Archive for December, 2013

National shame that foreign bodies like World Bank more concerned about Malaysia’s educational crisis and deteriorating educational standards than even the Education Minister himself

Since the publication of the 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) results more than three weeks ago, the World Bank has come out with a special report themed “High-Performing Education” in its latest issue of Malaysian Economic Monitor, organised a forum in a local university presenting the World Bank report zeroing on the question whether Malaysia can develop a high-performing education system to support our high-income aspirations and featured in several online and printed, local and foreign, media reports (including Wall Street Journal on Christmas Eve) quoting World Bank officials from its Bangkok office attributing the cause of Malaysia’s poor performance in international educational benchmarks to inefficiencies in the Malaysian education system in the allocation of resources for education in the country.

The World Bank’s “Malaysian Economic Monitor:High-Performing Education” is an indictment of the Education Ministry and the national education system for failing to provide access to quality education to Malaysian schoolchildren 56 years after Merdeka as Malaysia has one of the most inefficient Education Ministries and education systems in the world although the Education Ministry has been allotted RM54.6 billion in Budget 2014, highest for any sector.

As a result, the World Bank Monitor in Chapter of its report states (para 90):

“Malaysia’s performance in standardized international student assessments is below what would be expected of a country with its income per capita or level of educational expenditure, and well below the performance of the high-income economies that Malaysia aspires to compete against for innovation and knowledge-based investments. Moreover, performance appears to have deteriorated over the past decade.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Malays should be less dogmatic

– Hafiz Ahmad
The Malaysian Insider
December 24, 2013

The recent series of racial and religious polemics have caused a big storm in our country. It is worse when some politicians take advantage of these issues to become heroes so that people will applaud them as true Islamic/Malays protector. In return, they expect to get more votes in the next election.

They know that the Malays easily become irrational when it comes to racial and religious issues. The Malays have been trapped in a dogmatic circle for too long thus preventing them from thinking rationally.

I am truly impressed with Mujahid Yusuf Rawa’s effort, organising a dialogue to strengthen the bridge between Islam and Christianity; others, including the ulama and ustaz and those in Islamic institutions such as Jakim and Jais, have failed to do it.

The Malays are terrified with a lot of imaginary enemies then suddenly Mujahid came up with an idea to have a dialogue with this “imaginary enemy”. I feel such a relief when knowing there is at least one politician with thoughtful idea. This is the true Islamic teaching and understanding. Read the rest of this entry »


Support for Barisan will drop further if it ignores rising cost, says varsity survey

The Malaysian Insider
December 24, 2013

Support for the Barisan Nasional administration will drop further if it fails to deal with the rising cost of living experienced by Malaysians, another study has found today.

At the same time, the study by the Universiti Malaya’s Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMCEDEL) showed that 61% of respondents disagreed with the Government’s plan to introduce a goods and services tax in 2015.

The study showed that only 20% of those polled agreed with the initiative.

UMCEDEL director Prof Datuk Dr Mohammad Redzuan Othman said that the rise in electricty and petrol prices had a severe impact on those polled and that 52% of them felt that the Government’s BR1M (1Malaysia People’s Aid) handouts were inadequate to deal with rising prices. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia deserves a new Education Minister who is fully committed to resolve the national education crisis with a practical and achievable action plan to transform the country from a mediocre to a world-class education system

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is trying to minimise the enormous damage caused by the three-week-long thunderous silence of the Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to the “triple whammy” of relentless erosion of educational standards in the country, viz

* 2011 TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study);

* 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment); and

* World Bank’s adverse Malaysia Economic Monitor themed “High-Performing Education”.

In his Facebook post yesterday, Najib said Malaysia is capable of providing the best education system for all with the co-operation of all stakeholders, i.e. parents, educators and students themselves.

Describing the issue of education as closest to his heart, he also acknowledged that various efforts had to be taken to empower the national education system which “encompasses all aspects of human capital development inclusively as well as bridges the education gap between the urban and rural students”. Read the rest of this entry »


Let Malaysians of all creeds embrace the universal message of “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All” to build a united, tolerant, purposeful and prosperous Malaysia with ever lessening racial hatred and religious animosities in the coming years

Happy Christmas to all Christians and all other Malaysians who share in the spirit of festivity and goodwill of all the important religious occasions in the country as part and parcel of our proud national heritage.

