Archive for category Education

Raising a family of true Malaysians

– Prof Dr. Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
The Malaysian Insider
27 August 2014

In many senses, it seems funny that Malaysians, particularly the Malays, find great difficulty in the idea of a united, harmonious and happy Malaysia. I am a Malay. All my Malay friends at UTM and other universities and all my relatives and that of my wife are… racist. If I were to invite all of them to a marriage ceremony, the number would easily reach 3,000. Based on a simple sampling of 5% of this population that I engage in socialising, I have established that they know nothing about the idea of “Malaysia”. All they know is the condition of “we just have to tolerate those immigrants and make sure they don’t make us like Singapore” mind set. I have always thought that some of my friends and relatives whom I respect as very pious Muslims would be different, but they too turn out to be racist when political issues are discussed. It came as a shock to me. I thought that Islam would be one of the answers to eliminate racism, but apparently, the “Malay-view” interpretation of Islam always take precedence. Islam is NOT the problem but its racist interpretation is. I know this for a fact because of my vast reading of Islam, thousands of hadiths and many versions of Qur’anic Tafsir.

In this Merdeka celebration, the “idea” of Malaysia seems only in a dream or in a Petronas or a DiGi commercial. The idea of Malaysia does not exist in our schools, in our public universities, at our housing and our cities. But I still remain optimistic. Why? Because my family is NOT racist. My wife who is a retired teacher is not racist. My 28-year-old lecturer daughter educated at IIUM is not racist. My 26-year-old journalist daughter educated at TAR College and Taylors University is not racist. My 23-year-old son in his third year at UCSI University is not racist. My 20-year-old SEGi University daughter is not racist. And my 18-year-old Inti University son is also not racist. How did I manage to form my own small country of “Malaysia”? There are a few simple strategies that I had developed. I will save the most important one for last. Read the rest of this entry »

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Muhyiddin should present to October Parliament a Higher Education Masterplan to produce at least two world-class universities by 2020 instead of allowing Malaysian universities to become recruiting grounds for terrorists for Islamic State (IS) war in Syria and Iraq

The admission by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi that local tertiary institutions have become recruiting grounds for militants and that Dr. Mahmud Ahmad, senior lecturer with University of Malaya (UM)’s Department of Akidah and Islamic Thought, the Academy of Islamic Studies, was among five individuals wanted by the police for militant activities have catapulted Malaysian universities to unwanted national and international attention and publicity.

Instead of producing world-class universities in keeping with the Vision 2020 objective to achieve developed nation status, Malaysian universities have for the past decade been a national embarrassment, annually confirming the absence of world-class universities in Malaysia.

Malaysia was completely absent from the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2013-2014 for the world’s top 400 University.

For the second year running, Malaysia failed to get on the list of the 2014 Times Higher Education (THE) Top 100 Universities under 50 years old – although four Asian universities are ranked among the top 10 of the world’s young universities, two from South Korea, one from Hong Kong and one from Singapore. In Malaysia, all the public universities except for University of Malaya, are under 50 years old.

Malaysia was also excluded from the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2014 for the Top 100 Universities, although 14 universities from Asia were included – five from Japan, two from Singapore, three from South Korea, one from China, two from Hong Kong and one from Taiwan. Read the rest of this entry »

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Our varsities neutered and muted, say academics

by Sheridan Mahavera
The Malaysian Insider
4 July 2014

A culture of fear and pressure to follow the dictates of political masters built over three decades has made public universities anti-intellectual and mediocre, say academics.

They told The Malaysian Insider that while universities were supposed to be the conscience of society, they, however, have been neutered and muted.

They said political pressure to “toe the line” is a daily reality in universities, and those who are critical are harassed while those who kowtow are rewarded with plum posts.

At the same time, cronyism and racism have led to genuinely hardworking researchers being passed over for salary raises and promotions, while others less qualified, but on good terms with the top administrators, are easily elevated.

If the culture continues, the academics warn, standards in these varsities could plunge, making their degrees virtually worthless and their graduates almost unemployable. Read the rest of this entry »

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When principled men like UM’s Redzuan lose a battle, but win the war

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
30 June 2014

This is a good day for Malaysia.

Yes, most of us will be sorry that Professor Datuk Dr Mohamad Redzuan Othman is being forced out of his job at Universiti Malaya.

