Archive for January 12th, 2009

Disastrous TIMSS 2007 results – Hishammuddin’s flippant and irresponsible response

I am not the only one to be astounded by the flippant and irresponsible response of the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to my statement asking him to break his month-long silence and explain Malaysia’s disastrous showing in the 60-nation Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 for Year-8 secondary students.

Malaysia’s TIMSS 2007 performance was most dismal in the three four-yearly TIMSS participated by our students since 1999, with the lowest score for both mathematics and science, with 474 points for mathematics and 471 for science (500 is the TIMSS scale average), when Malaysia scored mostly above average in the previous TIMSS.

Malaysia’s comparative performance in the 1999, 2003 and 2007 TIMSS are: Read the rest of this entry »


Exposing Our Leaders to Competition

by M. Bakri Musa

The recent installation of Tunku Muhriz as the 11th Yang Di Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan (the equivalent of a sultan in the other states) illustrates one important point. When the top position is not automatically handed to the putative Number Two and instead you widen your choice, you are more likely to end up with a far superior candidate.

The consensus among the rakyat as well as the establishment is that Tunku Muhriz is a far superior candidate, and a better person to boot, than the other contenders, the three sons of Tuanku Jaafar.

It is too late for the three adult sons of Tuanku Jaafar to appreciate and benefit from the wisdom of my observation. It is hard to learn as an adult the lessons you should have learned as a youngster.

Tunku Naquiyuddin, Tuanku Jaafar’s oldest son, must have felt the sting the most. After all, his father had named him Regent, or acting Yam Tuan, during his recent extended overseas tour. As such Naquiyuddin must have felt that the throne would rightly be his. He had already begun acting as the Yam Tuan, as he did recently when he called for the restoration of the Sultans’ absolute royal immunity. At the personal level, he was already behaving only too well as a feudal king.

As for Tunku Muhriz, he had learned his lesson well, and early, way back in 1967 when the Undangs (Territorial Chiefs) instead bypassed him to pick his father’s half-brother Tuanku Jaafar as the 10th Yam Tuan to succeed Tunku Muhriz’s father. Sensing that the royal throne would not be his, he wisely prepared himself for life in the real world outside the palace. By all measures he has done well, having obtained a law degree and acquitting himself credibly in the private sector.

More importantly, he has also imparted those valuable lessons onto his children. They too have all done well academically and personally san their royal titles, making their achievements that much more credible and praiseworthy. Read the rest of this entry »