Higher school fees for those entering polys, ITE next year

Students hoping to enrol in ITE's technical diploma course next year will have to pay $106 more annually. -- ST File photo

Students hoping to enrol in ITE’s technical diploma course next year will have to pay $106 more annually. — ST File photo

Students entering the five polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) next year will have to pay more school fees than their seniors, with tuition fees at these places raised by 2 per cent to 5 per cent.

Locals enrolling in the five polytechnics next year will pay $2,500 in tuition fees per year, up from the current $2,400.

Fees for non-citizens have also been raised proportionately. Permanent residents will have to pay $5,000, or $200 more than the current fees, while foreigners will pay $8,350, or $350 more.

The revised fees at the polys are about 4 per cent more than what current first-year students are paying.

Over at the ITE, students entering the institution next year will have to pay about $17 and $13 more for the Nitec and Higher Nitec courses respectively.

Foreigners and permanent residents will pay between $107 and $350 more than their seniors for these two courses.

But all students hoping to enrol in the ITE’s technical diploma course next year will have to pay $106 more annually.

The changes will affect only the incoming students.

The institutions adopted a cohort-based fee structure last year, ensuring that a student’s school fees will stay the same throughout the course of study. The new fees were posted on the polys’ and the ITE’s websites on Wednesday.

School fees at these places are typically revised in February or March each year, as the new academic year starts in April.

But from this year, the ITE’s Nitec courses have been pushed forward to start in January.

This is why the Education Ministry adjusted tuition fees for polys and the ITE this month instead, said a ministry spokesman.

A spokesman said on behalf of the five polys and the ITE that school fees are reviewed yearly and “adjusted if necessary to meet the rising cost of quality education”. “Where possible, it is preferable to have regular but small fee increases than a significant hike in any one year,” he said.

But he stressed that financial help is available, with the Government enhancing the bursaries at the institutes of higher learning to cover two-thirds of Singaporean households. For instance, bursaries have been extended to families with a per capita monthly household income of $1,900, up from $1,700.

Student Tan Jia Yu, 16, who hopes to enter a science course in the ITE next year, said he intends to apply for financial aid.

“If they raise the school fees but give students more financial support, then it is not that bad,” he said.



Taiwan’s KMT suffers a crushing defeat in local elections


A blow to the KMT

TAIWAN’S ruling party, the Kuomintang (KMT), has suffered one of its worst electoral defeats since Chiang Kai-shek and his forces fled to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949. The polls on November 29th, for 11,130 mayors, councillors and town chiefs, saw big gains for the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which has attacked the KMT’s efforts to forge closer economic ties with China. The results are a huge political blow to President Ma Ying-jeou (pictured) and will increase China’s worries that the DPP might regain the presidency in elections that are due to be held in 2016.

The extent of the DPP’s gains surprised many observers, despite signs in recent months that support for Mr Ma and his KMT was flagging. DPP mayoral candidates won in 13 of Taiwan’s 22 counties and major cities, up from a previous six. They include the capital Taipei and the city of Taichung, an important commercial hub in central Taiwan with a population of over 2.7m. The DPP’s leader, Tsai Ing-wen, described her party’s success in the polls as the best in its history (her party controlled the presidency from 2000 until 2008, when Mr Ma took over amid widespread dissatisfaction with corruption in the DPP and its tense relations with China). Now more than 60% of Taiwan’s 23m people are ruled by a DPP mayor.

History was made in Taipei when Ko Wen-je, a renowned trauma surgeon running as an independent, defeated the KMT’s Sean Lien, the son of a former Taiwanese vice-president, Lien Chan. It was the first time the KMT lost Taipei without a split in its camp’s vote (the DPP has won in the city only once—20 years ago). After Mr Ko’s win, Mr Ma announced that his premier, Jiang Yi-huah, would resign and he would reshuffle the cabinet. Mr Ma is likely to face pressure from within his party to step down as the KMT’s chairman. He has shown no sign of willingness to do so.

