(Petaling Jaya, Monday): I welcome the decision by UMNO that its leaders at all levels would not take any overseas leave at this period of the national economic crisis, in order to set an example to the country of a new savings culture of reducing expenses.
The government leadership however, must be in the forefront to set such an example, and this is why the Cabinet at its meeting on Wednesday should let the whole country know that the Federal Government is very serious in wanting to promote a new savings culture by deciding that Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries are banned from all overseas holidays and must take their annual leave inside the country. In fact, the cancellation of all overseas holidays should apply not only to Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, but also to all federal and state government officials, including Mentri-Mentri Besar, Chief Ministers and State Excos
Let all Malaysians unite all this period of national economic crisis, where every belt in Malaysia must be tightened - not just those of the ordinary people, but also those of every Minister, Chief Minister or Mentri Besar.
I would suggest that the Cabinet take another decision on Wednesday to show its seriousness in wanting the country to embark on a national economic recovery programme.
Recently, the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, rapped parents for admiring foreign universities and being overdependent on them for their children’s tertiary education.
He said such a situation was embarrassing as the country had many creditable universities and institutions which were at par or even better than those overseas.
The phenomenon of having 50,000 to 60,000 Malaysian students in universities and colleges overseas is not a recent one, but went back to the seventies and eighties.
Since the seventies, the DAP had been calling for the popularisation of tertiary education by establishing at least one university in each state in the country to ensure that Malaysian students can find places for higher education in their own country instead of having to go overseas at great cost to themselves and the nation.
But this DAP call had gone unheeded for some two decades and is now only begun to be taken more seriously by the government.
In response to Anwar's call to Malaysian parents to give priority to local universities for their children's first degree programme, the Cabinet should issue a directive banning Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries from sending their children overseas for first degree programmes and requiring them to be educated at local universities or institutions.