Let Malaysians of all creeds embrace the universal message of “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All” to build a united, tolerant, purposeful and prosperous Malaysia with ever lessening racial hatred and religious animosities in the coming years.

It is sad but true that never before in the 56-year history of the nation have more racial hatred and religious animosities been propagated in the months before and after the 13th General Elections – such as the dangerous and incendiary lies and falsehoods about the attempt to establish a Christian Malaysia, the baseless conspiracy of the Chinese to oust the political power of the Malays or the fictitious secret agenda to abolish the Malay Rulers and set up a republic.

These are just lies, lies, lies but they are being spread and amplified in reckless abandon with official connivance on the social media and establishment printed media, starting before the 13th General Elections but with increasing abandon after May 5, 2013. Read the rest of this entry »


Kudos to CDC Director Masnah for the first decent government response on Malaysia’s poor performances in 2011 TIMSS and 2012 PISA results which only highlights the cowardice of Muhyiddin in continuing his irresponsibility in refusing to own up to the crisis of deteriorating educational standards under his watch

Kudos to the Curriculum Development Division director of the Ministry of Education, Dr. Masnah Ali Muda, who has finally come out with the first decent government response on Malaysia’s poor performances in the 2011 TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) and the 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment).

I am not fully satisfied with Masnah’s statement but it only highlights the cowardice of the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in continuing his irresponsibility in refusing to own up to the crisis of deteriorating educational standards under his watch.

I do not deny that I had been badgering Muhyiddin almost daily since the release of the 2012 PISA results three weeks ago on 3rd December to come clean with Malaysians that the country is facing a full-scale educational crisis with deteriorating educational standards under his watch in the Education Ministry since April 2009.

Muhyiddin had been the lynchpin of an elaborate national conspiracy to make Malaysians believe the delusion that they have a world-class education system with the ever-increasing and unprecedented number of students scoring As for all subjects in local examinations especially PMR and SPM when the standards of Malaysian students were actually suffering serious deterioration in the past decade as evident from international educational benchmarks like the global assessments of TIMSS, conducted for eighth graders every four years, and PISA, conducted for 15-year-old students every three years. Read the rest of this entry »


MCA’s reforms hollow without Umno’s, analysts say

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
The Malay Mail Online
December 22, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 — MCA is unlikely to succeed with planned reforms to win back the Chinese community so long as Barisan Nasional (BN) lynchpin Umno continues to thrive on communal politics, said two political analysts.

Despite the winds of change blowing through the party that yesterday elected a new line-up of leaders, they said Umno’s dominance over government policies meant it was difficult for MCA to shake its seemingly subservient role to the Malay nationalist party that has disenchanted its traditional support base.

Since reinforcing its position by winning 88 of the 133 federal seats the coalition managed to retain in Election 2013, Umno has also gained a stranglehold over country’s administration by controlling 17 of the 25 ministerial posts in the government.

“Reform in MCA is dependent on Umno,” Prof James Chin, a political analyst with Monash University, told The Malay Mail Online yesterday.

“The reform would only go as internal party reform and not government policies,” Chin said of MCA’s planned transformation. Read the rest of this entry »


In deflecting the heat over weekly’s suspension, Putrajaya raises more questions

December 21, 2013

The Home Ministry has now denied that The Heat (pic) was suspended over its reports of a profligate administration but rather it was because the weekly had violated provisions in its printing permit.

If anything, that defence raises more questions than answers for Putrajaya. After all, was it a coincidence that a show-cause letter was only issued after the November 23 to 29 edition on hefty spending on travel and consultants by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak?

“This decision was not linked to The Heat’s recent report regarding the prime minister, and any accusations to the contrary are without merit,” a ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal.

The spokesperson said the suspension resulted from the publishing company violating provisions mandated under its printing permit, the Journal reported.

Home Ministry sources told The Malaysian Insider that the permit given to the publisher was for the publication of a magazine and not for newspaper printing.

