Archive for September 14th, 2013

At Last, the Right Decision on English

By Kee Thuan Chye

One of the brightest things to emerge in these gloomy days is the Education Ministry’s announcement that English will be a must-pass subject at the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations from 2016.

This is something that has been a long time coming. English used to be a must-pass subject until it was stopped from being such so long ago that I can’t even remember when. But what resulted after that was a drastic drop in the standard of our competency in that language. Then the ripple effect caused the standard to drop even further as people who were not proficient enough in English came to be trained to teach it in schools. I have heard many horror stories emerging from that situation.

At one time, Malaysia was among the top countries in Asia that were proficient in English. But nowadays, most Malaysians can’t string a sentence together properly and without making grammatical errors. These include English-language teachers themselves – not just those teaching in schools but also those teaching students learning Teaching of English as a Second Language (TESL), and even English Literature, in universities. This is embarrassing. Read the rest of this entry »


In Umno blogs, a window into a party divided

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
The Malay Mail Online
September 14, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — A renewed and inward-facing agitation among Umno-friendly blogs hints that all is not well within the Malay nationalist party ahead of its polls.

Since the general election, prominent blogs aligned to the party such as bigdogdotcom and outsyedthebox began turning up their criticism against Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak. And with the party’s election drawing nearer, their volume has only grown louder.

They are also not a force to be trifled with; ostensibly created to protect and promote the conservative interests of those aligned with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, they were partly credited for the campaign that saw Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi forced out to make way for Najib in 2009.

But the grace accorded to Najib since he took office in April 2009 has since ended. Now, the son of Malaysia’s second prime minister has come in for the same treatment from the very blogs that helped put him in power.

And as much as Najib and his allies try to tell the public that Umno is doing well and remains united in the aftermath of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) worst ever electoral performance, the increasing attacks in the blogs paints a much grimmer picture that the ruling Malay party is divided. Read the rest of this entry »


Fracturing along racial lines, BN needs to start healing Malaysia

News Analysis by The Malaysian Insider
September 14, 2013

Somebody, someone better step in because never before has the stereotyping been this bad, this widespread, this debilitating and potentially irreversible for Malaysia.

And the big loser along this road to perdition will be Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN).

In the eyes of a significant number in Umno, the non-Malays who voted with their feet in GE13 are traitors and ingrates who must be punished, the harder the better.

The form of punishment yearned for ranges from depriving the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters of cash handouts to penalising businesses owned by Chinese to completely erasing the concerns of non-Malays in policy-making.

No doubt some of this is just talk, borne out of anger and frustration by BN members not being able to deliver what they believed was a minimum target: regaining two-thirds majority control of Parliament.

But there are enough Umno politicians bending Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s ears about a more punitive approach against non-Malays to suggest that this toxic thinking will poison decision making, sooner rather than later. Read the rest of this entry »