Monday, November 17, 2008

They have a right to appoint a monkey as UM's VC - Malaysiakini

I was reading the Malaysiakini report Axed UM VC says its because she's a woman with a bit of astonishment.
How damaging can it be for an academician to have this kind of attitude, but then again, she has her rights to defend herself as well as emotional outburst in public once she left the university.

My wife is a medical graduate of UM and in year 2000, we had the then UM VC (my wife's former lecturer) as our guest. Prof Anuar Zaini came over to buka puasa with former UIA's Rector Prof Kamal Hassan. We had maghrib prayers together and I was the imam that honour to have distinguished guests.

According to the report, former Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor Rafiah Salim, who is the first woman to head a public university in the country, has alleged gender bias by the government towards local academicians amidst the controversy of her not being re-appointed to the post.

She was appointed in May 2006 and her service was extended to 6 months this year before the ministry decided to discontinue her services and was informed merely 48 hours before the expiry of her term.

She has locked horns with Deputy Higher Education Minister Idris Haron after the latter gave an explanation in Parliament on why her contract was not renewed.
Idris had said that UM needed someone with a high level of performance who could elevate the university’s status and the new appointee, Ghauth of multimedia university, had vast experience in public universities.

On this, an irked Rafiah who is 61 young argued: "I don’t care why they have replaced me but what I am upset about is the defamatory remarks that the deputy minister made in Parliament."

She defended her two-and-a-half year term at UM vehemently and to sue Idris If he had said it outside Parliament. Rafiah boasted that she had 34 years of an excellent career.

She also pointed out that the university has managed to climb the Times Higher Education World University’s rankings from 246 last year to 230 this year.
Rafiah was obviously upset over the 48-hour notice given to her over the non-renewal of her contract, saying this showed the ministry’s lack of respect for ‘basic human decency’.
She claimed that the decision not to extend her contract had already been made beforehand - even before the search committee tasked with appointing the VC had interviewed her.
She further claimed that the system is flawed. Even though the Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin talks of transparency... there is no transparency as the position was not advertised. There are no criteria and nobody knows what criteria they are looking for in the candidates.

Well, it is not new in our government's administration and we wonder why we have so many yes men/women in the public service?

"They have a right to appoint a monkey if they want," she told Malaysiakini.

And in tomorrow's Malaysiakini, she will reveal more on political interference in UM!

Stay tune for more damaging revelations on how our public universities are being run.

Woes in registering for myKad, opps, myUAEkad

Every morning on the way to the office, I can see already a long queue at compound of Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) office in Barsha. By 6.30 am, the queue is already very very long. The office opens at 7.00 am and most are waiting few hours before. Mind you, subuh prayer is about 5.15 am nowadays.

The Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) announced a December 31 deadline to register for identity cards and this rang alarm bells around the country. A lot of expats tried to register for the card by logging onto EIDA's official website.
The popular complaint is The EIDA website seems to be extremely busy. The home page takes very long to load and it is impossible to actually register.
Although the website allows for fixing appointments online, EIDA centres across the UAE are fully booked until November 30.
The overcrowded registration centres are the reasons that people were waiting for up to four hours.
Half of that time was spent at the typing office to fill the preregistration form as people could not access the Authority's website to print the form in advance.

I have registered my family applications through our HR office but yet to take our photographs.
So far, the UAE has already registered 610,000 residents, 95 per cent of which are nationals. About 600,000 more, which include 350,000 expatriate professionals, are expected to enlist before the December 31, 2008 deadline.
The identity card costs Dh100 for nationals for five years, Dh100 for expatriates for one year and Dh50 for children under 15 years, regardless of nationality. In the case of expatriates, however, the fee has to be paid for the duration of the residence visa.
Given that 1.2 million residents are expected to register before this year's deadline, the issuance of cards will generate an income of about Dh120 million or more.

The UAE government is spending $55 million on cutting-edge technology to implement the national ID system and is expected to generate an income of about Dh120 million from card fees by the end of this year.