Well, The Heat is a weekly newspaper and in some circles, that is a magazine.

More importantly, when did the ministry find out that it was not a magazine? It has had a run of 15 editions since entering the marketplace on September 6, 2013. Read the rest of this entry »


Corruption, not liberalism, is Malays’ real enemy

– Hafiz Ahmad
The Malaysian Insider
December 22, 2013

The Malays are in a state of delusion. They cannot differentiate between their real problems and the delusional ones. I could not understand why they are paranoid with liberalism, pluralism, Shiism and Christianity, as these have no effect in their daily lives.

Some Malays don’t even understand what liberalism really means. If anyone can explain what is the real threat of liberalism in our lives, I will be very grateful. Please enlighten me, I’m so confused.

While people are struggling to put food in their mouths, there are those busy pointing their fingers at the 9% Christian population, claim that Christians are trying to establish a Christian state in Malaysia.

With the exception of Vatican, there is no Christian state in this world. Even Italy with a strong Catholic population does not claim to be Christian country.

Are Malays out of their mind? Muslims comprise 61.3% of the country’s population and Christians only 9.2 %. Where is the threat? It is worse when some religious bigots called Pembina fire up this delusional issue by organizing forums to make Muslims believe there is a threat from Christians. Read the rest of this entry »


Hope From the Eyes of a Middle-Class Malaysian

— Cassandra Chung
The Malaysian Insider/
December 21, 2013

DEC 21 — Just yesterday, I was speaking to my father on the phone. It had been a long time since the both of us had had a one-to-one talk ever since I came to university. Most of my Skype conversations home involved one-to-one talks with my sister, and if I was speaking to my father, it was usually in the presence of my mother, relatives or family friends. As I spoke to him, he mentioned the toll and electricity price hike. The few times in the past he told me about the petrol price hike and goods and services tax (GST) implementation, he had said it in a rather factual manner. My conversation with him over the phone seemed different this time. I could hear the stress in his voice and I must say, for him to fail at hiding his stress is a pretty big deal, because most of the time, he can effectively conceal it.

I come from a middle-class family. We live in a modest terrace house which took my father 11 years to completely pay off. We have enough money to own two imported cars but they aren’t BMWs or Mini Coopers. My family had sufficient money to send me to one of the cheaper private colleges to do my pre-university studies and to the United Kingdom to start and finish my degree, but not enough to give me an international secondary and primary education. I got a public school one with lots of tuition classes instead. My sister and I had a short stint of piano and dance lessons at some point of time in our lives. In comparison to a lot of other middle-class families, I would say we are doing alright. Some of my friends could never afford dance classes. I have a friend who had to defer his entry into one of the most prestigious universities in the world because of insufficient funds. Another one simply had to give up such an opportunity.

But I think like most other families with our financial standing, we are reaching our boiling point. Read the rest of this entry »


Politics and sexual innuendoes

– The Malaysian Insider
December 21, 2013

Why do Malaysian politicians have a penchant of spicing up their rhetoric with sexual innuendoes? Is it the lowest common denominator in politics and one every political party member can relate to?

Be it Borneo politicians who liken leaking roofs to woman’s menses or suggestive remarks about having quotas for four wives or a minister linking property values to a woman’s made-up beauty – almost every other speech is linked to sex.

So it is no surprise Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak mentioned “political viagra” today to stimulate MCA to greater heights. Read the rest of this entry »


Jangan salahguna agama untuk politik – Dr. Asri

December 21, 2013

SHAH ALAM, 21 DISEMBER – Rakyat turun ke jalanraya dan mengadu kepada Tuhan kerana kerajaan sudah tidak lagi mendengar keluh kesah mereka, bukan bermakna rakyat mahukan sebarang bentuk negara tetapi mahukan keadilan.

Demikian analisa bekas mufti Perlis, Prof Madya Dato’ Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin terhadap revolusi berganda di Mesir yang akhirnya menyaksikan Presiden ke-lima negara tersebut, Dr Mohamad Morsi digulingkan.

Beliau mengulas lanjut soal meletakkan label ‘negara Islam’ yang bagi beliau bukanlah perkara yang terlalu penting.

