Berita PSSM available for download
dan semua ahli exco PSSM mengucapkan Selamat Hari Deepavali dan Selamat Hari
Raya Aidilfitri kepada semua ahli dan penyokong PSSM.
Maaf zahir batin, semoga sejahtera dan
19 Okt 2006
|Malaysiakini's interview with President of PSSM on the
ASLI Report controversy
Better if EPU gives more
13 Oct 2006
More explanations from the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime
Minister’s Department revealing how it computes the bumiputera
equity share will not only improve transparency but will also
enhance public confidence in their data, said an academic
“One positive thing arising from the present Asli report
controversy is that the public now knows roughly the
methodology used by the EPU to compute the data,” said
University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) professor Dr Abdul Rahman
“I hope more explanations will be forthcoming. It not only
will improve transparency but will also enhance confidence in
their data computation and our country’s standing
internationally,” he said.
was commenting on the fallout over the Asian Strategic and
Leadership Institute’s Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS)
report on bumiputera equity share which it placed at 45% in
contrast to the EPU’s figure of 18.9%.
The Asli figure drew
severe criticism from Umno’s top brass over the past two
weeks, and the study was eventually withdrawn by Asli president
Mirzan Mahathir who said the study ‘was flawed’. Following
this, CPPS director Dr Lim Teck Ghee resigned in protest.
“There are lessons to be learnt from the present episode,”
said Abdul Rahman in an interview with malaysiakini.
Abdul Rahman, a sociologist and researcher, is principle
fellow at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies
(Ikmas) at UKM. He is also the president of the Malaysian
Social Science Association (PSSM).
Abdul Rahman also noted the need to allow room for
disagreement or difference with regards to reports by
researchers which may not concur with official perspectives.
“We can attain progress if we allow that space to flourish.
In this regard, a healthy dialogue is important,” he said.
Below is a question-and-answer session with Abdul Rahman:
Malaysiakini: Would you like to
comment on Dr Lim's published studies?
Abdul Rahman: I
can’t comment on the Asli study specifically as I haven’t had
a chance to read it properly except for what is in the media.
My comment is on research in general.
As a researcher, one’s responsibility is to report the
findings objectively, provide a sound analysis, draw
appropriate conclusions based on the findings and to defend
it. At the same time, it is also important for the researcher
to invite comments and criticisms to improve it as every study
has its limitations.
Do you think academicians like
yourself and others have the freedom to come out with reports
that dissent with those of the government?
experience in conducting research has been based on the
principles I stated above. I think my colleagues also do the
same. From my experience, there is space to do research and to
come out with papers based on the findings.
Some of the findings and analysis may concur with official
views, and some may not. That is the nature of scholarship. I
think the government acknowledges the need for that because if
there is room for disagreement or difference, we can attain
progress if we allow that space to flourish. In this regard, a
healthy dialogue is important.
Do you think academics now are
going to ‘self-censor’ their reports and studies that have
Malaysia wants to move forward, and Malaysian universities
want to be on the international radar screen. For that
purpose, four Malaysian universities have been identified to
be research universities. To achieve this, among others, we
need to strengthen our research culture, promote good quality
research, and uphold a conducive environment for freedom of
I think researchers have to be ethical and truthful to their
vocation by presenting the findings as they have been
discovered. We will be doing a disservice to the profession
and to the nation if we don’t do that.
But, of course, the way we conduct our research, the
framework, methodology and the instruments used, etc, must be
based on acceptable academic standards.
At the same time, the way we present the findings also matter,
particularly how we position the study. The limitations of the
study also need to be pointed out. All these constitute
intellectual humility, honesty and integrity.
Whether a researcher will self-censor or not as a result of
the present Asli episode is a matter of personal choice. But a
conducive environment for serious enquiry needs to be promoted
and protected if we want good quality research that is useful
for the universities,the government and the country.
Do you think the academic world
fears political backlashes from their reports in general?
I think we should continue to encourage level-headedness and
to see the big picture. As researchers, it is our professional
responsibility to continue doing our work to the best of our
What is the level of
transparency when it comes to accessing government data? What
can be done to increase access?
Like many others, I wish there is greater accessibility to
official data beyond what is published in official documents.
There are lessons to be learnt from the present episode. One
positive thing arising from the present controversy is that
the public now knows roughly the methodology used by the EPU
to compute the data.
