Malaysia’s disastrous showing in TIMSS 2007 – time for Hishammuddin to break month-long silence

Some 60 countries, including Malaysia, participated in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) in 2007, the latest four-yearly international comparative assessment of the achievements and attitudes towards mathematics and science of Year 4 primary and Year 8 secondary students.

The findings of the TIMSS 2007 were internationally released on December 9, 2008, and in the past month, there had been intense debate involving the educational authorities, educational NGOs and concerned parents in all the participating countries on the results of TIMSS 2007 and their impact on their respective education policy and in particular how to improve the teaching and learning in mathematics and science for their pupils.

Except in one country – Malaysia, where there is total silence by the education authorities and even blackout of the TIMSS 2007 findings in the mass media despite the ongoing controversy as to whether the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English should continue or revert to Bahasa Malaysia/mother tongue.

It is most unbelievable that the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the Education Ministry could perpetrate a conspiracy of silence for one whole month on the TIMSS 2007 findings relating to the achievements of Malaysian students who took part in the Year 8 (Secondary Two) assessments for mathematics and science.

This is all the more irresponsible as he should be a role model for other Education Ministers as he is a member of UNESCO Board as well as President of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (Seameo).

It is time for Hishammuddin to break his month-long silence and explain his failure as Education Minister as reflected by Malaysia’s poor results in the TIMSS 2007 as compared to other countries in the 60-nation international assessment of the mathematics and science achievements of Year 8 students.

Like other participating countries, Hishammuddin and the Malaysian education authorities would have received copies of the TIMSS 2007 Report well in advance, to give them more than ample time to prepare and release their national reports on the TIMSS 2007 findings almost simultaneously as the international release of the TIMSS findings on Dec. 9 last year.

This was why Hong Kong and Singapore could come out with official statements on how their students fared in the TIMSS 2007 the very next day on December 10, and why other countries could even publish country reports giving their national perspectives of TIMSS 2007, like the United States, Australia, England, Scotland and even Dubai, which took part as a “benchmarking participant” for its own internal benchmarking purposes.

Hishammuddin had not been shy in immediately going public about the previous findings of TIMSS 2003, when it was internationally released on 14th December 2004.

Hishammuddin reported the TIMSS 2003 findings to the Cabinet and came out with a public announcement the very same day, which was reported by New Straits Times (Thursday, 16th December 2004) under the headline: “Our students hold their own in Maths, Science”, viz:

PUTRAJAYA, Wed. – Malaysian students more than held their own in Science and Mathematics in a study carried out among 50 countries.

They were placed 10th in Mathematics, scoring ahead of Australia, Britain, United States and New Zealand while in Science, Malaysian students placed 20th, ahead of countries like Norway and Italy.

Education Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein was pleased with this showing, noting that in 1999, Malaysia was placed 16th in Mathematics and 22nd in Science among 38 countries.

“I believe this success shows the ability of current educators in teaching these subjects,” he said.

He added that no one should question the ability of the education system to nurture students who excel in both subjects.

Earlier, he briefed the Cabinet on the study.

“The Cabinet was satisfied with the achievement in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) for last year because the performance was encouraging compared to previous years.”

A total of 5,314 Malaysians were selected for the study.

TIMSS 2003 is an international comparative study sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation Achievement.

Form Two or Grade Eight students were picked randomly from 50 countries to sit for an assessment test and answer a research questionnaire.

In fact, Hishammuddin could not hide his excitement and returned to the TIMSS 2003 findings a fortnight later as the highlight of his New Year Message for his Ministry at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre!

If Hishammuddin could go public within 24 hours of the international release of the TIMSS 2003 findings in December 2004, why is Hishammuddin maintaining an eerie silence after one whole month of the international release of the TIMSS 2007 findings?

The answer is very clear although this can be no excuse for Hishammuddin’s irresponsibility in trying to “black out” the TIMSS 2003 report with regard to the results pertaining to Malaysian students.

The TIMSS 2007 had been an unmitigated disaster in the three assessments which Malaysia had participated, i.e. TIMSS 1999, TIMSS 2003 and TIMSS 2007 and it was a direct reflection on the quality of his leadership as Education Minister.

