Archive for December 8th, 2008

Ministerial reaction to Bukit Antarabangsa disaster – too much resignation, too little outrage

Starting with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, there is too much resignation and too little outrage in the government reaction to the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide disaster and criminal negligence in failing to learn the lessons of the Highland Towers Collapse tragedy which had claimed 48 lives 15 years ago, resulting in the loss of another four lives on Saturday.

Apart from wringing their hands in despair and spouting the usual platitudes about a halt on hillslope development which no one believes in, there is even no political will to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry not only into the latest landslide disaster which killed four persons, injured 14, buried 14 bungalows and stranded 5,000 people, but also into the criminal negligence of the various parties involved – particular the federal, state and local government agencies – in failing to learn the lessons of the Highland Towers tragedy 15 years ago.

No wonder, Dr. Benjamin George, who survived the Highlands Tower disaster, was not convinced that things would get better when he said: “In three months, the tractors will start work again. I have survived long enough to see all this nonsense repeated.” Read the rest of this entry »


English-Medium Islamic Schools

by M. Bakri Musa

The Minister of Education will soon decide whether to continue the teaching of science and mathematics in English in our schools. That decision will not materially change the continuing decline in educational achievements of Malays.

This harsh reality is the consequence of our national schools – the default choice for most Malays – being abysmal failures. Most non-Malays as well as affluent Malays are fully aware of this and thus have long ago abandoned the system. Observe the steady stream of school buses and private cars full of young non-Malays heading south on the causeway every school-day morning. As for affluent Malays, ask where Najib Razak and Hishammuddin Hussein send their children for their education!

In today’s economy, the most advantaged are those with high science literacy and mathematical skills, as well as being fluent in more than one language, with one of those languages being English, the language of commerce and science. Fluency in English is no panacea of course; a visit to India and the Philippines will quickly disabuse us of that assumption.

The next most advantaged will be those fluent only in English. The least advantaged would be those literate in only one language, and that language is other than English. This unfortunately is the fate of Malays today. Read the rest of this entry »