The biggest mistake we made…What perpaduan are we talking about?

1 05 2012


Reforming Our Education System.


My last post (“DPM: Report on education system review in 3 months“) has attracted some perceptive comments. Thank you folks for all your comments. I am glad that many really clever folks read my Blog and take time to send in your comments. I think we all learn a lot from all your comments. There are plenty of people in our country who seem to have a grip on things. There is much hope for our country.

Till this morning, there were nine comments sent in about my “DPM: Report on education system review in 3 months” blog. I have regrouped those comments with similar content. When the comments are similar, it shows that the people have common fears or concerns. I hope the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education will take note. Finally, I have added my own comments as well (in brackets).

1. Anonymous said…Tuan Syed, Do our education system need any review ? only recently our EM/DPM stated that our education system is better than some of the most advanced countries in the world like UK, US. I think it is better not to waste money la, deficit is going to breach the statutory limit already. Tuesday, April 10, 2012 9:49:00 AM

2. Anonymous said… reportedly our education system ranked 14th place worldwide, beating US, UK and germany.. why sent children to oversea then..?? Tuesday, April 10, 2012 11:06:00 AM

(My comments : These are valid points. Why do we need to review our education system if our education system is better than the US, UK and such. Our education system is reportedly ranked 14th worldwide, ahead of US, UK and even Germany. If we are so good, then why do we have to review the education system? Obviously then all these rankings are ‘syok sendiri’ and do not serve any useful purpose for us. Why do I say this? Because the Minister of Education cum DPM says we still have to review our education system.

And can the Minister of Education also please answer the following news report from The Star. If our Education System is better than the US, UK or Germany then how come no Malaysian high school graduates have qualified to enter Harvard University for the past two years?

No Malaysian in Harvard for second consecutive year

KUALA LUMPUR: For the second consecutive year, no Malaysian student has gained admission into Harvard University. Datuk Dr Goh Cheng Teik, who heads the selection panel that interviews students for undergraduate admission into the university, said this was due to the deteriorating quality of applicants from Malaysia.


“I called the Harvard College Admissions Office and was told that although they received applications from Malaysian students, no one was shortlisted for interviews as they are not considered competitive enough,” he told The Star. Dr Goh said former SMK Damansara Jaya student Avinaash Subramaniam was the last Malaysian to be accepted into Harvard in 2010.

Not competitive enough? Kononnya kita lebih baik daripada Jerman, Amerika dan Britain, tapi dah dua tahun tak ada siapa pun anak Malaysia layak masuk Harvard. Can anyone explain this? Please don’t say this is a Jewish conspiracy. And please dont say, “So what?” We must measure ourselves against other people. That is what is meant by the word “measure” – we gauge one thing with another thing. If we just ‘syok sendiri’ that is not measuring.


The key word is “competitive”. Our education system does not teach kids (especially those who do not know) how to learn to compete with the world.

The following five comments No. 3 – No. 7 all mention the appointment of Malaysia’s Robber Barons to the National Education System Evaluation Panel. No one seems to agree with the appointment of some of these goons and Robber Barons to an education system evaluation panel. I mean what exactly are their qualifications? Either they have ripped off millions and billions or they have closed one eye and allowed millions and billions get ripped off. And these are the folks we want on our National Educational System Evaluation Panel? Lucu juga. Here are the comments about them :

3. Anonymous said…I am concerned by the names from the corporate sector. Tak habis habis muka ni lagi ke? Tony Fernandez and Azman Mokhtar?? Would Education now be another avenue for them to make money? Rob from us poor people? Kalau BN kalah PRU13, don’t say we haven’t warned you. Monday, April 09, 2012 11:52:00 PM

4. Anonymous said…yikes….names in the last para – for role models ke ??????

Monday, April 09, 2012 11:11:00 PM

5. Anonymous said…What a stupid joke la DPM is doing. Sebagai menteri yang bertanggungjawab, biar ada taste la sikit.. carilah panelis sektor korporat dari kalangan tokoh yang takdak isu moral untuk kemaskan lagi sistem pendidikan kita yang pincang. Ada ka letak monyet-monyet yang tengah dok sakau dan kebas duit awam dari GLC yang depa diamanahkan jaga?

