Not The New Straits Times

March 1 - 15, 2000

Published twice monthly


UFO lands in Kelantan

Melaka sacks Opposition supporters

Anwar assault trial postponed

Pinochet sends greetings

Crime on the rise

Minister claims RMAF is crap

Chinese soaps 'a bad influence'

FEATURE: The Knowledge Economy

Mahahtir wants 'brain gain'

National media system mooted

Eliminate the 'secrecy syndrome', says PM

Minister makes quantum leap into IT

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Mahathir wants 'brain gain'
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad this month announced that Malaysia intended to attract over 5,000 skilled foreign workers a year as part of Strategic Initiative One, a new knowledge economy master plan. "We must reach out to the four corners of the world to ensure a massive 'brain gain'" he added. "We must take them from wherever they are from."

UMNO leaders unanimously welcomed the move. "Bringing in these foreign workers will help UMNO's struggle to defeat foreigners out to re-colonise us," said an UMNO leader who refused to be named.

A government official who refused to be named hoped that the 'brain gain' would help address a crucial problem facing the government. "This problem is particularly acute in our leadership. It is the 'brain drain' - their brains are draining away."

The move was also welcomed by NGOs, such as the Malaysian Sarong Party Girls' Association (SARONG). "Thank you Dr M! Those kwai-los all so cute one lah!" chirped SARONG president Tammy Weh, as she was sipping a martini in a slinky black dress somewhere in a bar in Bangsar waiting for fat, balding Mat Salleh knowledge workers.

'Brain draining away'

In a related development, Malaysia set another world record-breaking feat today when Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that musicians were among the 138 categories of foreign workers who would not be allowed to work in the country. The move effectively reduces the size of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra to just five people. 100 of the 105 musicians in the Orchestra are foreigners.

"We now have the world's smallest Philharmonic Orchestra! Malaysia boleh!" said a spokesperson for the orchestra who refused to be named. He added that the orchestra is now looking at ways to address the dramatic lack of musicians. "We' re training the five remaining Malaysians on how to play twenty instruments at a time. Until then, though, our repertoire may have to be restricted to nothing bigger than quartet pieces."

National media system mooted

Government crackdown on Harakah aimed
at ensuring knowledge is accessible to the people
In line with the country's Strategic Initiative One to promote information technology and the knowledge economy, Prime Minister Mahahtir Mohamad called for the setting up of "a first rate national media system where the Internet and IT innovations must be a large and critical part of this national media system."

"This country must most seriously enhance the production and supply of information, knowledge and wisdom and assure their accessibility to all our people in every area of work," he added.

As a first step in this direction, the government has restricted the publication of Opposition newspaper 'Harakah' from twice weekly to twice monthly, and suspended the publishing licenses of other alternative publications such as 'Detik'. Harakah was also taken off the news stands as part of this move to ensure 'supply of information, knowledge and wisdom and assure their accessibility to all our people'.

The government is also promoting the sharing of information over the Internet by threatening to use the country's Communications and Multimedia Act to punish people who, according to Deputy Multimedia Minister Tan Chai Ho, "do not exercise self-discipline and publish unfounded criticism.". The maximum penalty for 'unfounded criticism' is RM 50,000 and a year's jail sentence.