The elections, being local ones, were more about such issues as urban development rather than relations with China. Candidates sought to win over voters with plans for building infrastructure and public housing. But the poll did reflect widespread dissatisfaction with Mr Ma’s handling of the economy, says George Tsai of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. Salaries have stagnated for years and there is a widespread belief that only Taiwan’s business elite is reaping the economic rewards of closer ties with China. (Mr Ma has signed 21 agreements with China, including a ground-breaking free-trade pact in 2010.) This view is particularly prevalent among Taiwanese youth, who were at the forefront of an occupation of the legislature that lasted more than three weeks in the spring. The failure of Mr Ma’s government to prevent a series of food scandals has also upset many.

Although the China-friendly Mr Ma remains in power and his party still controls the legislature, China will be disturbed. It will be even less convinced that Mr Ma will have the political strength to push for more measures to improve cross-strait ties before he steps down in 2016; there had been talk of setting up representative offices in each other’s territory as well as greater liberalisation of cross-strait trade. The DPP’s strengthened popularity might cause some KMT lawmakers to become more lukewarm in their support for these projects (early in 2016 they will be up for re-election too). The coming year will be a tense one in Taiwan’s politics.

The Economist

Chinese smokers face cigarette ban in Beijing

A man smokes a cigarette at a park in Beijing on May 11, 2010. Previous attempts to ban smoking in China have failed

A man smokes a cigarette at a park in Beijing on May 11, 2010.
Previous attempts to ban smoking in China have failed

Smokers in China’s capital are to be banned from lighting up in all indoor public spaces under plans being introduced by Beijing city officials, state media reported.

Cigarette advertising will also be hit, with a widespread prohibition covering public transport, film, magazines and newspapers.

There are an estimated 300 million smokers in China.

Previous attempts to ban the habit have ended in failure.

The rules, due to be enforced from June next year, will initially only cover the capital.

But they could be rolled out across the rest of the country of 1.3 billion people.

Under the proposals, smoking will not be allowed on the bus, at work or even outside near schools or hospitals.

The BBC’s Michael Bristow said the plans could save some of the million or so Chinese who die of smoking-related illnesses each year.

But previous bans have been ignored, he added.

Ministry of Health guidelines published in 2011 banned smoking in public spaces such as hotels and restaurants.

The rules were vague, however, and often flouted by Chinese smokers who are accustomed to lighting up at will.


Voters punish KMT with landslide defeat in Taiwan’s local election

Premier Jiang Yi-huah resigns as ruling party suffers its worst defeat in decades, putting the DPP in the box seat for 2016 presidential poll

The KMT's Taipei candidate, Sean Lien Sheng-wen, and supporters bow.

The KMT’s Taipei candidate, Sean Lien Sheng-wen, and supporters bow.

Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang (KMT) yesterday suffered a landslide defeat in the island’s biggest-ever local elections, a result analysts saw as voter payback for the failures of the mainland-friendly administration.

Of the six municipal races considered litmus tests for the 2016 presidential poll, the KMT was only able to win New Taipei City, losing not only Taoyuan, but also its key traditional strongholds in Taipei and Taichung, down from the four cities it used to control.

The setback – the worst since the KMT came to power in Taiwan in 1949 – prompted Premier Jiang Yi-huah to resign to take full responsibility for the defeat.

“The election results have showed that voters are not satisfied with the government’s administration,” Jiang said. He said President Ma Ying-jeou had accepted his resignation.

Hit hard by a series of protests against a services trade pact signed with Beijing, a food safety scare, missteps in education reform and worries over class and income inequality in the past year, the KMT faced a tough challenge from the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

Incoming Taipei mayor Dr Ko Wen-je and his wife Peggy Chen.

Campaigning on a pledge to punish the KMT for its poor performance, the DPP, which already held the southern municipalities of Tainan and Kaohsiung, made two big gains – Taoyuan and the more important central city of Taichung.

The DPP was keen to secure Taichung because it would allow the pro-independence party to expand its influence from central Taiwan to the island’s north, boosting its chances in 2016.

The DPP also captured nine other cities and counties in what was viewed as its best result since its founding in 1986.