Suka sangat la beruk monyet ni dpt pengiktirafan untuk evaluate sistem, dan sistem yang akan disarankan nanti pastinya yang dapat memberi manfaat kewangan dan kekayaan untuk mereka. Itu jam, Tony F buka pula kolej low cost, lima tahun lepas tu dia CCF dgn universiti awam pulak.


Tengok apa jadi kat MAS, itu jugak nasib universiti awam esok.

Takkan la depa ni yang akan sumbangkan idea untuk set module dan silibus bagi hala tuju pendidikan. Ditakuti generasi akan datang di bawah sistem pendidikan ini nanti akan jadi genius dan berfikiran kreatif lalu menjadi prodigy depa, perompak dan penyamun yang pakai suit mahal. Bang Din, jangan la buat joke dekat pilihanraya ni, gelak terguling- guling saya dibuatnya.

FMZ Tuesday, April 10, 2012 1:07:00 AM

(My comment : Ouch !!)

6. Anonymous said…Why the heck Azman Mokhtar needs to be involved? Wt heck he knows about education? Business dah tak erti as if he is gonna bring great help and changes to the education system? Tuesday, April 10, 2012 9:25:00 AM

7. Anonymous said…same old story. The education system has gone thru a maze and the politicians found out they can not get out. and so pukul canang/tabla dan lion dance lah to distract the public from seeing who the culprits are LOL. Bodoh koja tapi pandai zapin politik..loncat sana loncat sini.

Why dont they give the public choices for eg. English, Malay medium and keep the vernacular schools intact. Forget this perpaduan thing because when Bolehland opened doors for IPTS and private schools, only the Poor Malays / Chinese / Indians and Indons remain in Government schools.

Why dont they solicit public opinion ? ala election ?

And what’s this nonsense of getting the aeroplane fella, the khazanah guy and others not related to eucation per se into the committee ? Baik panggil orang and employers association and the like. They can give eye-opening inputs…sheesh.

Jgn. lama sangat bodoh. Tak penat ke ? Monday, April 09, 2012 11:44:00 PM

8. Anonymous said… Start by bringing back PPSMI. Stop the bullshit that the majority of schools want Science and maths to be taught in BM – you didn’t ask the students or the teachers, you only polled the administrators. Bring back PPSMI, then start from there. Godfather Tuesday, April 10, 2012 10:38:00 AM

(My comments : This is a valid point by Godfather. Why didn’t the Ministry of Education poll the students, the teachers and the parents? Too many parents and also teachers say that they were never asked about the PPSMI. Personally I will not ask students because a 10 year old or 15 year old may not be in a position to know much about a good education system for this complicated, complex, multi racial country ie Malaysia. But I will definitely ask teachers and parents. I believe the book publishing lobby which makes a lot of money from publishing school books has a very big say in deciding the PPSMI issue. At the end of the day, it is politics which has influenced the abolishment of the PPSMI. We have pawned the future of our children for thirty pieces of duit timah. So why hasn’t the Ministry of Education conducted an honest survey among parents and school teachers if we should keep the PPSMI or not?)

Here is the final comment:

9. Moshe said… Alo Sayed, It is very good that the Education Minister is making a review on the education system thus far in this country. Perhaps we shall know the prevailing standard, its weaknesses, its potential in achieving national objectives and so forth.

Remember during our time the education system was more England oriented and that generation were very very proficient in speaking the language – English. Most of that generation is, are, was, were anglophiles irrespective of which creed or race they belonged. Hence mother tongue was left to the nationalist be it the Melayu, Cina( notoriously the dong ngong) or Tamil.

But yet that system integrate and bond us as truly Malaysian with minimal perjudices and we were not polarised nor differentiated by our race or background. As the record stands our education system then was excellent among the commonwealth member nations and we were neck to neck with Sinjapor in term of standard.

I supposed the Razak report and several other reports on Education has in a way led to the state of our education system as today.

But what angered me most is the dong ngong group who until today and since before merdeka, insisted that Chinese language be made at par with Bahasa Melayu and stood stubborn with chauvinistic demands that Chinese language be recognised so. The malaysian contitution as accepted by all races accept that bahasa Melayu as the national language of this country though others can used their respective mother tongues. But this dong ngong group refused vehemently to accept this and a majority of their product cannot nor fluent in the national language. This was made worst by DAP who are keen to incite disrespect with the use of mandarin instead of the official language – bahasa at a police station recently on the breast grappling allegations raised by Teresa Kok.

I believed if the chinese continues to discriminate and disparage the national education system, it would eventually lose support and it would be very difficult to progress in our national integration and development efforts.

Sinjapor banned chinese schools, it was easy for them as theirs is just and Island state but ours has shoreline that make our landmass seems to be a phallic symbol with the Island state shoreline resembling the obvious.

Nevertheless, the steps taken to review the education system is highly commendable. Syabas and after this we shall know where we stand.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 12:27:00 PM

(My comments : Thank you Moshe. The Dong Zong are another bunch of hungry opportunists. They too represent the Chinese book publishers, just like the Dewan Bahasa goons often speak up for the Malay book publishers. They are all in it for the money – perpaduan all can go to hell.

I learnt something from a young 19 year old student recently. The boy said that in his school (where he is doing his Form 6), the Malays sit in one corner and speak Malay, the Chinese sit in one corner and speak Chinese and the Indians sit in one corner and speak Tamil. All three races cannot speak English. So now they do not communicate with each other at all.


Up to the 70s the education system was still very English based. I think the education system at that time produced very good and capable people who could compete and function not just in Malaysia but also internationally. Now in this 21st century, Malaysians are increasingly becoming jaguh kampong – they can only speak Malay, Chinese or Tamil. They cannot speak English much.

There is another point I learnt from the 19 year old student. It is becoming an absolute fact that we are now less united as a nation. We tried to use Bahasa Melayu as a uniting language – and we used the education system as a method to teach Bahasa Melayu. There were a couple of things that went wrong. First we called it Bahasa Malaysia. It is NOT Bahasa Malaysia. It is Bahasa Melayu.

Secondly, while we changed the system to almost completely Malay, we did a half baked job. We still allowed Chinese and Tamil schools to co-exist. Lee Kuan Yew banned Chinese and Tamil schools in Singapore in the 1970s. In Thailand there are no Chinese schools. In Indonesia there are no Chinese schools. But in Malaysia we allowed Chinese and Tamil schools to operate. This meant that the Malay language policy was only effective in the Government schools where the majority of the students were already Malay.

So exactly what perpaduan were we achieving by teaching in Malay to Malays in Government schools, teaching Chinese to Chinese in Chinese schools and teaching in Tamil to Tamils in Tamil schools? Perpaduan apa pula?


But the biggest mistake we made was we let the quality of teachers, the quality of teaching and the quality of education in general to really deteriorate in the majority of Government run schools. And that is why hundreds of thousands of Chinese and Indians ran away to Chinese and Tamil schools.

Up to the 1970s, Chinese school enrolment was very low. The huge majority of Chinese students went to Government schools (including the so called Missionary schools). But after the switch to the Malay language in the 1970s and the deterioration in the quality of education at Government schools, enrollment at Chinese and Tamil schools jumped by the hundreds of thousands.

And the Chinese schools also made a paradigm shift. They transformed themselves from being breeding grounds of Chinese secret societies, gangsterism and fertile recruiting grounds for the Communist Party of Malaya to become high performance schools which gave young Chinese strong discipline, exposure to hard work (tons of homework) and very tough standards to achieve.