The proud statement of Hishammuddin in December 2004 that Malaysia was placed 10th in Mathematics, scoring ahead of Australia, Britain, United States and New Zealand while in Science, Malaysian students were placed 20th, ahead of countries like Norway and Italy, had all turned to ashes.

TIMSS 2007 was a total reversal, with Malaysia losing out to Australia, England, Scotland and the United States in Mathematics (New Zealand not in the TIMSS 2007 list for Year 8 students) as well as being overtaken by Norway and Italy in science!

Malaysia plunged from No. 10 placing in mathematics in TIMSS 2003 to No. 20 placing in TIMSS 2007.

With the disastrous showing in mathematics at the eighth grade level, Malaysia not only lost to the five top Asian countries which took the first five places, namely Chinese Taipei (1), South Korea (2), Singapore (3), Hong Kong (4) and Japan (5) but also to Hungary (6), England (7), Russian Federation (8), United States (9), Lithuania (10), Czech Republic (11), Slovenia (12), Armenia (13), Australia (14), Sweden (15), Malta (16), Scotland (17), Serbia (18) and Italy (19).

In the three TIMSS 2007 for mathematics in eighth grade level, Malaysia dropped a hefty 45 score points from 519 points in 1999, 508 in 2003 to 474 in 2007 (500 is the TIMSS mathematics scale average). The Australian national report on TIMSS 2007 noted that Australia’s mathematics achievement score of 496 was “not significantly different to the TIMSS scale average” and “significantly higher than the remaining 31 countries, including Italy, Malaysia and Norway”.

For science, Malaysia also plunged below the TIMSS scale average of 500, falling to 471 points in 2007, a drop by 39 points as compared to 2003 (510). In 1999, Malaysia scored 492 points. Malaysia’s ranking in Year 8 science in TIMSS 2007 is No. 21, behind Sinagpore (1), Chinese Taipei (2), Japan (3). South Korea (4), England (5), Hungary (6), Czech Republic (7), Slovenia (8), Hong Kong (9), Russian Federation (10), United States (11), Lithuania (12), Australia (13), Sweden (14), Scotland (15), Italy (16), Armenia (17), Norway (18), Ukraine (19) and Jordan (20).

What should be quite startling about the science findings of TIMSS 2007 is not the Australian national report observation that Malaysia is one of the countries which “showed a “statistically significant decline” in score points, but the observation by the Dubai national report that Malaysia’s TIMSS 2007 science score of 471 is “significantly lower than Dubai”, which scored 489, as well as Thailand catching up with Malaysia in having a similar score of 471!

Had Hishammuddin ever submitted a report of Malaysia’s dismal showing in the TIMSS 2007 to the Cabinet and did the Cabinet give the Hishammuddin the “green-light” to bury the disastrous TIMSS findings from public knowledge?

It must be particularly galling to Hishammuddin that he cannot really claim credit for Malaysia’s good results in TIMSS 2003 (as the survey was conducted in 2003 when he had not been appointed Education Minister), but he has to bear full responsibility for the dismal results in TIMSS 2007 as he had already been Education Minister for three years when the survey was conducted in 2007.

If Hishammuddin had fully devoted himself to his duties and responsibilities as Education Minister, instead of devoting his energies politicising his position whether as Education Minister or UMNO Youth leader as in his many keris-wielding antics and most recently in trying to dragoon students for Umno Youth demonstrations, Malaysians would have today an education system held in high international regard for its quality, excellence and competitiveness capable of being a global educational hub to fully develop the human resource potential of Malaysians and the region.

When will Hishammuddin perform his first duty as Education Minister by making public a national report highlighting the main Malaysian results and findings, setting them in the international context as well as discussing Malaysia’s performance in maths and science since 1999?

After Malaysia’s participation in TIMSS 1999, I had called on the government to have a strategy to place Malaysia among the world’s top five or six nations in mathematics and science, as with five Asian countries as the top performers in mathematics and science in previous TIMSS surveys, there is no reason why Malaysia cannot join their ranks..

This dream has to be shelved however until Hishammuddin can come out with a a satisfactory explanation and solution for Malaysia’s dismal performances in both mathematics and science in TIMSS 2007.

  1. #1 by mendela on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 8:34 am

    If he has any confidence in the local education system, he would have placed his children into the local schools.

