Monday, July 8, 2013


By Mansor Puteh

Permata Pintar was established in order to encourage young Malaysians to study hard so they could end up being admitted into any of the ten Ivy League and Oxbridge universities in America and Britain, respectively. But can they be sure of this happening?

The Melayu leaders were mighty proud when Safiah got admitted into Oxford University at the age of thirteen to study mathematic.

The British press too gave her wide coverage.

They marveled at her achievement, despite her being British with her mother a Melayu from Malaysia.

Yet, none of the Melayu leaders or their wives, had ever bothered to ask themselves what they could do with Safiah, if they could offer her a scholarship that could compel her to come to Malaysia to work.

They did not know what to do with her.

In fact, even Britain did not know what to do with her, and for that matter Oxford also did not know what else they could do with her other than to offer her a place to study there.

And the so-called Oxford Center of Islamic Studies of OCIS also did not care.

So what was the point for Oxford to offer her a place to study there and for the British press to give her wide coverage, and the creation of OCIS?

The Melayu in Malaysia had not even bothered to invite her to come to Kuala Lumpur to appear in forums.

The Umno and Melayu leaders went to England but did not meet her because they had come with the wrong intention, of getting publicity for themselves and not to offer her a scholarship or post upon graduation from Oxford, so she could pursue her master’s degree and doctorate elsewhere perhaps  at Oxford or Harvard.

So in the end, Safiah faltered and disappeared after dropping out of Oxford, in an almost dramatic way, feeding some news in the media in England for a while for doing something which shocked many in Malaysia.

Only then Umno leaders sprang to their feet to try and persuade her.

But no one knows what Umno and the Melayu leaders wanted her for.

They did not offer her any post in any government ministry or agency or at the university, so they could not create a Safiah that would suit the needs of the Malaysian government.

Yet, at the same time Permata Pintar was established; and so far they have got some hundreds of young students to study together.

Didn’t they know geniuses do not crowd in the same classroom; they are on their own most of the time.

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, George Lucas, Albert Einstein and the other geniuses of recent times did not know each other; they went on their own to trek into the unknown to bring back goodies for which the world now benefits from.

If they were discovered early in their lives and flocked together in a classroom, chances are they would burn out, after being forced to perform before visiting dignitaries to please those who had brought them together.

And by the time they are older, chances are no Ivy League or Oxbridge university would ever want to accept them.

This will happen to the children in the Permata Pintar program.

And this is also the sad state of the Ivy Leaguers and Oxonians of Malaysia; none of whom are accepted with open arms by the government, so much so they do not crowd the Prime Minsiter’s Department and all the ministries and government agencies.

In fact, Mara and JPA which offer scholarships and study loans to deserving Melayu students cannot be proud to have sent many of them to the ten universities.

The problem is that the Prime Minister’s Department and all the ministries and agencies do not want to send any of their own staff to study in the ten most prestigious universities in the world, simply because they did not smart-asses in their midst.

The problem would happen if they choose some to study there, when they themselves had not bothered to study in these universities earlier when they were younger and were able to get the opportunity to do so.

So no wonder those who have studied in those universities on their own cannot and can never be accepted by the Malaysian government, despite them saying that Malaysians and especially the Melayu should strive to study hard and get into those universities.

Why is the Prime Minister’s Department not crowded by those with impressive Ivy League and Oxbridge degrees of all specialization?

It is not difficult for the prime minister to insist on getting those with degrees from these universities and the other prestigious one, if he himself believes in the value of education.

The Melayu with Ivy League degrees and education are so small in numbers; and most of them are not functioning fully; because they know if they try to be too smart, they will end up stepping on the toes and feet of their superiors, who have ‘eaten more salt’ then them.

And in Malaysia, the amount of ‘salt a person has eaten’ is more important than the level of education that he has.

So no wonder the logic and insistence on Malaysians to have Ivy League and Oxbridge education and backgrounds uttered by those in high office, can therefore be taken with a grain of salt.

It is wrong for anyone to ask the prime minister and the ministers just how many officers who crowd around them who have impressive academic backgrounds with education at any of the ten most prestigious universities in the world?

The answer is obvious; there is none in most of the ministries and government agencies.

And how many Melayu who had got admission into any of the Ivy League and Oxbridge universities that Mara had found expedient to reject his or her application for scholarship or study loan?

Even the so-called ‘education sections’ of the local English language newspapers do not have a special spot for those with Ivy League and Oxbridge backgrounds; they only write on petty matters and issues concerning education and in general terms.

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