“Pakistan pun ada enakmen undang-undang Islam, tetapi lihat negara dia punyalah kotor. Bukankah kebersihan itu sebahagian daripada Islam. New Zealand lebih Islam daripada Pakistan,” ujarnya dalam wacana ‘Ikhwan Muslimin: Musuh atau kawan’ di sini, hari ini. Read the rest of this entry »

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No graduate in Kota Marudu village – DAP

by Mariah Doksil

Borneo Post
December 21, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: Likas assemblyman, Junz Wong has urged Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap to explain why more than 50 per cent of federal scholarships allocated to Sarawak and Sabah students to pursue their education in local universities allegedly had no takers and as such given to students in Peninsular Malaysia.

He said it is impossible for Sabah not to have students who qualified to receive federal scholarships, especially when the government is very proud to have one of the best education systems in the world.

“The ‘loss’ is not the latest story for Sabah and Sarawak, as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Joseph Entulu has revealed that it has been going on since 2008.

“According to Entulu, only 499 out of 1,000 scholarships allocated for both states were successful in their application in 2008, while in 2009 only 402 successful. He also said the situation was the same for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012,” said Junz in a press conference at Bandaran Berjaya Shangri-la Hotel, yesterday.

Also present were DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang, DAP Sabah chief Jimmy Wong, Kepayan assemblyman Dr Edwin Bosi and Batu Kawan MP Kasthuriraani Patto.

Junz made the call after Kit Siang called on the government to set up a Parliament Select Committee for the amazing performance in the recent Penilaian Menangah Rendah (PMR) examinations. Read the rest of this entry »


Greatest blooper for Muhyiddin as Education Minister is his cowardice to own up to deteriorating educational standards of Malaysian students evidenced in TIMSS 2011 and PISA 2012 which is ironically highlighted by the “superlative” 2013 PMR results

The greatest blooper for Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is his cowardice to own up to the deteriorating educational standards of Malaysians students evidenced in the 2011 TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) released in December last year and 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) released this month.

Ironically, the deteriorating educational standards of Malaysian students, particularly in the more than four years with Muhyiddin as Education Minister, has been ironically highlighted by the “superlative” 2013 Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) results, to the extent that both the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Muhyiddin had publicly congratulated students who excelled in the PMR exam.

The 2013 PMR results are better than last year, with 30,988 or 7.33 per cent of the over 462,940 PRR candidates nationwide who scored Grade A in all subjects – an increase of 0.41 per cent or 514 candidates over last year’s 30,474 Grade A straight scorers.

It is most ironical that the “superlative” 2013 PMR results with 30,988 or 7.33 of the students in the 2013 PMR attaining top scores of all As in all subjects stand in sharp contrast to the 2011 TIMSS, where only two per cent of Malaysian students reached the grade of “top scorers” and 2012 PISA with only 1.3 per cent of Malaysian students scaling the “top scorers” bracket.

Why such a vast contrast in the results of the local PMR examination and the two international educational assessment benchmarks? Read the rest of this entry »


World Bank president calls corruption ‘Public Enemy No. 1’

Thursday Dec 19, 2013

WASHINGTON – The World Bank took a bold stance on fighting corruption on Thursday, with President Jim Yong Kim saying that corruption at both the public and private level is the scourge of the developing world.

The development institution, which long shied away from tackling corruption because it wanted to steer clear of politics, on Thursday said it plans to hire more experts in the rule of law and other governance issues.

Kim said corruption must be at the center of the development lender’s work.

“Every dollar that a corrupt official or a corrupt business person puts in their pocket is a dollar stolen from a pregnant woman who needs health care,” Kim said during a panel. “In the developing world, corruption is public enemy No. 1.”

The announcement shows just how much the bank has changed since the 1990s, when corruption was a taboo subject in an institution that has 188 member countries and shuns picking sides. Read the rest of this entry »


Journalists, Fight for Your Freedom!

By Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! News

The scourge is upon us. The Government is getting unreasonably authoritarian by suspending the publishing licence of the news weekly The Heat. We are seeing the beginnings of a return to Mahathirism, to the culture of fear that former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad imposed on us. It’s time to nip it in the bud before it gets more grim.