Plus, the Chinese schools also vastly improved the teaching of the English language. Today, the Chinese schools employ some of the best English language teachers and Chinese school students speak very good English as well. And they are very strong in encouraging music, dance and other arts. As a result the Chinese community feels it is worthwhile to invest money in Chinese schools. Almost every Chinese school has airconditioned classrooms and has much resources – thanks to strong support from the Chinese community. If it is beneficial to them, they will support their high quality Chinese school system. It is as simple as that.

So can we blame the Chinese if they want to keep the Chinese schools? They want quality education and they are getting it from the Chinese schools. Kita nak marah pun tak kena target. We will be missing the point entirely. Menteri sendiri sudah cakap bahawa ‘our education system needs review’. Menteri sendiri tak konfiden with our education system.

Coming back to using Malay as a unifying language through the education system – well it has failed. If you want to argue this point, please go to Jalan Kuchai Lama and talk to any Chinese there. Or go to Kuala Lipis and talk to any Chinese or Indian there. Haram sepatah Melayu pun depa tak faham. Tapi dia boleh cari hidup, boleh kaya, ada rumah banglo, kereta besar dan ada duit. People can get along fine in life being whatever they are and speaking whatever language they want to speak. What perpaduan are we talking about?

This is where perhaps the English language can contribute some difference in Malaysia as a uniting factor. Its like this : a Malay will not want to speak broken Chinese to a Chinese. The Chinese will have the advantage because he is a native speaker. Plus the Malay feels that his language is superior to Chinese.

Likewise a Chinese will not want to speak broken Malay to a Malay. The Malay will have the advantage because he is a native speaker. Plus the Chinese feels that his language is superior to Malay. The same applies to the Indian, Iban etc.

But all races Chinese, Malay, Indian, Iban etc will not mind speaking English (especially broken English) because all are non-native speakers of English. English is foreign to all of us. And because English is the language of the world there is an acknowledgement that English is a very useful language. So while Tamils may not like to speak Chinese, or Chinese may not like to speak Malay – most everyone in Malaysia will not mind speaking English. I think we have overlooked this unifying strength of the English language for a diverse country like Malaysia. We must relook this angle as well.

The country should have a dual language system of education – Malay and English. Mathematics, Science and subjects like Economics, Accounting, Management should be taught in English. We have to keep up with the rest of the world.

Getting back to the deteriorating quality of the Government schools, we nailed the coffin shut when we injected an overdose of religion into our Government schools. School assembly started with baca doa, PIBG meetings began with baca Quran – as though our Government schools had become Madrassah Taliban Darul Uloom Haqqaniah aka “Suicide Bomber School”.

I think even the Taliban will be shocked at the amount of religious indoctrination in our Government schools. The guru agama (if they have sekolah pondok background, sijil tinggi agama background or some religious qualification then it is most likely that they are the least educated and the least qualified among the school teachers) can over rule a headmaster with a Master’s degree over many things in school. The guru agama can say that girls cannot play volleyball because it is a jahiliyah sport where girls will have to jump up and down and make the men excited.

The guru agama can organise qiyamul laili where students taking exams are made to believe that praying late into the night will earn them better grades. There are also cases of ‘guru agama’ who sell kismis ajaib to their students. Folks, I am so sorry to break this news to you but air jampi and kismis ajaib cannot make students score even half an A. Plus the Chinese and Indian kids also get 10As without even qiyamul laili.

The religious indoctrination is the final nail in the coffin for the Government education system in Malaysia. I hope that when Tan Sri Muhyuddin Yassin undertakes the review of the Education System, the Government will remove religious indoctrination in our school system.

Plus we cannot even be sure that what the religious teachers teach is 100% correct. Shiah kata lain, Salafi kata lain, Tarekat kata lain, Tableeg kata lain, Wahabi kata lain, Syafiee kata lain, Hanafi kata lain, Maliki kata lain. Semua lain-lain.