But this is also a good day for Malaysia. Because the principled stand taken by this gentleman is another sign that there are individuals in Malaysia who will not be cowered or silenced or threatened by insecure Barisan Nasional (BN) politicians aided by supine and morally-bankrupt government officials.

Only a few days ago, Tan Sri Shamsul Abbas, the chief executive officer of Petronas, spoke with unusual candour about the pressure being exerted on the national oil company by rent-seekers. He championed meritocracy, knowing full well the attacks he would invite from those who believe it is their birthright to plunder Malaysia’s resources.

He knows that powerful forces want him out of Petronas. The easier option would have been to say that the national oil company’s resources do not belong to him and look the other way as the plundering continued.

Similarly, it would have been so easy for Redzuan to sacrifice his beliefs for personal advancement and pecuniary interests. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysian Leaders’ First World Education, Third World Mentality

Review of Syed Husin Ali’s Memoirs of a Political Struggle.
by M. Bakri Musa

Syed Husin Ali: Memoirs of a Political Struggle. Strategic Information and Research Development Center, Petaling Jaya, 2013. 273 pp.

The deserved universal condemnation and merciless ridicule of the Malaysian authorities’ bungling of the MH370 tragedy did not arise in a vacuum. From leaders’ refusing to entertain questions at their press briefings to radar operators ignoring intruding beeps on their screens, this unconcealed contempt for the public, and the accompanying lackadaisical attitude, is the norm.

Our leaders may have had First World education, alas their mentality remains stubbornly stuck in Third World mode. Their bebalism and tidak apaism make the Jamaican “It’s not my job, mon!” a valid excuse by contrast.

To readers of on-line news portals, I am not stating anything new here; likewise to ordinary citizens who have had to deal with governmental agencies. However, when these general inadequacies and gross incompetence in their infinite manifestations are put in print as in books, there is satisfaction, at least to their authors, that they are being documented for posterity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Teachers’ right to support political party of their choice, say teachers, NGOs

by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
4 June 2014

Teachers should not be compelled to only support Barisan Nasional as they have the right to support any political party of their choice, educationists said today.

“Teachers are just like any other citizen in the country. And like other professionals, they have political opinions too,” said Hashim Adnan, president of the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP), in response to Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s call to teachers to return to politics under BN’s fold.

“They should be given freedom to exercise their rights,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »

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Teluk Intan and all that jazz

Azly Rahman
Malaysiakini
May 30, 2014

What is promised to our youth in this by-election that is pitching the old versus the young? What do we need to see radically changed in our society? Here are my thoughts, especially today.

I am very sad today, reading about rape cases involving minors – gang-rape, to be exact, of ten, twelve, thirty young kids destroying each other! Madness. No-nonsense parenting is key here, folks.

Just when I had finished writing this first draft for this column, I read about a two year-old girl taken away from a shopping mall and later found with her head severed and her body dumped near the Klang River. Madness.

Days earlier we read about the early morning robbery of two nuns in Seremban, of which one of them died of serious head injuries. Almost daily we still read about snatch thefts resulting in the victims injured. An endless cycle of violence we are living in. Madness.

Back to what is happening to our youth. Read the rest of this entry »

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UiTM, antara tanggungjawab sosial dan kecemerlangan

Shahrulazwad Ismail
The Malay Mail Online
May 27, 2014

26 MEI — Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) sering diperdebatkan baru-baru ini semenjak pencalonan calon parti politik DAP, Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud untuk kerusi Parlimen Teluk Intan. Pada tahun lepas, Dyana yang merupakan seorang graduan Fakulti Undang-Undang UiTM telah mencadangkan agar sebuah institusi seperti UiTM dibuka kepada golongan bukan bumiputera yang berpendapatan rendah.

Sesetengah pihak menganggap Dyana mahu UiTM dimansuhkan ataupun paling tidak dibuka kepada semua kaum. Dyana turut juga membangkitkan kepincangan dalam pengambilan pelajar apabila golongan Bumiputera yang kaya diterimamasuk sebagai pelajar lantas telah mengambil hak golongan bumiputera yang miskin untuk belajar di situ.

Sekurang-kurangnya satu kesan positif yang timbul daripada isu panas ini ialah timbul kesedaran tentang peranan UiTM dikalangan rakyat walaupun diiringi dengan pelbagai kritikan, prasangka dan juga hinaan dan cacian secara terbuka di media-media. Saya yakin ramai sudah maklum serba sedikit tentang sejarah dan matlamat penubuhan institusi ini dan tidak kurang juga tentang Artikel 153 Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Pelbagai hujahan telah ditulis oleh pelbagai pihak baik dari pihak UiTM, para graduan UiTM (selain Dyana), para majikan dan tidak kurang juga golongan awam. Eloklah kita ambil kesempatan ini untuk menilai tahap kejayaan UiTM ketika ini dan mengenalpasti halatuju selanjutnya.

