Archive for category Education

Why there is no academic freedom in Malaysia

– Murray Hunter
The Malaysian Insider
5 October 2015

The Malaysian government is trying to develop the country into an education hub.

Most universities seek awards of excellence and to get their institutions into the rankings.

However, even with these aspirations, Malaysia’s overall rankings have been slipping over the last decade, while many other universities within the region have been rising dramatically. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sack both Tajuddin and Chong as message is long overdue that Malaysians deserve Ministers and Deputy Ministers of some standard and quality and not every Tom, Dick and Harry

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, should sack both Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman and Chong Sin Woon as deputy ministers as the message is long overdue that Malaysians deserve Ministers and Deputy Ministers of some standard and quality and not every Tom, Dick and Harry should be elevated to such positions.

For some time, the caliber of Ministers and Deputy Ministers has been on a relentless downward decline like our football world ranking, which plunged to the worst-ever 171st placing in the Fifa rankings in October 2015 when we were still ranked No. 154 at the beginning of the year in January 2015.

Malaysia was positioned in the Fifa rankings at No. 79 in 1993, 96 in 1996, 107 in 2,000, 123 in 2005, 154 in January 2015 and 171 in October 2015 – embarrassing chart of a nation’s trajectory of relentless decline, also reflected in other sectors of our national endeavor.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had dismissed Cabinets formed after he retired in 2003 as Prime Minister for 22 years as “half-past six” while former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin had shown utter contempt of what he described as “deadwood” Ministers.

Early this year, I had written an Open Letter to all Ministers asking them not to be “half-past six” or “deadwood” Ministers, and for heaven’s sake, “don’t be moral pygmies and political dwarfs” but to take a stand on critical issues of the nation on behalf of present and future, particularly on the great questions of right and wrong in Malaysia.

But my Open Letter elicited no response or change, and Najib post-13GE Cabinet was a great failure and disappointment. Read the rest of this entry »

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Some answers on my RM50m donation for hostels

Koon Yew Yin
Malaysiakini
2 Oct 2015

COMMENT After the publication of my RM50 million donation to the Penang state government for building student hostels, many people, including media journalists and BFM Radio, have asked me a lot of questions. They are curious because they have not come across something like this before.

Here are my answers:

I was born on Jan 6, 1933. My father started a coffin shop at No 8 Jalan Ipoh, KL about 100 years ago. When father retired about 30 years ago, my eldest brother inherited the coffin shop. As he got older, he found difficulty to compete with the modern undertakers and was forced to close the old shop about two years ago, and my younger brother continued the coffin business with a smaller shop in Kepong, KL.

As I have 11 siblings, I always needed some things since I was a boy. I remember always feeling hungry when I was young. One can imagine how 12 children rushed for food during meal time.

This is why I want to help the poor. Besides my RM50 million donation to the Penang government to build student hostels, I have to date, given about 300 scholarships to help students from poorer backgrounds to complete their tertiary education. Read the rest of this entry »

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Soft spot for the British

– M. Bakri Musa
The Malaysian Insider
30 September 2015

The British replaced the Iberians and Dutch in Malaysia. Those colonialists carved up the Malay world among themselves, with Malaysia fortunately falling under the British while the larger archipelago going to the Dutch and the Philippines to the Spaniards.

I say “fortunately”, considering the fate of the Indonesians and Filipinos. For whatever reason the British were much more benign, or less malevolent.

Among the consequential differences, while our Indonesian brethren had to fight for their independence, Malaysians opted for the more civilised and considerably less traumatic route of negotiations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Proposed RM 50 million donation to Penang State Government for building student hostels

Koon Yew Yin

On 15th Sept 2015, I met the Penang State EXCO which has accepted my RM 50 million donation under the following terms and conditions:

I wish to donate RM 50 million for building student hostels to help students studying in Penang, especially students from poor families, in their access to tertiary education.

1. All the RM50 million and the subsequent profit from the rental and other income must be used for building hostels and other associated buildings for the use of students studying in Penang. These students can come from Penang and other states in the country or even be foreign students in keeping with Penang’s need to draw on the best talent from a globalized world.

2. All construction contracts exceeding RM10,000 must be open to competitive tenders. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sabah State Government should offer RM1 million for the best History of Sabah to be written by a Sabahan which should be one of the history books for Sabah students when there is Sabah autonomy for education

Earlier today, I had suggested that Sabah and Sarawak should appoint State Ministers of Education not only in anticipation of grant of education autonomy to the states by Putrajaya, but to discuss with Federal Government and the state stakeholders on the definition and scope of state autonomy on education.

I disagreed with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak that state autonomy on education for Sabah and Sarawak should be confined to administrative matters, like his announcement on Malaysia Day that 90% of teaching posts in both states will be filled by Sabahans and Sarawakians within three years, which means the increase of the number of Sarawakian teachers from 32,168 now to 38,082 in the state, with a similar increase in Sabah.