    BTW, what are the real reasons he is totally silence in the past many months? Family problem?

  2. #2 by Navinda on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 9:00 am

    It is not unusual for Malaysian Ministers to shout about small successes in such surveys. Just look that after the UPSR examination results were announced, this particular moron for a minister excitedly pointed out that there was some improvement in the teaching of Mathematics and Science. That there was no detailed analysis of the results did not matter. Dis we try to find out if the improvement was overall for all group of students? or was it that there were more passes this time? Was there marked improvement in the quality of the examination results, we will never know.

    All in all, the current minister has been the most inept of the lot. During his tenure, the government has spent billions in all kinds of supposedly improved facilities for schools; buildings, computers, free books etc. I strongly believe that most of the spending has been in haste and without thought given to the benefits and implementation.

    One point of contention is, was it necessary to provide free text books for all and sundry. I despair when I see parents driving Mercedes Benz and BMWs, living in million ringgit homes enjoying this facility which should have been strictly for the poor. Surely the rich can afford the hundred bucks. The money saved could have gone towards free transport or milk schemes for the poorer children.

    The disparity between schools in affluent areas and in the rural kampongs is all too glaring. While the rich PTA’s get additional funds from YB’s and Corporates, the rural schools are completely ignored. The parents of one particular school contribute RM50 towards their PTA. With about 2000 pupils, this work out to a hefty 100K. The parents of another school struggle to pay the RM10 requested. With an enrollment of barely 200 students, their collection amounts to about Rm2K. Notice the big gap just in the ability of the two schools to provide for the kids.

  3. #3 by drngsc on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 9:02 am

    Thanks for letting us know. Can the TIMSS 2007 results be made available to mass media, and also the other blog sites. Just say the results as it is. The gomen must be held accountable.

  4. #4 by The Enforcer on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 9:13 am

    That GOON was too busy practicing his keris technique for the whole month for the KT by-election. Ha ha ha.

  5. #5 by rossi on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 9:40 am

    Its absolutely ridiculous when in the 60’s-70’s we had invented the wheel and axle and were in par with developmental civilization . To suddenly feel lost and try reinventing it for the country by the Education Ministry like they lost it is the underlying conspiracy at the expense of the innocent young . All for the appeasement of the bigots and to keep their positions to rule . The Minister’s lies on his selective journey of the errors while the UPutras own kids study overseas and that they never stepped foot into the local schools ,what he should have been responsible about. He needs to be exposed of his bigotry outright
    This pretense by Hishamuddin needs to be dissected!

  6. #6 by Cinapek on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 10:06 am

    Kit, you commented:

    “…If Hishammuddin had fully devoted himself to his duties and responsibilities as Education Minister,….”

    He is not the only minister who has been derelict in his duties as a minister and instead spent too much time politicking. From the PM down to most of his HP6 Cabinet, they are all the same. Consider:

    1) The PM confessed during a recent interview that he could not push through the reforms he promised despite a 94% mandate from the people because despite all his politicking, he could not overcome the objections of his own UMNO members.

    2) Najib’s Defence Ministry weapons purchase is a major fiasco when they can place orders for RM1.6b helicopter purchase w/o test flights.

    3) The public transport system is a total mess because the succession of MCA ministers were too busy politicking amongst themselves or currying favour with their UMNO bosses.

    4) The release of the toll concession agreements confirmed the inept role of the Works Minister and the PM’s Dept at that time for allowing such lop sided terms in favour of the concessionaires to happen. These politicians were so busy politicking that they allowed all these rubbish to be approved.

    5) Our ambulance service is a sham and a disgrace because the suceesion of MCA health ministers were also so engrossed in their party politics that they left the running of these services to their civil servant subordinates.

    6) That we have rampant crime and a inept and corrupted police force is also due to the succession of Home Ministers more concerned with politics than with talking care of their ministry. Every time he is asked about some detention or arrest, our present Home Minister’s standard answer he is not aware as the police carried it out without informing him. Why? Because his party members in his own division is giving him problems.

    The list goes on. The various ministries are left to the Little Napoleons civil servants who just tell their political bosses what they want to hear and not what they should hear.