The all-in-one identity card, which will eventually work as a driving licence, passport and labour, residency, health and ATM card or e-wallet, will help employers to cut expenditures on acquiring staff's numerous IDs.
The technology being used to implement the identity cards will also offer other financial benefits, as it will plug the security loopholes in the banking system, which was recently plagued by fraudulent transactions.

Someone blogs about his experience HERE

Dubai Financial Market Tumbling - How low can it go?

I am not into shares but the current situation does make a lot of people trembling. Reports from local papers (Gulfnews and 7days) with perception that Dubai is going through a harder time than Abu Dhabi in general - the economy in terms of the real estate and Abu Dhabi companies seem to be more cash-rich than their Dubai counterparts.
There is still no report on suicides though but looking at the current rate, we may have some people in big debts.

Lack of transparency on issues affecting the sector is a point reiterated by analysts every day.
There is no clarity on what the extent of the problems are, how long it will last or what the solutions will be.

The Dubai Financial Market fell for the seventh straight session yesterday, tumbling almost six per cent to below 2,000 points for the first time in over four years.

Less than three weeks after breaking the psychological barrier of 3,000 points, losses for the real estate sector helped pull the General Index down 5.92 per cent to 1,981.44 points.

The combined value of all the companies listed on the Dubai Financial Market has fallen by more than Dh240 billion in the last five months as real estate stocks started getting badly battered with the exit of foreign investors since early July and, lately, with retail investors selling off on worries of the sector's growth coming to a halt.
There is no sign that the huge falls in real estate stocks, which also include the largest construction company in the country, are coming to an end.

Emaar dragged Dubai's stock market down by more than five per cent on Sunday, extending this year's loss to a staggering 67 per cent. Emaar, the largest Arab real estate company and a heavyweight on DFM index, dropped to its lowest since September 2004, tumbling 9.75 per cent to close at Dh2.87.

And given the bearish trend in the market, the stock is headed south in the near term, says a technical analyst. The chart points to a further slide in Emaar shares, which is expected to go down to Dh2.50 and then to Dh2.20 if the negative trend persists.

Yesterday, some of the other big losers included Deyaar Development, losing 8.97 per cent to Dh0.71, Arabtec Construction, sliding 9.88 per cent to Dh3.01, Union Properties, shedding 9.60 per cent to Dh1.13.

Shares of the country's two mortgage giants, very much dependent on the real estate sector, also fell, with Amlak Finance declining 9.82 per cent to close at Dh1.01 and Tamweel closing 9.65 per cent lower to Dh1.03. The government is reportedly in favour of a merger of the two that would aid in tiding over the difficult credit situation.
Investors are panicking and overreacting and some of them selling shares they bought for their grandkids.

The seven-day-slump of 32 per cent is the biggest ever for the Dubai bourse, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, prompting investors to wonder where the bottom of the market is.

Potentially we could see another 15 to 20 per cent fall but there will be not possible to drop much beyond that in terms of how low it can go.

What we should be more concerned about is not how low can the market go, but how long this downward trend is going to go on for. And that’s more worrying because the longer it goes on, the longer it’s going to take to get us into recovery mode.
As the global financial crisis caused foreign investors to take their money back home and local companies found it more difficult to get loans internationally, there has been less financing in the region for both individuals and businesses.
Fears that Dubai will not be able to meet its debts and that the emirate’s huge real estate projects lack funding have been intensified by falling oil prices and speculation that the property boom has ground to a halt.

The biggest fear is that the demand for real estate is going to slump. Investors advised not to touch banks and developers in this market.

A report from HSBC last week said that real estate prices in Dubai had fallen by four per cent, and by five per cent in Abu Dhabi - the first statistical evidence to indicate a slowdown in the property market.

According to an official, we’ll probably see an orderly decline in real estate markets until we see some [confidence and] financing come back into the market

At times like these we need announcements from the government to restore confidence.