006, A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet, Tun Hanif Omar, a member of the Royal Commission referred to 'the more recent chorus performance of some members of Parliament'. I can assure him that we insist on IPCMC.

How does the police look at Tun Hanif who recommends the establishment of IPCMC?
Does he want to modify his view to pacify the police?

On April 10, 2006, most media headlined the possibility of establishing Ombudsman instead of IPCMC, 'to investigate all allegations involving all quarters (government) including ministers, without limiting its scope only to the police.'

Tun Hanif has seized on the opportunity, saying "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" (Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet). And, "Why should it matter whether the cat is white or black so long as it catches mice?" (Deng Xiaoping in Kuala Lumpur).

One year after the Royal Commission report, the Government dithers on the formation of IPCMC. Tun Hanif notes that, meanwhile, corruption marches on albeit in more cautious ways.
He went on to mention that England established Parliamentary Ombudsman in 1983, followed by Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) 20 years later because the Ombudsman had no teeth.

By accepting Ombudsman in lieu of IPCMC, does Tun Hanif mean that when the Malaysian version of Ombudsman shows no teeth, no sweet smell and no catching of mice, then the Government can form IPCMC? Since other countries such as UK have both, why can't the Government establish IPCMC and then Ombudsman?

As there are strong objections to IPCMC by the police, does it mean that the Government would set up neither IPCMC nor Ombudsman? What is the true meaning of the Royal Commission?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Nurture, keep and attract experts during the Ninth Malaysia Plan

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Government to improve the methods and the atmosphere for nurturing, attracting and keeping talents in Malaysia. We desperately require this social and cultural milieu.

We need good people in all sectors. If we succeed in getting these talents, Malaysia will definitely become a developed nation. In fact, whatever weaknesses in the United States of America (USA), her strength is in attracting and retaining clever people from all over the world. As the most powerful and the richest nation on earth, she will never change this policy or social and cultural milieu.

Of the Five Thrusts in the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9 MP), Thrust Two is 'enhancing the National Capacity for Knowledge and Innovation and Nurturing Citizens with " First Class Mentality".'
I agree with the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that this is one of the biggest challenges under the 9MP.

I shall keep reminding the Government of the three strategies, namely, the mastery of knowledge; capabilities in science, research and development (R & D) as well as innovation; and a cultured society with strong moral values.

For education and training, 9MP allocates RM50.6 billion (23%). This huge sum is a step in the right direction. We hope that it will be used effectively.

Malaysia scarcely has the scoial and cultural milieu for knowledge, R&D and innovation. For many years, there have been talks on these including tax incentives to attract professionals to return from overseas. There have not been many takers. We see this lip service on meritocracy and talents in government departments, non-government organizations (NGOs) and political parties. Those who prattle on meritocracy may be the very persons who discourage talents. A person in a high position or aspiring to go up may feel threatened if there are talented people around. Mouthing meritocracy, he or she may ward off these people directly or indirectly. How do we get rid of this feudal mentality in government departments, NGOs, guides and associations?

In the midst of incentives, can the Government make sure that experts who return from overseas get equivalent positions to those they have achieved overseas such as the United Kingdom (UK) or USA? If a scientist in UK is in a position to become a professor in a renown university in UK, can he or she be offered an equivalent post in a leading university in this country? Similarly, if a specialist is good enough to be a consultant in a famous hospital in UK, can he or she assume a consultant post here? Returning to this country means they have a much lower income. The least we can do is to give them recognition. The Government should examine this and other aspects in implementing Thrust Two.