  7. #7 by taiking on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 10:17 am

    Dont push him too hard. He might just pull malaysia out of the programme altogether in which case no result would be good result to him and umnoputras.

    Poor result. Decline. Deterioration. Oh its all part and parcel of umno-style (-)meritocracy policy. As long as umnoputras’ interests are secured nationally, umno would not even raise half an eyebrow to the country’s standing globally. Jaguh kampung is all they strive for which they could well achieve through their unfairly gained political strength.

    I fear that if we do perform at all then it must because we still have some lingering bits of the system which was left behind by the brits. I dread to think of how our students would fare come the time when even these lingering bits too are destroyed by umno.

    Ah yes about the silence. Is he feeling ashame or is he plainly dumbfounded by the result? Actually neither. Its more like he is not bothered. Good result. Bad result. There is always a reason. And knowing the reason is a critical and necessary first step towards future improvement. He ought to publicise the result and explain the poor performance at the first available opportunity. No. He didnt. He simply could not care less.

    I wonder if this has anything to do with raising the keris too often. Perhaps when the crooked metal blade is trusted sky-wards, it has the mysterious effect of sapping the holder’s wisdom and intelligence. Yeah, that’s it. Poor performace is caused by the keris the keris raising technique – my hypothesis and observation.

  8. #8 by OrangRojak on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 10:42 am

    “Just say the results as it is. ”
    That’s what I was thinking! LKS must have had his Weetabix this morning – that was a long read.

    I see the BN education policy is quoted in the text:

    no one should question

    Is there any chance of amending the Constitution to make the utterance of that phrase by a politician a sacking offence?

    I look forward to seeing a government response.

  9. #9 by monsterball on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 11:07 am

    If one notices……nice guy Dollah have become a cunning guy who never keep his words …as “People’s PM”. He has totally forgotten his solemn pledge.
    Kris man blow alot of hot airs at home……..sound nice for Malaysians to hear on Education. But when chances for him to prove his words in the world stage….he is silent.
    Home Minister will keep defending brutalities by UMNO and police …with his usual low class reasons.
    Najib….simply born …talking nonsense…no leadership quality at all.
    Educations matters is most important to guide us to Vision 2020 or Space Age.
    But we know…UMNO is guiding us backwards and stay stagnant in education. Our world gradings sums up everything.
    I am just waiting for 13th election and vote them out…to stop all this charades and confusion.
    All ministers children are studying overseas …is clear proof…what sickening ..hypocrites they are.

  10. #10 by baoqingtian on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 11:16 am


  11. #11 by ch on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 11:44 am

    Dear All,

    It is just another case of highlighting something to the government which they have no interest to look into to improve the situation. The government has came up with policies that they felt appropriate and conducive under current operation circumstances and perhaps improvements will be put in place as and when required. Having said so, I noticed that the government is playing to the gallery and tryimg to satisfy certain groups, particularly the Malays. It is not that our ministers are so ignorant that they purposely allow the standard of English among Malaysians to slide but obligations and satisfying these groups were placed higher in exchange of political survival and to stem manipulations by opposition(s). The slide of standard in spoken and written English was glaring particularly during the late 70s till now. Fortunately there were quite a substantial number of non-Malays from the late 70s, 80s and early 90s generations who speak and write fairly good English but the reverse is true if one draw up the statistics from Chinese-speaking schools. Students from Chinese-speaking schools placed great importance on Mandarin language over the other languages. Similarly the Malays and Indians are giving extra importance to their respective mother tongue languages over English. The situation is further exacerbated when you have family, particularly the Malays, who harbour the notion of speaking English make one less Malay. Children from these families are being reminded time and again till the notion is carved into their sub-concious. I have personally met a few Malay families who think English is the language spoken by satan. How do you expect children from this type of family to progress well in English?

    A few friends of mine informed me that even our Education Minister sent two of his children to international school. What type of picture can you draw from this?