The grant of autonomy in education from Putrajaya to Sabah and Sarawak cannot solely be in terms of increasing the number of teaching posts in the two states to be filled by Sabahans and Sarawakians respectively, but must also involve devolution in the functions, powers and the jurisdiction to the two states in the area of education. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sabah and Sarawak should appoint State Ministers of Education not only in anticipation of grant of education autonomy to the states by Putrajaya, but to discuss with Federal Government and stakeholders on the definition and scope of state autonomy on education

In keeping with his promise to empower both Sabah and Sarawak, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday unveiled a slew of measures to benefit both states.

He said 90% of teaching posts in both states will be filled by Sabahans and Sarawakians within three years.

With this, the number of Sarawakian teachers will be increased from 32,168 now to 38,082 in the state, with a similar increase in Sabah.

Najib said approval for tenders involving federal projects would be done at the state level by a committee comprising the state secretary and other civil servants.

A joint committee of federal and Sabah/Sarawak officers will be set up to evaluate the administrative aspects of the empowerment exercise so that it would be carried out in an orderly manner.

It is however totally unsatisfactory in the decentralisation of powers and functions from Putrajaya to Sabah and Sarawak is solely in the administrative and not in ay substantive sense. Read the rest of this entry »

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Gravely concerned about whereabout of DPP Kevin Morais who is well-known as a principled, righteous and God-fearing man who brooks no nonsense for any hanky-panky and discharges his duties without fear or favour

Recently, many strange things are happening in our country which are not amenable to simple explanations.

The most recent strange happening in the country is the disappearance of prominent deputy public prosecutor Kevin Morais since Friday.

Kevin, who was previously seconded to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) until more than a year ago, was last seen leaving for work from his apartment at Menara Duta, Kuala Lumpur, Friday morning.

I am gravely concerned about the whereabout of DPP Kevin Morais who is well-known as a principled, righteous and God-fearing man who brooks no nonsense for any hanky-panky and discharges his duties without fear or favour.

The discovery of a burnt car in Kampung Sungai Samak, Hilir Perak has cast a pall over Kevin’s case.

I am concerned as among other things, Kevin was my constituent when I was Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor before I contested in Gelang Patah in the last general election. Read the rest of this entry »

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The problem with vernacular schools

Zairil Khir Johari
The Malaysian Insider
4 September 2015

A question that is often thrown at me, usually with the intention to provoke, is whether I support the abolishment of vernacular education, and correspondingly whether I believe that the answer to our national unity woes lies in having single-stream education.

My answer each time I am asked this is no, and not because I am rehearsing a political line. I say no because I am a firm believer in choice and competition in education, as well as the fact that neither language of instruction nor ethnic make-up of schools cause disunity or a predilection for racism.

To be sure, it is an easy premise to believe – if children go to schools that are made up of only one race and speak only one language, they would find it difficult as adults to mix with those who look and speak differently. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on newly-appointed Minister for Higher Education Idris Jusoh to advise university administrators to respect the intellectual freedom of students and stop treating them as children as Malaysia aspires to university academic excellence

I call on the newly-appointed Minister for Higher Education, Datuk Idris Jusoh to advise university administrators in the country to respect the intellectual freedom of students and to stop treating them as children if Malaysia truly aspires to achieve university academic excellence in the world.

Idris should advise Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) to withdraw the suspension of two students, Hanif Mahpa and Afiqah Zulkifli for organising a forum on the goods and services tax (GST) and inviting a Member of Parliament and PKR vice president Rafizi Ramli to the forum last May. Read the rest of this entry »

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I am Muslim, I don’t have a ticket to heaven

Fa Abdul | August 13, 2015
Free Malaysia Today

How can we eradicate racism when we have half brained teachers who teach absolute nonsense to our children?

COMMENT

Nine year old Alicia who goes to Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Hartamas came home from school last week and asked her mom if she will end up in hell when she dies.
“Mommy, Lina said her teacher told the Agama class that when we die, the Malays will go to heaven and non-Malays will go to hell. Is it true?”

Eleven year old Yasmin who goes to Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Desa was confused over who her friends should be and decided to seek her mom’s advice.

“Ummi, my Ustaz says it is haram to be friends with Olivia and Annie. He said it is because they are not Muslim. But I like Olivia and Annie, they are my best friends. Will God be angry with me if I talk to them?”

Both incidents you just read about aren’t made up. The names have been changed to protect the identities of the children but the stories are very much real. Read the rest of this entry »

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Academic freedom, critical thinking tools to fighting extremism, forum told

by Jennifer Gomez
The Malaysian Insider
17 June 2015

Universities have a role to play in preventing fanaticism and extremism from festering in society, academic Professor Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid said, warning that Malaysia was at a turning point.

