DAP calls for the Cabinet paper on the creation of a Cabinet-rank Higher
Education Envoy to be made public as the basis for a nation-wide debate on
whether Malaysia needs such an envoy and if so, what should be his
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): DAP calls for the Cabinet paper on the creation of a Cabinet-rank Higher Education Envoy to be made public as the basis for a nation-wide debate on whether Malaysia needs such an envoy and if so, what should be his priorities.
This is particularly important as there seems to be considerable confusion even among high government policy-making circles about the role and responsibilities of former Agriculture Minister Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi as Higher Education Envoy with Ministerial status.
The Cabinet decision to create a Cabinet-rank Higher Education Envoy seems to have been made in a most casual and unprofessional manner, without the fullest discussion and debate whether in public or in the government, that it raises the question whether the purpose of the appointment was truly educational or primarily political.
There is firstly the role and responsibility for the
Cabinet-rank Higher Education Envoy. The Chief Secretary to the
Government, Tan Sri Samsudin Osman, is still stumped eight days after the
Cabinet decision to make such an appointment, which was why when asked by
reporters on Thursday, he pleaded for “more time to refine the contract
terms for Effendi”, before framing the letter of offer to Effendi as Higher
Education Envoy with Ministerial status.
Wasn’t the Cabinet presented with a Cabinet paper when it met and decided on 11th August to create this post, stating clearly the role, responsibilities of the Cabinet-rank Higher Education Envoy, and wasn’t the Chief Secretary privy to this Cabinet paper?
In fact, the Higher Education Minister, Datuk Dr. Shafie Salleh who made the announcement on Tuesday seems unable to give full details about the appointment as Effendi would not be answerable to him but to the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Shafie said Effendi’s task is to promote the country as a centre for educational excellence at the international level.
Is Effendi’s job primarily that of P.R. and a salesman extraordinaire to convince the world that Malaysia is a centre for educational excellence regardless of the actual conditions in the country, or does his job include undertaking and supervising higher education reforms to establish Malaysia’s premier position as a hub of educational excellence based on solid academic achievements and not just superior P.R. exercise?
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman