DAP calls for Royal Commission of Inquiry into Education to investigate not only into frequent incidence of leaks of Malaysian examination papers in recent years but also all aspects of declining standards of primary, secondary and university education

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin must have been the most embarrassed Education Minister at the 8th ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting in Vientiane on Thursday when news broke of leaks in this year’s UPSR examination papers, causing the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister to allege that the leaks could have been purposely done to sabotage him personally and the Education Ministry.

Muhyiddin’s allegation of sabotage is most surprising but nobody will give it much credence as Muhyiddin seems to be the only person in Malaysia not to know that leaks in examination papers conducted by the Malaysian examination authority are not unusual occurrences – just as Muhyddin seemed to be the only Malaysian not to know that English is not a compulsory pass subject for SPM when he became Education Minister five years ago.

Last November, the Education Ministry announced a special task force to conduct immediate investigation into the leak of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examination papers but nothing have been heard about these investigations.

So Muhyiddin’s talk about wanting to get to the bottom of the leaks in this year’s UPSR examination papers and to bring the culprits to justice must be taken with a pinch of salt for he has never been serious as Education Minister about leaks in examination papers except on this occasion, when he was made to look so foolish among his peers at the ASEAN conference of Education Ministers by this shameful episode.

The time has come for a full-scale investigation into the frequent occurrence of leaks of STPM, SPM and UPSR examination papers, which undermine public confidence in the integrity of the examination and education system – as these are signs of a system of corrupt governance which is getting from bad to worse.

But it is not only the frequent incidence of leaks of examination papers for the various public examinations in Malaysia which must be the subject of rigorous investigation, as the whole education system needs a comprehensive examination by independent, knowledgeable and eminent Malaysians.

The Programme for International Student (PISA) 2009+ results ranked Malaysia in the bottom third of the 74 participating countries, comparing Malaysian 15-year-olds most unfavourably with 15-year-olds in Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as though 15-year-olds in Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Shanghai have had three or more years of schooling than 15-year-olds in Malaysia.

This disparity has widened further in the PISA 2012, reaching a stage where the 15-year-old in Shanghai, Singapore and South Korea were performing in the assessments as though they had four or even five more years of schooling than 15-year-olds in Malaysia.

The Malaysia education system is also regressing while the best and most competitive of the national educational systems in the world are making phenomenal progress in the past decade-and-half.

In the 2012 PISA, only 1.3 per cent of students in Malaysia made it to the “top performers” bracket in maths, i.e. (reaching Level 5 or 6) as compared to Shanghai-China (55.4%), Singapore (40%), Taiwan (37.2%), Hong Kong (33.7%), South Korea (30.9). Between 15% and 25% of students in Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macao, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland and Switzerland are top performers in mathematics.

Even the top 5 per cent of Malaysian students perform only in line with the average Korean or Japanese pupil.
Most worrying, more than half of Malaysian students (51.8%) do not reach basic proficiency levels in Mathematics (i.e. Below Level 2).

Was somebody in the Education Ministry and system trying to sabotage Muhyiddin with such dismal educational standards and results compared with high-flying educational systems in the world?

Malaysia’s university education has long fallen out of top world-class rankings.

For this reason, I call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Education to investigate not only into frequent incidence of leaks of Malaysian examination papers in recent years but also into all aspects of declining standards of primary, secondary and university education in Malaysia.

(Speech at a DAP Bukit Pasir Branch dialogue held in Bukit Pasir, Pagoh on Saturday, Sept 13, 2014 at 10 am)

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 13 September 2014 - 9:29 pm

    What if Mahathir say is right that the Malays don’t know shame – for theft nor discrimination against everyone else? Then while the case is clear and will lead to disaster eventually, it may just be a disaster is the only thing that will cause real change..

  2. #2 by boh-liao on Saturday, 13 September 2014 - 9:50 pm

    When ppl r lazy n know NO shame, dis is d fastest way 2 get RICH while doing many individuals a big favor (by letting them know exam Q b4 hand, so that they can score full/high marks – M’sia Got Talents mah)

    Exam leakage – rakyat sure it happens every year (only difference is whether it is made known publicly or not)

  3. #3 by Di Shi Jiu on Saturday, 13 September 2014 - 10:59 pm

    Mr Lim,

    I don’t think there will be very much interest from UMNO/BN for an RCI into the rotteness called the Malaysian education system.

    You see, the lack of an effective system of education has not prevented many UMNO bigwigs from achieving their exalted status within the Malaysian political scene AND within the Malaysian business arena.

  4. #4 by Noble House on Sunday, 14 September 2014 - 2:29 am

    Whatever the reason behind the leakages, it does no good to the children. You are destroying their future.

  5. #5 by pulau_sibu on Sunday, 14 September 2014 - 5:15 am

    corrupted country-selling exam questions for money.

    it is free pass for every one, so why the need of having such exams?

  6. #6 by good coolie on Sunday, 14 September 2014 - 11:59 am

    The UPSR is the lowest level of public examinations. Are we to believe that there is no leak at higher levels (SPM e.g.)?

    The CLP (the law-examinations that all mere- graduates of foreign universities are required to take in order to practise law in Malaysia) was constantly being leaked around 10 years ago through the following path-ways: 1) through some private colleges 2) through some maverick tutors 3) through a go-between who would serve students from government departments 4) through direct tampering with marks after the marking of papers.
    Can you imagine CLP students who not only have the questions papers, but the answers to them as well?. I am one of the unfortunate few who did not know of how “to beat the system”. Thus, I am not a lawyer today.
    Any wonder that we are not of world class in most fields of knowledge? This is not, however, to disparage isolated achievements like, for example, those of Dr. Shekar in rubber and palm-oil research.

  7. #7 by boh-liao on Sunday, 14 September 2014 - 2:15 pm

    Dis is Y dis 1DERful land is improving every year – more n more exam candidates score high high, with maximum CGPA

    MOE n Education Minister very proud of our students’ fantastic achievements – % of high achievers keeps going up higher n higher every year, a wonderful testament to our superb educational system

    Dis is a nation flooded with geniuses, esp those in our national schools

    No believe? Just look at our local universities, even non-professional courses r filled with students with CGPA of 4.

  8. #8 by pulau_sibu on Monday, 15 September 2014 - 6:12 pm

    leakage, if not made known, is not recognised as leakage. leakage may be an usual business in boleh

  9. #9 by waterfrontcoolie on Thursday, 18 September 2014 - 8:02 am

    In reality, I don’t see much difference with or without any so-called leakage as we all know that results are massaged for the planned results all these years. If the basic rules are being manipulated for political convenience, no matter what is done, the conclusion remains the same. Unless, we can rise up to the reality that good result comes from sweat and mid-night oil, all the planning and so-called security system will be a waste of money as only the cronies will be called upon to create systems with no security accountability. As I have indicated previously, the wuality of the public examination is so low that the 5 A’s in the UPSR means nothing when in an entrance examination conducted by the private Chinese schools, yes they have resorted to this with thousands of parents finally realized that this is the next better option; pupils with 5 A.s failed to make the entry qualification. Maybe we should just ask the all top students of the national type schools to take this version of entrance examination since the official papers have been breached! This may be the opportunity to separate chaffs from quality.

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