Ibrahim, the deputy vice-chancellor of INTI-Laureate International University said extremism was taking hold and urged intellectuals to reclaim their fundamental rights.

He also said the Malays were “cultural prisoners” in Malaysia and that in many ways, the non-Malays were freer than the Malays in this country.

“When university people surrender and are not courageous and allow lesser thinkers take over because of their articulation and their loudness and their mechanism of power, they can actually oppress the masses.

“It is tragic when they oppress the intellectuals and the intellectuals accept the oppression,” he said.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Fivefold increase in GDP if every Malaysian teen educated, study claims

The Malay Mail Online
Thursday May 14, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 ― A new study claims that Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could multiply by as much as 500 per cent if the country is able to ensure that every single 15-year-old achieves a basic level of education.

The study on global school rankings by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates Malaysia’s growth potential at 505 per cent of its current GDP, indicating a direct correlation between education and economic growth.

The report, jointly written by Stanford University’s Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessman of Munich University, said that a country’s standard of education is a “powerful predictor of the wealth that countries will produce in the long run”.

It also warned that countries that maintain poor education policies and practices will remain in a “permanent state of economic recession”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t rely on our university rankings alone, QS tells Putrajaya

by Anisah Shukry
The Malaysian Insider
2 May 2015

Despite Malaysian universities’ continued strong showing in QS Quacquarelli Symonds’s world rankings, the London-based firm has cautioned Malaysia not to solely rely on its results to gauge the performance of the nation’s varsities.

While Putrajaya often cites QS’s rankings as proof Malaysian universities are world class, QS head of research Ben Sowter agreed with Times Higher Education (THE) that Malaysia must refer to multiple sources to get an accurate picture of how local varsities fare compared with the rest of the world.

“Ours is only one of range of publicly available measures. Universities and policy-makers should combine data from multiple sources to form an accurate diagnosis of their strengths and weaknesses,” Rowter told The Malaysian Insider in an email interview.

“We strongly discourage anyone from making important choices on the basis of only one input.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Disaster in our educational system

By Koon Yew Yin
Malaysiakini
Apr 24, 2015

COMMENT Recently, I received an urgent note from a student who is doing matriculation in a government school in Kedah where tuition and accommodation costs are covered by the state. I

have been helping her with financial assistance for food and miscellaneous expenses since her father is unemployed and she is a deserving student from the poorer class.

Her letter reads as follows:

“Hi sir it’s me …. sorry for disturbing sir. Sir I want to ask sir something. Sir I really need sir’s help. Sir if can sir can bank in some of the money before I further my studies in matriculation.

“Sir I need to buy something as preparation to further my studies in matriculation sir. so please help me sir. I really don’t know who to ask help. That why I am asking sir’s help. please sir. I hope sir can help me because I don’t know who to ask. sir I hope sir can understand me and give me some support. Thank you sir. I hope sir will reply my letter as soon as possible. Thank you a lot sir.”

I have shared this letter with friends not simply to provide an example of the extent of financial desperation and need that hundreds of thousands of poor students in our country face everyday in their lives.

I am also sharing it to show my concern with the standard of English proficiency of our younger generation who are going to colleges and universities. This is not an isolated example. I am sad to say that the overwhelming majority of the students that I am presently supporting have equally low standards of the English language.

These students represent the better ones among their classmates in school. I shudder to think of the standard of English proficiency of the average students in our secondary schools. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dad pens anguish over ‘burn, rape’ daughter calls

by Prof Dr Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
Malaysiakini
Mar 20, 2015

The latest incident about a BFM newsreader being threatened with death, rape and being burnt alive by those whom I assume to be Malay-Muslim netizens brings forth serious questions for this country. Is this country safe for our children to live in?

If a simple point of view is raised against such issue as hudud or even such issue as democracy and clean elections can produce outbursts of murder, rape and burning people alive, what does it say about our country, its citizens and our leadership? Where did this culture come from?

I have noticed that the ones making threats of this nature come from mostly Malays who I assume are Muslim. Where did we, as a nation go wrong in educating these Malays? What are we teaching in our secondary schools? More importantly are our public universities producing people of such culture?

I sincerely hope that those who made the threats have never stepped foot in our public universities because if not I would like to ask these vice chancellors, what kind of Malay Malaysians are you producing? Read the rest of this entry »

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IGP’s English standard incomparably low

Thirdly, On Monday, DAP MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua, tweeted in anger when he heard that Nurul Izzah was arrested under the Sedition Act in relation to her speech in Parliament last week when she went to the Dang Wangi Police Station to keep an appointment with the police for her statement to be taken over the #KitaLawan rally in Kuala Lumpur on March 7.

This attracted a tweet directive from the IGP, namely: “@PDRMsia akan panggil YB ini menjelaskan apa maksud beliau dgn ‘Royal my foot’. Adakah ditujukan kepada Raja2 Melayu?” (@PDRMsia will call this YB and ask him to explain what he means by ‘Royal my foot’. Is this aimed at the Malay Rulers?)

Khalid was referring to Pua’s tweet “Bastards. Real bastards. Royal my foot”.

I agree that Pua’s tweet was in bad taste. But it was not a crime. Was Pua’s tweet aimed at the Malay Rulers?

Not to mention the police officers, I believe the overwhelming majority of school children with decent command of English language will give the IGP a strong unambiguous answer – No, it is not aimed at the Malay Rulers but the Royal Malaysian Police. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia needs not only a new Finance Minister, but also new world-class Education Minister

Calls on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to stand down as Finance Minister led by DAP MP for Kluang and DAP National Political Education Director, Liew Chin Tong have reached a new crescendo with last Friday’s statement by the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin withdrawing blind and total support to Najib’s handling of the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, with the triple position:

1. That the Auditor-General should audit freely and independently, and tracing back to the accounts in 2009 when 1MDB first started, not just the accounts of 2013, as well as a forensic audit to ensure “there is no corruption in 1MDB transactions.

2. That the Public Accounts Committee begin investigating 1MDB without having to wait for the outcome of the Auditor-General’s findings.

3. No bail-out of 1MDB whether in the proposed disposals of lands in Tun Razak Exchange and Bandar Malaysia which were “obtained from the government on the cheap”.

However, the nation needs not only a new Finance Minister, but also a new Education, a need driven home after Muhyiddin’s speech today admitting his shock with the poor performance of Malaysian students in international assessments, despite the millions of ringgit being spent to improve the education system.

What is most shocking about Muhyiddin’s “shock” is that it has to take him 15 months for the Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Education Minister to be shocked by the dismal performance of Malaysia’s 15-year-olds in the three subjects of mathematics, science and reading in the 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), when the results were released 15 months ago in early December 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

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Idris Jusoh’s statement: refreshing and disappointing

— Lee Hwok Aun
The Malay Mail Online
FEBRUARY 28, 2015

FEBRUARY 28 — Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh’s opinion piece, defending his description of Malaysian universities as world class, is refreshing – and disappointing. Kudos to him for responding to criticisms in this manner, instead of deriding detractors or going into “I was misquoted” hiding.

However, his article merely inflates his original contentious remarks: Malaysian universities are world class because they are a popular destination for international students and Universiti Malaya has a decent spot on the QS university rankings. He hardly brings anything new to the public arena. In fact, some of the evidence he presents refutes his own position. He also tries to portray critics as having their hearts in the wrong place, instead of fixing his head on confronting their arguments directly.

Idris draws on a UNESCO report which appraised Malaysia’s relative popularity as a tertiary education destination. Unsurprisingly, cultural compatibility, low cost and good value feature prominently. Malaysia is considered good for the price, and the price is relatively cheap. This is not indicating that our tertiary education is bad, but it is far from a vindication of high quality and world class.

Idris adopts a simple definition of world class: among the best in the world. It must be noted that we are speaking of universities and education systems, not individuals. This is an important distinction, because Idris lists out a number of personal academic achievements – award winning professors, inventors, and student debaters – as evidence of our institutions’ world class status. I am not devaluing these achievements, but pointing out an inconsistency in his argument. Read the rest of this entry »

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Which Minister is prepared to bell the cat and move a motion in Cabinet on Wednesday to demand that Ismail Sabri should apologise for his racist call on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese business or be sacked from the Cabinet

The Cabinet is meeting on February 11, its sixth meeting in the new year of 2015, after playing truant for three weeks from Dec. 18, 2014 to 6th January 2015 with Ministers going all over the world on holidays in the midst of the worst floods catastrophe in living memory in Malaysia – and even the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who had to cut short his golf holidays in Hawaii, could not recall all his Ministers to return home which was why the Cabinet could not meet on Dec. 31, after missing an earlier Wednesday Cabinet meeting of Dec. 24, 2014.

The February 11 meeting in two days’ time is shaping up to be a very important Cabinet meeting – the last opportunity for the 35-Minister Cabinet to redeem itself and salvage whatever is left of its credibility by righting a terrible wrong it committed at its last Cabinet meeting in sanctioning, condoning and defending the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri’s racist call to Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses.

What is deplorable and unforgivable is for the 35-Minister Cabinet to do something which all religions and all sound education systems in the world would deplore – to claim and demand that a rabid racist call on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses which is clearly wrong and threatening the very fabric of Malaysia’s plural society is not only right, but must be accepted as right by all Malaysians.

It is a stand that no religion or education system can accept. Read the rest of this entry »

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