The Tempinis diaries

April 2, 2008

The Fall of Mahathir’s Good Friend

Filed under: historical events, malaysia — Tags: , , , — toru @ 4:22 pm

Hopefully this is the end of the road of Mugabe. How the people of Zimbabwe have suffered under him. And it’s absolutely disgraceful how Mahathir considers Mugabe as his friend (see story below).

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Mugabe’s Zanu-PF loses majority

President Robert Mugabe’s party has lost its majority in parliament, the Zimbabwe Election Commission says.
It says Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has taken 94 of the 207 contested seats, while opposition parties have won 105. One seat has gone to an independent.

Earlier, the opposition MDC said its leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won the presidential election. Zanu-PF said this was “wishful thinking”.

The official presidential election results have not yet been declared.

‘Anxiety and disappointment’

The MDC released its own results to back up its claim of victory in the presidential poll.

MDC Party Secretary General Tendai Biti said Mr Tsvangirai had won 50.3% of the vote to President Robert Mugabe’s 43.8%, so avoiding a run-off.

In his news conference, Mr Biti said there was “anxiety and disappointment” at the failure of the Zimbabwe Election Commission to declare presidential results.

But Mr Biti said that if the election commission decided that neither of the main candidates had won outright, the MDC would be prepared to take part in a second round.

‘Irresponsible’

Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga said the claim of victory was irresponsible and could incite violence.

And, interviewed by the BBC, he said the pattern of results from the parliamentary election suggested that there would be a second round in the presidential election.

Asked if Mr Mugabe would take part he said: “Only the top two go for a run-off, he cannot bring in another candidate to replace another, which means that President Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai will go for the run-off if there is going to be a run-off.”

Mr Matonga added that the delay in officially declaring the result was due to the complexity of the process, with 75% of voters living in rural areas.

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Mahathir defends gift to Mugabe
By Mark Baker, Herald Correspondent in Kuala Lumpur
June 14, 2004

Mahathir Mohamad, the former Malaysian prime minister, has angrily rejected an outcry over his secret use of government funds to help the disgraced Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe build a new $A13 million mansion near Harare.

Dr Mahathir denied any impropriety in his decision to donate a $40,000 shipment of rare Malaysian rainforest timbers to his close friend Mr Mugabe, an international pariah for his human rights abuses and nationalist policies that have ruined Zimbabwe’s economy.

“Yes, we did give Zimbabwe timber, but what’s wrong with that?” a defiant Dr Mahathir, who retired last October after 22 years as Malaysian leader, said at the weekend.

He said it was common practice for world leaders to exchange gifts, and the luxury timber panelling sent to Zimbabwe was intended to promote Malaysia’s forest industries.

“But if this is considered an offence, I am prepared to be prosecuted for abuse of power. I don’t consider myself to be immune from the laws of this country,” he said.
Human rights and opposition groups are demanding an official inquiry into whether the gift was authorised by cabinet and whether additional financial assistance was given to Mr Mugabe.

Mr Mugabe, 79, said in a recent television interview that help to build the nearly completed mansion was coming from China and Malaysia. “Thanks to my good friend, former prime minister Mahathir,” he said.

The sprawling residence – in an exclusive district about 25kilometres north of Harare – has 25 bedrooms with bathrooms and spas. It is three times the size of the official presidential residence in the capital.

A report in The Guardian estimated that the total cost of the project would exceed $14.7 million, at a time when nearly half of Zimbabwe’s population is dependent on international food aid.

The Malaysian opposition leader, Lim Kit Siang, denounced the gift of timber. “We know Mugabe is a good friend of Mahathir . . . but there was no parliamentary approval,” he said.

“Why was the gift not disclosed to Malaysian taxpayers?” the Kuala Lumpur Society for Transparency and Integrity asked in a statement.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Razak, played down the issue, while implying Dr Mahathir had acted alone. “I am sure it was done with the best of intentions.”

Malaysia developed strong ties with the Mugabe regime during Dr Mahathir’s rule and was a key opponent of Commonwealth sanctions that led Zimbabwe to quit the grouping last December.

April 1, 2008

How Malaysia has failed its gifted children

Filed under: education, malaysia, singapore — Tags: , , , , — toru @ 12:19 pm

This is a follow up post on Sufiah Yusof. It must be really difficult being a child genius. Growing up from your awkward phase is already hard enough – imagine being put in a class where everyone is much older than you. Also, all that expectations heaped on a child can’t be healthy. Besides Sufiah Yusof, the other Malaysian genius, Chiang Ti-Ming, also had an extremely difficult time coping with the pressure. There is also a newspaper story on Ti Ming below.

Perhaps, for these kids the answer is not to put them with older kids or in a university. A more safe and nurturing environment may be to place them with other gifted kids. In the article below written in 1997, Lim Kit Siang talked about how Malaysia has failed its gifted children. I contrast this with the story below on NUS High School written in 2006. What Lim Kit Siang proposed then is now a reality in Singapore in the form of NUS High School. One can’t help but feel gratified and inspired by reading the stories of these talented young children. Hopefully, students like Carmen Cheh from Perak will grow up to be happy and well-adjusted adults. If only Sufiah and Ti-Ming had such schools where they live. Perhaps, they wouldn’t have suffered as much.

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Sunday August 13, 2006
School for aspiring Einsteins and Hawkings

Singapore Straits Times education correspondent SANDRA DAVIE visited NUS High School of Maths and Science to try and keep up with the young Einsteins, and came away impressed.
IT IS a lesson on contraceptive methods for a group of 15-year-olds. At any other secondary school, a topic like this would have brought on blushes and giggles.

Not at the National University of Singapore High School of Mathematics and Science (NUS High). The 14 boys and 10 girls in a class taught by a young biology PhD graduate are more interested in the science of contraception.

After Dr Seah Wee Khee, 27, shows them a condom, the intra-uterine device and diaphragm, they launch into spirited sparring.

Year Four students (from left) Zhai Wei Chao, Zhao Ye, Lei Lei and Tan Li, hanging out at the Astronomy Club’s observatory which sits atop the roof of the 12-storey hostel. – ST/ANN pic

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