  12. #12 by ch on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 11:57 am

    Dear All,

    The simple rule of “cause and effect” is true all the time. Malaysian government has a string of smelly records of placing less capable individuals to helm corporations controlled by them. Several months ago, Malaysians were presented the case of regional bank acquisition by Maybank at prices much much higher than what the markets expect. As determined by the Malaysian government to have less capable team in compliance of NEP, we can only less than the best performance results. The challenge for them is that in trying to compete regionally, let alone globally, it is very very likely that they will come out with second best outcome. Similarly when the government reverted from the importance of teaching English to Bahasa Malaysia back in the 70s, the minister who decided then should have known the likely outcome of his action.

  13. #13 by OrangRojak on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 11:58 am

    English is the language spoken by satan
    Santa! Save us from poor readers…

  14. #14 by ktteokt on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 1:02 pm

    A minister of education who sends his children overseas to receive their education is simply not fit for the position and is cutting his own throat!

  15. #15 by computation on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 1:10 pm

    aiya we have such a stupid minister in charge of
    education what do you expect?
    malaysian education is going to the dogs.
    this stupid education minister probably must have
    done badly in school when he was a student lah.
    what stupid half past six degree does he have?
    must be a half baked degree lah.
    only good for provocative acts like waving his
    keris around.
    police still haven’t investigated him for potentially
    inciting racial hatred???
    typical lah!

  16. #16 by bentoh on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 1:25 pm

    Let the students get to choose the language they want to learn Sciences and maths in… PLEASE! At least in primary school year… to love the subjects, a children should be able to be confident and well-command the subjects… Forcing them to use a language that they are not comfortable with will just kill them off from even loving the subjects, especially during the primary school years, which is crucial for the children…

  17. #17 by fairplay500 on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 1:57 pm

    I am glad I left Malaysia. I feel sorry for Malaysia. The only thing that is good in Malaysia is food. I hope the government would not screw that too…

  18. #18 by fairplay500 on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 2:03 pm

    Here is the full result:

    read it and weep.

  19. #19 by shortie kiasu on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 5:37 pm

    Other than knowing how to kiss a Malay kriss in the UMNO Youth Assembly, he looks like he know next to nothing about education.

    When speaks, he looks like he wanted to cry for mother’s milk.

    This is the the kind of education minister and other minister here in this country.

  20. #20 by yhsiew on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 6:09 pm


    I suggest you raise the issue in parliament.

  21. #21 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 6:46 pm

    You do not have to be a mathematician to be successful in life. Go figure!

  22. #22 by Godfather on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 6:48 pm

    You people are simply not fair to Kerismuddin. If we are ranked 20th or 21st in a group of 50, then we are still in the top half. There are still 30 countries behind us, so what is the problem ?

    The study is also skewed because it contained mainly first world countries. If you enlarge to sample to include third world countries like Zimbabwe and Uganda, we would be ranked, maybe, 20th in an enlarged sample of 150 countries. See how statistics can be manipulated to suit everyone’s purpose ?

    Malaysia Boleh !

  23. #23 by Godfather on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 6:52 pm

    By the way, Kerismuddin sends his daughter to Alice Smith School.

    Ask the clown cintanegara, if he truly cinta negara, then show me an UMNO cabinet minister who sends his or her children to a public school.

  24. #24 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 7:01 pm

    They do. The better schools in the U.K. are the public schools. However, there’s nothing public about them. They are privately funded.

  25. #25 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 7:02 pm

    I’d agree if by ‘public’ you mean state schools.

  26. #26 by delon85 on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 8:26 pm

    undergrad2, I hope you’re kidding. The comments have been filled with satires and sarcasm lately that I can hardly differentiate genuine and sarcastic comments.

    Also, I’d agree on the “you don’t have to be a mathematician to be successful in life”. Just join umno, they do get paid for politicking and they don’t even have to do a proper job.

  27. #27 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 8:53 pm

    I’m glad you figured that one out.

  28. #28 by lbl on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 8:55 pm

    Hi YB, please bring this up in Parliament that we should not send the government scholars to study inWarden the US, UK and other Western countries that support the Jewish cause. We should instead send them to Middle Eastern countries like Syria,Egypt etc.
    Also during their vacation they can cross into Gaza to help out those injured by the Israeli bombings.
    What is the point of boycotting US products in Malaysia and English is Satan’s language, when the Government send their students to the US to study?

  29. #29 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 9:01 pm

    “Also during their vacation they can cross into Gaza to help out those injured by the Israeli bombings.”