[Harap maklum bahawa penulis juga merupakan graduan Fakulti Undang-Undang UiTM sejak sepuluh tahun yang lepas.] Read the rest of this entry »

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How to ensure poor get their share of scholarships

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
May 11, 2014

Since my retirement, I have been concerned with how we can solve the problem of the poor through educational mobility.

This has involved putting my money where my mouth is in a programme which helps needy families send their children to university through financing their first year.

Although Forbes, the media organisation has given recognition to me in its annual selection of Asian philanthropic heroes in 2011, I am the first to realise that my efforts at providing scholarships to the needy are modest and a drop in the ocean of need.

After much reflection, I would like to provide a practical and easy solution to the problem of too many deserving poor children having to chase and compete for too few scholarships.

My solution is a two-pronged one. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysian universities not among world’s top ‘young’ institutions, global survey shows

by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
MAY 01, 2014

Malaysian public universities have once again failed to measure up to higher learning institutions around the world, this time being left out of the latest ranking of the annual Times Higher Education (THE) Top 100 Universities under 50 years old.

Four Asian universities are ranked among the top 10 of the world’s young universities, including South Korea’s Pohang University of Science and Technology which took the top spot, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (3), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (4) and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (5).

Malaysia, however, failed to get on the list for the second year running. In the first rankings list in 2012, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) was ranked 98th.

This is despite Putrajaya’s claim that Malaysia has one of the best education systems in the world – better than United States, Britain and Germany. Read the rest of this entry »

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What is ‘the best interest of everyone’ by retracting invitation to opposition lawmaker?

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
April 10, 2014

DAP’s Tony Pua has been ‘uninvited’ by the organisers of the Malaysia Summit Australia conference due to pressue from sponsors of the event. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 10,2014.DAP MP Tony Pua is not speaking at the Malaysia Summit Australia (MASA) in Melbourne on April 22 because the event’s main sponsors felt that “it was not in the best interest of everyone” to have him on the panel.

Among the sponsors are Shell Malaysia, Astro, Education Malaysia Australia, Ayam Brand, Malaysian Australian Alumni Council and Kelab Umno Australia.

Obviously, it is their right to decide on the speakers line-up as they are funding the annual summit that features Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir.

This is not the first time that those who are critical of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government are barred from students events. Last week, Universiti Malaya (UM) refused to allow former Bersih co-chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan to speak at a law convention.

Pua, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP, also revealed that he had been barred from speaking in UM on at least three occasions. Again, that is UM’s right.

These incidents reflect the mindset of the varsities, organisers and the sponsors, who are more interested in being in the good books of the ruling government than being the catalysts for students to listen and learn from those on all sides of the political divide. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chronic rent-seeking due to corrupted NEP, says Ku Li

by Joseph Sipalan
Malay Mail Online
4 April 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — “Haywire” implementation of the New Economic Policy (NEP) was the cause of the rampant cronyism and rent-seeking now ailing Malaysia, said veteran lawmaker Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

The former finance minister said the practice of patronage in implementing the policy had undermined the “just and noble” philosophy that underpinned the social engineering programme that was mooted in the aftermath of the May 13, 1969 racial riots.

“The entrenchment of rent-seeking and patronage system into the fabric of Malaysian life begs the question: How did this come to pass?” he said in his keynote address at the launch of the book “Rich Malaysia, Poor Malaysians” last night.

“Much as this sounds like a blame game and much as this is distasteful to swallow, the answer lies in the New Economic Policy; or rather, the NEP that had gone wrong in its implementation,” he added.

Tengku Razaleigh, or Ku Li as he is popularly known, said the country has fallen victim to the machinations of politicians habitually lining their own pockets and colluding with businessmen who were uncompetitive without preferential treatment. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia ranks 39 out of 44 countries in problem-solving test for 15-year-olds, says report

by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
April 02, 2014

Malaysia once again fared poorly in a world student performance assessment test conducted in 2012, ending up in the bottom quarter among 44 countries – a result that reinforces the concern that the country’s education system is in tatters.