“But this has also made us nervous. We must learn from the lesson of the KMT defeat and keep in mind the desires and feelings of the public, who will withdraw their support if dissatisfied,” DPP leader Tsai Ing-wen said, confirming her party had won 13 cities and counties.

Vice-President Wu Den-yih and President Ma Ying-jeou react.

Ma apologised to supporters for the KMT setback. “I have heard their voices and I will not evade my responsibility to start reforms,” he said. But he stopped short of saying whether he would step down as KMT chairman.

The loss of the capital Taipei was a serious blow to the KMT as the ruling party’s political territory shrunk from 15 cities and counties to six. Two other counties – offshore Lienchiang county and the eastern county of Hualien – went to independents.

A downbeat Sean Lien Sheng-wen, running for Taipei mayor, was the first KMT candidate to concede defeat.

Lien, 44, lost to independent surgeon Dr Ko Wen-je, who pledged to bridge the long-time KMT-DPP political divide.

Several minutes later, Jason Hu Chih-chiang, three-time mayor of Taichung, another important municipality held by the KMT, threw in the towel to DPP challenger Lin Chia-lung. “I give my blessing to Mayor Lin,” Hu said.

The KMT’s Eric Chu Li-luan held on as New Taipei City mayor but said he and the party needed to do some soul-searching to regain support. Chu lost at least 150,000 votes yesterday from the more than 1.1 million he gained in the last elections in 2010.

In Beijing, the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office said the mainland authorities took note of the island’s electoral results and hoped compatriots across the Taiwan Strait would value the improving bilateral ties to continue to promote peaceful development of cross-strait relations.

Taking Back Hong Kong’s Future

Did Najib paraphrase from Hsien Loong?

By Albert Tay (Sgc Ommoner)

I hereby declare Najib Razak plagiarise (or at least, paraphrase) from Lee Hsien Loong!

Just look at these:

“Content creators have to make sure their content does not lead members of society out of social and religious norms.”

“Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday said there was no “perfect solution” to finding the right balance between ensuring total Internet freedom and protecting the public from possible harm by irresponsible users.”

“Mr Najib noted that the Internet had raised new questions on the “hard limits of free expression”, owing to issues such as libel and cyberbullying. ”

“He added that the Internet should not be allowed to “become a medium for the stoking of racial and religious tension”, saying he had observed that, in Malaysia, the Internet had been abused many times to “spread half-truths and even outright lies”.”

“Mr Najib urged the public to be discerning and think before sharing online content as it has the potential to go “viral and take on a life of its own”.”

““I believe we should preserve what makes the Internet what it is: A place for the free exchange of views, a place where truly interactive discussion can progress knowledge, development and democracy. But I also believe we can all commit to encouraging more civil and responsible online debate, to ensure behaviour online reflects the norms and values that we expect of one another in real life,” he said.”

I seriously, almost copied the entire article here.

kl working to censor websites

re: http://www.todayonline.com/world/asia/kl-working-censor-websites

also: https://www.facebook.com/leehsienloong/posts/719842881411754


8 roads in KL to be renamed

The roads will be named after the current and past Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Work on the installation of new signboards will begin tomorrow (November 26), DBKL says.

Directive showing road name changes

Press release showing the road name changes

KUALA LUMPUR: The names of some major roads in Malaysia’s most populated city will change from Wednesday (Nov 26), the Kuala Lumpur City Hall announced on Monday.

According to a media release signed off by Dr Ismail Stapa, a corporate planning manager at KL City Hall, the names of some roads are being changed to honour previous royal heads of state. The roads affected are:

  1. Jalan Duta – will become Jalan Tunku Abdul Halim
  2. Jalan Khidmat Usaha – will become Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah
  3. Jalan Ipoh (from Jalan Segambut  junction until Jalan Pahang junction) – will become Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah
  4. Persiaran Duta – will become Persiaran Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin
  5. Jalan Khidmat Setia and Jalan Ibadah – will become Jalan Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin
  6. Lebuhraya Mahameru – will become Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar
  7. Persiaran Mahameru – will become Persiaran Tuanku Ja’afar
  8. Jalan Semarak – will become Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra

Road signs to reflect the new names will be installed on Nov 26, City Hall said.