    And make sure the bombs they strap to their bodies are not Made in USA.

  30. #30 by LBJ on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 9:01 pm

    Hey. It is not bad. Malaysia is in the top one third. Better than Indonesia. We dont need so many smart people. Difficult to win election with too many smart people around.

  31. #31 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 9:03 pm

    “English is Satan’s language, when the Government send their students to the US to study?”

    So they can bring back Satanic culture, and make little Satans??

  32. #32 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 9:50 pm

    Mathematics: Chinese Taipei (1), South Korea (2), Singapore (3), Hong Kong (4) and Japan (5)

    Science: Singapore (1), Chinese Taipei (2), Japan (3). South Korea (4), England (5)

    Very interesting results. The top 5 countries in Mathematics are all chop-stick wielding countries and whose languages are pictorial rather than alphabetical. Does the fact that thee Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages are all pictorial based help in spatial reasoning and memory?

    Like wise the top 4 countries are also chopstick wielding countries with hieroglyphic languages.

  33. #33 by Godfather on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 11:05 pm

    In Bolehland, public schools are state run and state funded. How long have you been away ?

  34. #34 by chengho on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 11:45 pm

    The problem is not the teaching of mathematic and science in english but what Hisham should do is to convert the national school to english medium and to make bahasa Malaysia subject as compulsory.

  35. #35 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 10 January 2009 - 11:58 pm

    Godfather Says:

    Today at 18: 52.08 (4 hours ago)
    By the way, Kerismuddin sends his daughter to Alice Smith School.”

    The last time I was in Malaysia, Alice Smith and Garden School were only opened to children of expatriates – and children of Malaysian parents about to go abroad or have lived abroad and will be going abroad again or one of the parents is a foreigner and holds a foreign passport. The last two categories require prior permission from the Minister of Education.

    What changed??

  36. #36 by pulau_sibu on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 12:17 am

    6 months can make you an expert in english. Really memang boleh.
    they should have a good command of english before going to the universities. so reject those useless unqualified students in the first place. you don’t work for mcdonald and starbucks, so forget about english. work for places where english is not needed, like mahathir’s bakery, please!

    KUALA LUMPUR: The higher education ministry has proposed that local universities provide a special English programme for students before graduation.

    Deputy minister Datuk Idris Haron said reports received by the ministry showed that most local graduates were unemployed because of poor proficiency in the language.

    He said the student affairs and academic division at universities should provide a special English programme for their students, at least six months before their graduation.

    This would ensure they were competent in English, he added.

  37. #37 by One4All4One on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 12:21 am

    When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn…?


  38. #38 by One4All4One on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 12:57 am

    To be TRULY COMPETENT in English, or any other languages for that matter, just six months is definitely NOT ENOUGH. It may take YEARS of continuous and consistent learning and practice and a big dose of determination. It is not just any game which you could learn by playing with your little brothers or sisters.

    The education ministry’s officers and officials better be warned and wake up!

    Language is a habit, and a HARD one indeed, unlike other bad habits, which could be picked up even in minutes!

    If they do recognize the importance of the language ( English, i.e.), why the brouhaha over the teaching of science and mathematics in English which not only would improve the command in the language, but which would also definitely improve Malaysia’s standing in TIMSS, if that matters at all.

    Come on guys ( those in the ministry and the government and those who oppose the teaching of Sc. and Maths in English), what do you actually want? Don’t send your children overseas for their education. Don’t even think about it.

    It makes my stomach squirm whenever I read in the papers or hear through the grapevine that so-and-so are so proud that his/her child managed to secure a scholarship or that they could afford to send their children to study in such and such a university overseas when they had time and again opposed to the teaching of Sc and Maths in English. What hypocrites! They should be true to themselves and stayed local or opt for India ( to study in Tamil ), or China ( in Chinese ). Racial positioning and posturing is so out of date, while selfish interest and other hidden agendas are their main motives.

  39. #39 by delon85 on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 1:44 am

    I’m wondering if the Korean and Japanese teach Science and Mathematics in English. Of course, I would agree with teaching concepts in English because it is obviously easier to absorb more advance knowledge since most of the research text are written in English. English is no longer a Western language, but an international one. I wonder how long will it take for those goons who makes noise about teaching medium in school to understand that. They do not think about the future, but only the present.

