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Old Malaysia

June 2007

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yiliang in msrants

On The Malaysian Education System.

Crossposted to malaysians and my LJ, as well as my girlfriend Keisha's Livejournal.

Dear friends, apa khabar semua.
Had a run in with the Ministry of Education a few days ago, and I'd just like to spread the word about what me and my girlfriend keishaks had to endure when we called up to get the info to help a little girl in need. It's more than a rant. This little girl needs a chance to shine, for shine she will, given the chance.

Both our accounts of the campaign are here, Keisha's and mine.

Keisha's account.

Hi everyone! This post is a follow up to the previous post regarding the complacency of the Malaysian Ministry of Education and Azadnisa's, or Nisa for short, heartfelt desire to pursue an education.

Firstly, I would like to expatiate about this little girl's life in more detail. When Nisa was born, her father abandoned her and her mother, for reasons unknown, although I am assuming that he was financially inept. Unfortunately, Nisa's mother was not well to do and she had to seek the best available job. Luckily enough, she found work at a South Indian restaurant in PJ called Grand City. How did I come to find out about her? Well, my grandfather's maid is quite an affable character and as such, she knows many workers/maids around the P.J. area. One day, she met Nisa's mother and Nisa, and she came home to tell me of the living conditions and the predicament they were in. Hearing my grandfather's maid elaborate, I was deeply saddened and decided that I will go and see this girl. When I took a walk to the restaurant's back alley, I saw Nisa playing on the road with some rotten old toys, tears immediately filled my eyes. I then went into the restaurant's kitchen and saw the small room in which Nisa and her mother slept. I was absolutely horrified to see the deplorable conditions they were living in! In the room, lay one small mattress on the dirty, wet cement floor and raggy, old clothes hung on a dilapidated rack. After seeing this, I hurried back to my grandfather's and told him everything. He and I both agreed that we needed to do something. As I remembered correctly, my grandfather made a few phone calls and got someone to arrange for Nisa to be enrolled in St. Paul's kindergarten. He then gave me some money to buy some presents for Nisa, since at the time, it was almost Christmas. We also invited Nisa and her mum over frequently so that She could play or watch T.V. In the following year, she went to St. Paul's but at first, she couldn't communicate to the other kids because she couldn't speak English. However, in due time, being as intelligent as she is, she grasped the English language so perfectly! And now, she is seven years old, ready and determined to take on Year 1 but unfortunately, this current dilemma has debouched.

You know, I've had experience with the Education Department before. You see, my half siblings' mother wanted to transfer her kids from the Malaysian education system into the American syllabus offered at many churches around Malaysia. These centers are extensions of the Church Ministry and they offer an alternative education to Malaysians who are sick and tired of the ineffective Malaysian education system. Anyway, I called them up and I was redirected at least ten times before I got the information I needed. And 3/4 of them couldn't speak English so I had to use the limited Malay I had learnt back in elementary. What baffled me most right is that why can't they process the info I gave them and connect me directly to a division which deals with the relevant information? As a nation that seeks to be a first world country by 2020, don't you think it is absolutely unacceptable that the people working in government especially, cannot communicate in English effectively? There are a number of reasons that one needs to speak in English. Firstly, it is a globalized language and therefore, for a country to maintain good sentiments with other countries, a common ground is needed and that common ground is language. And what language you might ask? English! Simply because it is spoken by the majority of this world. And please don't get me wrong, it is also important to preserve one's own culture but that does not mean that you shouldn't expand your horizons! Being able to communicate in a variety of languages allows you to expand your knowledge of this world as well as come to an appreciation of the diversity of ethnicity and culture!

I sincerely hope the press will stand up against the MOE so that we as a nation, can remedy this problem.

Earlier in this blog, I talked about the power of education. Nisa, being adamant and resolute, desires an education because she knows that education is the key to freedom.. whether it is freedom of hardship or freedom of oppression..! Almost every job demands a college education, it's a tough world out there and Nisa is begging for a chance to succeed and like many other unfortunate kids, she wants someone to believe in her. So I plead with all of you fellow Malaysians, give her that chance, and I swear to you, she will not let you down. She is our future ladies and gentlemen...our tomorrow.

My account.

The true story is as follows.

Azadnisa Rahman is a seven year old girl, who hopes to enter school in the coming school year. She is the child of a Indonesian cook at a South Indian restaurant who entered Malaysia on an Indonesian passport with a valid work permit, and a Bangladeshi father who has since disappeared for good. Azadnisa was born in Malaysia, and as such has a Malaysian Sijil Kelahiran(Birth Certificate). However, her birth was not registered with the Indonesian nor Bangladeshi Embassies, rendering her de facto stateless.
As such, it is difficult for her to obtain Malaysian citizenship, or Permanent Resident status. More importantly, and more pressing at this time is the fact that she has been barred from entering a Government school, due to the fact she has been registered as a foreigner, "Daftar Orang Asing".

She currently desires to have an education, at present, she and her mother live in the restaurant itself, having nowhere else to stay.
The family of my girlfriend, Keisha, have been helping her, her grandfather having aided in enrolling her in a church kindergarten.

However, she is now of school age.
As such, Keisha and I tried to determine what was the procedure to get her accepted into a primary school, run by the Malaysian Ministry of Education.

The procedure was a nightmare. No department of the Education Ministry had the information we sought, nor did anyone speak English with any fluency.
I personally collected at least 8 different numbers before any progress was made.
The common statement was "we do not handle this", or "you speak to so and so at this number to get this done", only to call the number and to find out that no one was there,
or worse, the person did not deal with Azadnisa's issue, and once again, I would be given yet another department within the Schools Division.

It was only when Keisha and I had had enough, and decided to threaten the Ministry with a press release of their inefficiency, did we get anywhere.
We were redirected to Customer Services, who were about to divert me to another number yet again, but actually gave a response upon hearing our threat of press exposure.

What we found out is this. Azadnisa's situation bars her from entering a Malaysian Government School, and as such, she needs to enter a private school, keeping in mind the new government policy regarding mandatory school enrolment.

Azadnisa's bright. She needs a future. And, at this point, she needs a sponsor. Please, help her.

Thank you, friends, for any help you can provide. Thank you, for spreading the word.

Azadnisa needs us all.