I call on the media and all journalists to do their part to stop the tyranny against media freedom. Stand up and take back your right to freedom of speech and expression. Push for the repeal of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) which accords power to the Home Ministry to grant and revoke licences.

A friend of mine who works in the media suggests a sympathy strike by all journalists, with media owners in tacit support. Is that doable? Or is it too much to ask? Read the rest of this entry »


Which assessments are Malaysians to believe – PMR or PISA/TIMSS?

I join the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in congratulating the top scorers in this year’s Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examination, in particular the 30,988 or 7.33 per cent of the over 462,940 PMR candidates nationwide who scored Grade A in all subjects – an increase of 0.41 per cent or 514 candidates over last year’s 30,474 Grade A straight scorers.

However, both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have been singularly silent over the 2011 TIMSS and 2012 PISA results which show Malaysian students very low down in international educational standards, and they should explain the reason for the vast discrepancy in the local PMR examination results with international educational assessment results like 2011 TIMSS and 2012 PISA.

With 7.33 per cent of students scoring straight As in all the PMR subjects, this should mean that the Malaysian national education system has produced over seven per cent of our students who are world-class “top scorers” comparable with their peers in the rest of the world.

However, this is not reflected whether in the 2011 TIMSS or 2012 PISA results. Read the rest of this entry »


Unable to take the heat, Putrajaya puts media on notice

December 20, 2013

Putrajaya’s transformation programme took a step backward yesterday when the Home Ministry suspended The Heat weekly, most likely for its November 22 lead article that focused on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s spendthrift ways.

While such reports are commonplace in online news portals, The Heat’s article hit too close to home as it was in print and came at a time when Putrajaya had cut fuel and sugar subsidies while higher electricity tariffs, toll charges and public transport fares were on the cards as public funds were tight.

Putrajaya insiders say the Home Ministry took action as the report made the PM look bad, which is an unwritten out-of-bounds marker in the local media scene.

“You get a permit to publish, so you must know your parameters even if you want to be critical,” a retired newspaperman told The Malaysian Insider.

“This is just a warning not to overstep the boundaries even if the PM can be quite liberal about such things,” he added, noting that the government is more concerned about print rather than online media. Read the rest of this entry »


Completion of Impian Sabah’s inaugural project in Kampung Samparita Laut, Kota Marudu

Tuan-tuan puan-puan sekalian, hari ini merupakan satu hari bersejarah untuk Kg Samparita Laut ‎dan juga bagi parti DAP.

Hari ini cukup bermakna sebab akhirnya selepas 50 tahun pertubuhan Malaysia, penduduk-penduduk Kg Samparita Laut dapat menikmati air paip dalam rumah sendiri. Lima puluh tahun Sabah masuk Malaysia, Kg Samparita Laut diabaikan, dipinggirkan. ‎ Tetapi walaupun penduduk-penduduk kampung bukan dapat air paip yang dirawat, sekurang-kurangnya, ‎Tuan-tuan puan-puan tak perlu bergantung kepada air hujan dan air sungai yang keruh lagi.

Hari ini amat bersejarah untuk parti DAP kerana Kg Samparita Laut merupakan projek Impian Sabah yang pertama. Impian Sabah dilancarkan oleh DAP untuk membantu menaiktarafkan kehidupan rakyat di kawasan pendalaman Sabah yang masih hidup tanpa infrastruktur dan keperluan asas seperti elektrik, air dan lain-lain. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ku Nan: Playing race card at BN party meets is normal

Lawrence Yong
Dec 19, 2013

At the 67th Umno general assembly, delegates had also made some controversial statements including a suggestion that the 1Malaysia slogan be replaced with the 1Melayu slogan because people from the other races did not help Umno in Penang during the 13th general election.

Tengku Adnan said that to mitigate the problem, perhaps parties should stop giving “live” coverage rights of their meetings to reporters, whom he fingered as the real troublemakers.

The MCA elections kicked off today with the 48th MCA Youth national annual assembly and election at the party’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

The Chinese-based party had seen its support eroded during the last general election, winning only seven seats in Parliament. It has opted not to accept ministerial posts in the cabinet.