It is best to go back to the system used by our fathers and grandfathers – religion should be taught at home by parents to their children. (Kalau parents tak reti pasal agama, boleh hantar anak belajar dengan ustaz or ustazah or go to the surau, guna duit sendiri). And then most important of all, religion should stay at home. There is an overdose of religion in our public sphere.

Finally if we want to fully reform our Education System, we must pay very, very close attention to the quality of our teachers. I think this is another huge factor affecting our education system. The quality of our teachers.

Now, don’t get upset or get excited. I want to speak plainly here. If it hurts some peoples’ feelings I don’t know what to say but I think these are simple observations which I have seen with my own eyes.

Very often also teaching is a last choice option for SPM leavers who could not do anything better in life. So it is not by choice that many young people become teachers. It is by necessity. They have no other options. Even university graduates who become teachers often do so because they don’t have any other choice. After being turned down by JPA, PTD, GLC etc they may just try to get a job as a teacher. Some of the guys would also prefer ‘jadi Polis’ or ‘jadi Askar’ first before becoming cikgu. Its a last choice option.

Actually this should not be a problem at all. Not matter what their background, no matter whether they have a choice or no choice, it is our job to make sure that all our teachers are properly trained. But it is also important to detoxify teachers from any toxic ideas and toxic belief systems they may have with them which can infect their students.

Its like this – besides parents, especially mothers, it is the school teachers who should be the moving force to create a modern, dynamic, progressive and competitive nation. And especially in developing countries, teachers should be the main locomotives to modernise a society which is not yet modernised.

Therefore teachers should not only teach everything that is modern but teachers themselves should be modern, scientific and progressive. Kalau cikgu sekolah sendiri menjadi bejana pemikiran jumud, berbudaya yang ketinggalan zaman then how is the cikgu going to modernise his or her students? This is what is NOT happening in Malaysia.

Because you have teachers who come from all parts of the country, bringing with them whatever indoctrination was put inside their heads in the places where they come from.

If a teacher hails from a Kampong Memali type place, it is most likely that she will still be indoctrinated with the strong religious indoctrination that was or is prevalent there. Tudung mesti labuh, bahasa Inggeris bahasa kafir, musik itu mainan syaitan, perempuan tak boleh main volleyball and all the other backward, un-modern, unscientific indoctrination that you would expect from a place like a Memali. (Yes I know this is not an exactly 100% accurate description but I think you can understand what I mean).

The same goes for teachers who are from parts of the country that are still lagging behind the rest of the country or the rest of the world. People in those parts are still lagging behind (economically and socially) exactly because they are not scientific and not modern enough.

So if we have young teachers coming from these parts of the country we must make sure that these teachers leave behind those belief systems that made their communities lag behind the others in the first place. If we do not modernise the teacher from Memali, Bachok or Selama and we send them to teach in a school in Bangsar, pretty soon we will have a mini-Memali or a mini-Bachok even in Bangsar. I think this is happening already.

I am not saying that folks from Memali cannot become teachers. What I am saying is that if Memali is still Memali, it is because they are not modern, progressive or scientific enough. In conclusion, Memali or no, we have a duty to train our teachers and make sure that our teachers are as modern, progressive and scientific as possible – irrespective of where they came from.

Unfortunately I think our education system (referring especially to the Government schools) has gone quite in the opposite direction. Many of our teachers are not as modern, progressive or scientific.

If there is an overdose of religious, parochial and cultural indoctrination it means that teachers may not be the desired agents of progress and modernisation that we need to keep up with the 21st century. Considering the huge influence they have on our kids, teachers can become agents of reverse indoctrination. Be careful.

Folks, this is the 21st century already. Kalau tak percaya, please check your calendar. The Chinese schools are already aiming for the 22nd century. The private schools and the International schools are also getting to the 22nd century. The Gomen schools are heading towards the 7th century. I think the Minister of Education knows the problem. That is why he says we have to review the education system, the 14th best education system in the world – better than US, UK and Germany.