  40. #40 by Concerned Citizen on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 9:44 am

    If we are to look at the score for the International Mathematical Olympiad for year 2007, url @

    Of the 93 countries participated, Malaysia achieved the glory of #74.

  41. #41 by Gomen on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 11:07 am

    @TheWrathOfGrapes and delon85

    Let us not miss the wood for the trees, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans are hardworking people, unlike the white people which are much more creative. Take a look at the noble prize winner and all the newly discovered formulas and scientific breakthroughs. Who are they? Having a good memory and able to solve a math problem quickly does not means it is good, we need to teach our kids to think out of the box… like the white man, they emphasize creativity, not memorizing!

  42. #42 by vsp on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 12:05 pm

    Yes, you can learn Science and Mathematics in other languages apart from English.

    You only memorise facts and formulae but not doing the thinking part.

  43. #43 by vsp on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 12:18 pm

    When the examination format was changed from subjective to objective, our education produced students who are only good at regurgitating facts and figures and not on testing of their creative talents.

    So you see most of our students are only robots and not thinking individuals.

  44. #44 by vsp on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 12:42 pm

    With the objective format, all the answers are given and you only have to choose the right one. Sometimes, you can hit the jackpot by blindly marking the right answer.

    But with the subjective format, not only must you have to think but to also be able to use the language to express yourself clearly.

    The present system takes the thinking and expressive part out of education. That’s the sad fact and the education system is only producing study robots.

  45. #45 by vsp on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 1:44 pm

    \Education Minister wants to use our children for War Protest\ – nstonline


    First he adopted the Mat Rempit to be idolized and emulated.

    Now he is going to turn all school children into potential future Hamas suicide bombers.

    This is Bolehland’s coming education.

  46. #46 by vsp on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 2:06 pm

    Asked on the danger of exposing children to such atrocities, the minister said: “When they grow up, they will have to face global issue like peace, environment and the economic crisis.” – hishamuddin
    How about university students? They were prohibited from taking part in political discourses and the draconian University Act makes sure that they could not. These students are on the cusp of adulthood and they will be upcoming community participants.

    If they are being prevented from assuming their proper role, why is this idiot of an education minister trying to turn our school children into potential future Hamas suicide bombers?

  47. #47 by Godfather on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 4:17 pm


    Yes, the policy for admission to international schools hasn’t changed – they are meant for expats working here, or for those returning Malaysians whose children had studied in foreign schools or those Malaysians who have a high probability of being transferred overseas.

    Kerismuddin qualified under the last category. He wrote an affidavit stating that most UMNOputras and their families may have to seek asylum overseas if PR came to power.

    Kerismuddin is also the Education Minister. In Bolehland, pulling the right strings will get you a place in an international school.

  48. #48 by OrangRojak on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 5:31 pm

    He wrote an affidavit stating that most UMNOputras and their families may have to seek asylum overseas if PR came to power
    I can’t tell whether you’re joking or not.

  49. #49 by Godfather on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 7:48 pm

    There are only 3 qualifying criteria for entry into international schools in Bolehland. You have to be either a foreigner, or a local who has just been transferred back home, or a local who is likely to be transferred overseas at any time.

    Which one of these 3 criteria would qualify Kerismuddin’s daughter for entry into Alice Smith ?

  50. #50 by delon85 on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 8:12 pm


    Yes, I’m pro-English when it comes to using it as a teaching medium. However, the kids better be able to grasp the concept rather than memorizing it.

    On the contrary, I don’t mind these mathematical robots either. This country need competent hardworking problem-solvers too. Of course it would be better if they have an ounce of creativity. Just leave the research and breakthroughs to a handful of hardworking geniuses.

  51. #51 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 10:21 pm

    “limkamput Says:
    Today at 14: 06.27 (8 hours ago)
    “Does PR have principle? If it has, may I know what is it?”

    And that principle is to carry looting in a more systematic and less wasteful ways, a fairer distribution of the wealth….??

  52. #52 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 10:39 pm

    1. Godfather Says:
    Today at 16: 17.13 (6 hours ago)
    “He wrote an affidavit stating that most UMNOputras and their families may have to seek asylum overseas if PR came to power.”