Malaysia ranked 39 with a mean score of 422 in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) first assessment on creative problem-solving, while neighbouring Singapore came out tops with a mean score of 562, said the report released yesterday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The overall mean score for all countries was 500.

Malaysia had more than half of the share of low achievers, which means the students tested lacked the skills needed in a modern workplace.

In contrast, Singapore only had 8% share of low achievers. The mean share was 21.4%.

On the other hand, Malaysia only had 0.9% share of top performers compared with Singapore’s 29.3%. Malaysia’s share was below the average percentage of 11.4%.

This showed that only one out of 10 Malaysian students, aged 15, is able to solve the most complex problems, compared with one in five in Singapore, Korea and Japan. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia must stop mediocrity rot

– Lok Wing Kong
The Malaysian Insider
March 30, 2014

Former de facto law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said that in 30 years, Malaysia will be on a par with Singapore.

He is totally wrong in that Malaysia will never be able to catch up with Singapore. Why? It is simple. Singapore practise hyper meritocracy while Malaysia practises mediocrity.

The two countries are moving forward at different speeds. They can only be getting further apart over time.

World Bank senior economist Dr Frederico Gil Sander recently said that the low quality of Malaysia’s education was more alarming than its household debts.

The writer cannot agree with him more as the policy of mediocrity is at play. Read the rest of this entry »

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New Form 3 exam system open to bias, abuse, says education activist

by Sheridan Mahavera
The Malaysian Insider
March 20, 2014

The new exam system that will replace the PMR for Form Three students this year is open to bias and abuse, and could jeopardise the future of children from poorer families, said an education activist today.

Mohd Noor Izzat Mohd Johari said that unlike the old system, where the Form Three exam is produced and graded by an independent body outside the school, the new one, PT3 or Form Three Assessment, will be done by the teachers of each individual schools.

Since PT3 results are used by students to apply to elite schools such as residential schools and the MARA junior science colleges, richer, more well off parents could pressure teachers into giving their children better grades.

“This is the situation that we are afraid will happen. When parents come to school and ask that teachers ‘take care’ of their kids,” said Mohd Noor Izzat who teaches art at a secondary school in Pahang.

Noor Izzat said this was a big worry for teachers after the PT3 was announced yesterday by the Education Ministry as part of its improvements to the school based assessment system (PBS). Read the rest of this entry »

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Applauding Khairy’s suggestion to revise BTN

— Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud
The Malay Mail Online
March 6, 2014

MARCH 6 ― In The Malay Mail dated 5 March, Umno minister Khairy Jamaluddin has suggested a revision of the country’s National Civics Bureau (BTN) training courses, saying undergraduates should be treated like adults and not taught to be blind supporters of the government.

I, myself have never been to any of BTN courses. However, a few years back, a friend of mine who was working for a government agency and was dating a lovely Chinese lady received a directive from his superior to attend a BTN course.

Upon returning from the course held somewhere in the state of Pahang, we went for our weekly coffee session and he shared with me his experience about the course he attended. He mentioned,

“The course made me racist. I feel that the other races are not thankful enough for being in Malaysia. We should show them that we are the boss and they better respect it.”

I was shocked. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dare Muhyiddin make a Ministerial statement in Parliament next week to explain why Singapore can get two universities for four consecutive years into the THE Top 100 Universities World Reputation Rankings and THE World University Rankings for Top 400 but not a single one from Malaysia?

For many years, it is a heart-breaking event for Malaysians whenever there is a publication of world university rankings, for it is not to find out how well Malaysian universities compare with the best in the world but how badly Malaysian universities fared in international university comparisons and benchmarkings.

The release today of the 2014 Times Higher Education (THE) World Reputation Rankings for the Top 100 Universities is no different. In fact, it is worse.

For four consecutive years, Malaysia has been excluded from both the THE World Reputation Rankings and the THE World University Rankings for Top 400, with not a single Malaysian university able to make the grade in both rankings.

Singapore National University (SNU) achieved the best World Reputation Rankings in the four-year THE series, ranked No. 34 in 2011, 40 in 2012, 29 in 2013 and 21 in 2014. SNU is only behind two other Asian universities the 2014 World Reputation Rankings – University of Tokyo and Kyoto University in 11th and 19th ranking respectively.