I hope more explanations will be forthcoming. It not only will
improve transparency but will also enhance confidence in the
data and our country’s standing internationally.
Will this have a bearing on the
quality of higher education in the country then?
The quality of education is a complex issue. However, research
culture, research quality and research environment are part of
the lifeblood of a university. They are necessary to help
enhance the quality of higher education.
on the 16th Association of Asian Social Science Research Councils
(ASSREC) Biennial Conference held in New Delhi, India, from 30th
November to 2nd December 2005
The Conference was held at the Conference
Hall, 2nd Floor, in the main building of the Indian Council for
Social Science Research (ICSSR). The ICSSR, together with AASSREC,
acted as hosts for the Conference. The Conference was held for
three days and attended by about 30 participants from India, Pakistan,
Australia, China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Republic
of Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
The theme for the 16th Biennial
Conference is The Challenges of Unemployment, in which 12 country
papers, on the subject of unemployment in the respective countries,
The Malaysian Social Science Association
sent two delegates to the Conference, namely: (i) Dr Mohd Hazim
Shah, the Deputy President of PSSM, who attended on behalf of
the PSSM’s President, and (ii) Dr Madeline Berma, a member
of the Malaysian Social Science Association from Universiti Kebangsaan
Malaysia, who presented the country paper for Malaysia, entitled
Challenges of Unemployment in Malaysia...
Hope for a new
By Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Embong
The Star, Nation,
Tuesday March 28, 2006
THE much-awaited Ninth Malaysia Plan
(9MP) will be unveiled at the current parliamentary session amid
high expectations following the fuel price rise and other pressing
The Plan's implementation period, 2006-10, is particularly
strategic because we are now entering the second phase towards
realising Vision 2020, to become a developed nation.
Also, this is the first plan formulated under the stewardship of
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi since he took over as Prime
Minister in late 2003.
High on the people's mind is to what extent the
9MP will address the fundamental issue of building a united
Bangsa Malaysia or Malaysian Nation (NB: not the "Malaysian
race" as often stated).
Simply put, Bangsa Malaysia is about nation building and
moulding our ethnically and culturally diverse people into one
nation with a collective national will, consciousness, shared
identity and shared destiny...
Malaysian studies in Sarawak
The Star, Sunday March 12, 2006
THE Malaysian Social Sciences Association and Universiti Malaysia
Sarawak (Unimas) organised a two-day workshop on "New Research in
Malaysian Studies" on Feb 27 and 28.
It was aimed at enhancing the research and analytical skills of
the younger generation of lecturers as well as graduate students
pursuing their Master's and PhDs in Malaysian Studies either here
More than 18 papers were presented at the workshop with
participants coming from several local universities.
The workshop was also attended by Japanese postgraduates who are
working on topics related to Malaysia.
The Association team was led by its president Datuk Dr Abdul
Rahman Embong and vice-present Dr Diana Wong.
Unimas' Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS) and Social Sciences
Faculty acted as co-organisers.
"This is the first collaboration between Unimas and the
Association and we hope that it will lead to more cooperation
between both parties.
"Social scientists in Sarawak feel a little isolated from their
colleagues in the Peninsula and this is a good way for us to forge
links," said IEAS director Assoc Prof James Chin.
He added that Unimas' strength lies in its location in Sarawak.
"We are the gateway to the whole of Borneo and we invite social
scientists from other universities in Malaysia to come work with
In many ways, he said, Borneo is the last frontier in social
"Compared to the Peninsula, we are under-studied,''
Congratulations to PSSM members Jomo K.S. and Terence
Gomez on their UN appointments...
Second International Malaysia-Thailand Conference on Southeast Asian
29 November to 1 December 2005 at UKM Bangi...
Workshops for "Managing the Integration of
Culture into Development Programmes"
Sponsors: SEAMEO-SPAFA & ASEAN Foundation
Dates of Workshops: May-October 2005 (in various ASEAN countries)...
Fourth International Malaysian Studies Conference
(MSC4) Conference Report by Dr Michelle Lee...
Papers presented in MSC4 are available for download...
Website of Malaysia Studies Graduate Forum (MASGRAF)
The Forum is set up and run by post-graduate students...
1. Arrangements between PSSM and The Star newspaper
2. Routledge "Malaysian Studies" book series