    There are only five statutory grounds for asylum.

    Also torturing fellow citizens with his boring and self-serving statements, and showing off his old, bent, crooked and rusty knife would have excluded him from the list of qualified refugees.

  53. #53 by Onlooker Politics on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 10:54 pm

    Uncle Kit,

    I think you are getting a bit too hard on Dato Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein on the TIMSS matter. Don’t you know that Dato Seri Hishammuddin has always been busy with juggling with his crony contractors on the mathematics of the profit-sharing computation involving school construction projects all along these years?

    Besides, he sometimes had gotten some perspiring and sweat-spilling night jobs to do in Government Lodging House located at Jalan Lambak Army Camp at Kluang. Don’t you find that he is definitely much smarter than Dr. Chua who mistakenly booked the same room on a regular basis from Hotel Katerina, Batu Pahat when having a date with girl friend?

    Sometimes I just find that Dato Seri’s wife is really pitiful because Datin is so pretty and yet Dato Seri still likes to patronize p…

  54. #54 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 11:27 pm

    OrangRojak Says:

    Today at 17: 31.16 (5 hours ago)
    Godfather says, “He (Kerismuddin) wrote an affidavit stating that most UMNOputras and their families may have to seek asylum overseas if PR came to power.”

    “I can’t tell whether you’re joking or not.” OrangRojak

    Are you kiddin’??

    Of course Godfather is joking!! No country accepts refugees with a criminal past even though they may be eligible to seek asylum – and in this case they are not. Corrupt BN gooks and goons, even if they are not running from the law but from their own shadows, do not qualify as refugees under any of the five statutory grounds made mandatory by the U.N. Convention Relating to Refugees 1954 and expanded by the U.N. 1967 Protocol. Since they are not refugees to begin with, how could they then take advantage of the United Nations asylum laws?

    The best they could do is to employ the best plastic surgeons the world has to offer, give themselves and their family members new names and using fake passports make deals with customs and immigration of other equally corrupt third world countries so they could remain in those countries. Good luck to them!

    But on a more serious note, it is important that these BN criminals and fugitives from justice be tried in absentia and heavy prison sentences handed down. Sign as many extradition treaties as possible with as many countries as possible, and then let Interpol do their job they are paid to do.

    Mahathir may disguise himself as a goat herder in the mountains of Argentina, but we all know that his fondness for horse riding (a hobby of the rich and famous, and the rich and not-so-famous in Malaysia) will sooner or later break his cover.

  55. #55 by Onlooker Politics on Sunday, 11 January 2009 - 11:41 pm

    “Since they are not refugees to begin with, how could they then take advantage of the United Nations asylum laws?” (undergrad2)


    You tend to forget that the Chief Commissioner of MACC can now issue a second IC with different name to a person qualified under Witness Protection Programme. Who knows perhaps Kerismuddin has already obtained a new IC for his wife using the name “Aung San Suu Kyi”?

  56. #56 by OrangRojak on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 11:08 am

    Are you kiddin’??
    Uh, no. I am still struggling to come to terms with the depth of meaning in ‘Malaysia boleh!’. Godfather’s suggestion strikes me as locally plausible.

    I’m glad you cleared it up for me, and anybody else who might have taken it at face value.

  57. #57 by ktteokt on Thursday, 15 January 2009 - 7:35 pm

    OrangRojak, it would be impossible for you to decipher the meaning of “Malaysia Boleh!” because this is an incomplete sentence. When they formulated these words, they left out the third and final word in the slogan, the word “MATI”!

  58. #58 by de_Enigma on Friday, 16 January 2009 - 5:47 pm

    Following is quite a joke to me:
    KUALA LUMPUR: The higher education ministry has proposed that local universities provide a special English programme for students before graduation.

    Deputy minister Datuk Idris Haron said reports received by the ministry showed that most local graduates were unemployed because of poor proficiency in the language.

    He said the student affairs and academic division at universities should provide a special English programme for their students, at least six months before their graduation.

    This would ensure they were competent in English, he added.

    University as a place to learn language?
    Our public universities should be reserved for people who are ready to learn about courses enrolled.
    Languages are supposed to be taken care of at SPM level.

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