Other Asian universities following closely behind SNU in the THE World Reputation Rankings 2014 are Seoul National University (No. 26), Tsinghua University (No. 36), Peking University (No. 41), University of Hong Kong (No. 43), Osaka University (No. 50), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), National Taiwan University and Tokyo Institute of Technology (No. 51-60), Tohoku University (No. 61-70), Chinese University of Hong Kong, Yonsei University (No.81-90) and Nanyang Technological University (No. 91-100).

What must be very mortifying to Malaysians who in the past had prided in having University of Malaya in the fifties and sixties as one of the world-ranking universities comparable in academic excellence with universities like the Universities of Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney now finding Malaysian universities not only trailing far behind their previous peers, including Universities of Singapore, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney, but being overtaken by universities which Malaysians had never heard before. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let us pay tribute to three unsung heroes who dare to stand up for inter-religious harmony, clean elections and a better education system – Azrul Mohd Khalib, Major Zaidi Ahmad and Mohd Nor Izzah

Let us pay tribute to ordinary Malaysians who are the country’s unsung heroes who dare to stand up for a better Malaysia whether in terms of a better education system, clean elections or inter-religious harmony, for they are the salt of the earth who will ensure that Malaysia will achieve her greatness instead of becoming a failed state.

Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari, the head of Suara Guru Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM), who is facing mean, petty and punitive persecution from the “Little Napoleons” in the Education Ministry with the Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin too “busy” to intervene, is one such unsung hero in Malaysia.

What is Nor Izzat’s crime? None, instead he had rendered great national service in spearheading the protest against the woes of the badly-planned and poorly-conceived student-based assessment (SBA) system. He should be rewarded for his positive contribution in forcing the Education Ministry to suspend the SBA instead of being subject to mean and petty punitive actions.

Another unsung Malaysian hero is Royal Malaysian Air Force pilot Major Zaidi Ahmad who should be rewarded instead of being penalised for speaking up about the indelible ink fiasco in the recent 13th General Elections and is now awaiting court-martial for his great service as a patriot to the country.

Nor Izzat wants to have a better education system for our teachers and children. Major Zaidi wants the country to have a clean election system which Malaysians can stand tall in the world.

A third unsung hero Malaysians should pay tribute to is social activist Azrul Mohd Khalib who led a Malaysians for Malaysia group to spearhead a “Walk for Peace” movement among ordinary Malaysians who care about the country to push for national healing in the face of the worst racial and religious polarization in the nation’s 56-year history. Read the rest of this entry »

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As Muhyiddin seems to be clueless about education in Malaysia, is he going to resign as Education Minister?

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said during his by-election campaign in Kajang today that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is unfit to be Selangor Mentri Besar as he seems to be “clueless” about Selangor’s water deal with Putrajaya despite being the state economic advisor.

Anwar is the best person to respond to Muhyiddin’s allegation that Anwar is “clueless” on the Selangor water issue, but the Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Education Minister raises the important question whether he himself should resign as Education Minister as it is clear that Muhyiddin is quite clueless about education in Malaysia.

That Muhyiddin is quite clueless about education issues which come under his direct Ministerial responsibility is presently in full display, when he pleaded on Monday that he knew nothing about the mean, petty and punitive transfer to a rural school of the head of Suara Guru Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM), Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari, who had spearheaded the protest against the weaknesses in the implementation of the student-based assessment (SBA) system and Muhyiddin has remained in this limbo of cluelessness for the past five days. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Muhyiddin has not countermanded the mean, petty and punitive directive to transfer Nor Izzat from Jerantut to a rural school for spearheading the protest against the SBA weaknesses

The Najib administration prides itself on its efficiency and “People First, Performance Now” slogan, but almost a week have passed and the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has yet to countermand the mean, petty and punitive directive to transfer Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari, head of Suara Guru Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM) from Jerantut to a rural school for spearheading the protest against the weaknesses in the implementation of the student-based assessment (SBA) system.

Instead of thanking Nor Izzat for his contribution in forcing the Education Ministry to face up to the crisis faced by teachers as a result of dismally-conceived implementation of the SBA, resulting finally in the SBA system being put on hold last week, Muhyiddin is allowing the “Little Napoleons” in the Education Department a free hand to penalise Nor Izzat and other teachers for their courage and conviction in speaking up about the SBA weaknesses.

When Nor Izzat’s punitive transfer to a rural school with only 24 hours’ notice became public, Muhyiddin disclaimed responsibility, denying that he was involved in Nor Izzat’s transfer.

But what has Muhyiddin done in the past week to countermand Nor Izzat’s punitive transfer. Read the rest of this entry »

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