Archive for December 6th, 2016

Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid should explain why Malaysia is dropped from PISA 2015 although Malaysian students participated in the OECD assessment for what is described as the “world school report”

Educationists, teachers and politicians had been waiting for the OECD’s PISA 2015 results which had been described as the world’s school report – and Malaysia is no exception, especially as the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 had as one of its objectives the elevation of Malaysia into the top one-third of countries participating in international assessments like the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science (TIMSS).

Like educationists, teachers and politicians all over the countries whose 15-year-old students had taken part in the tests taken by half a million 15-year-olds in 72 countries in maths, reading and science – held every three years – I was waiting this evening for the launch and unveiling of the PISA 2015 results in London at 11 am UK time.

In 2015 over half a million students, representing 28 million 15-year-olds in 72 countries and economies, took the internationally agreed two-hour test. Students were assessed in science, mathematics, reading, collaborative problem solving and financial literacy.

I was shocked and stunned when I combed through the PISA 2015 Report, and could not find Malaysia in the in the world results. Malaysia was the only one of the 72 countries omitted from the PISA 2015 results. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lessons of the Arab Spring for Muslim Southeast Asia

New Mandala
06 DEC, 2016

Southeast Asians must value the cohesive elements of society, embrace diversity and not allow political differences to destroy the pluralistic fabric of society if they are to avoid the disinetgration and conflict that has ensued from the Arab Spring, writes Michael Vatikiotis.

To understand the comparative success and failures of political transition in Asia and the Middle East, it is important to say from the outset that in neither part of the world has political transition worked very well.

The Arab Spring soon turned into Arab fall and winter, destroying the former countries of Libya, Syria and Yemen and leading to stronger military rule in Egypt. Here in Asia, there has been more of a rolling transition; it started at the back end of the so-called third wave of democratisation in the mid-1970s and ultimately led to the People Power revolt in the Philippines a decade later.

For different reasons and in different ways, this wave of political liberalisation stalled and then got started again after the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. While Indonesia has undeniably embarked on the path to democracy, it is still regarded as only partly free. Prevailing democracy deficits in the region, suggest that Southeast Asia’s rolling transition still has not completely delivered effective change.

There are lessons each region can learn from the other. And perhaps counterfactually, I tend to think there is more that Asia can learn, specifically Muslim society in Asia, from the Arab context. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for international inquiries into both ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas in Myanmar and the international 1MDB money-laundering scandal resulting in Malaysia being stamped as a “global kleptocracy”

Malaysians feel deeply hurt when the Prime Minister of Malaysia, whatever our political differences with him, is lampooned and made the butt of jokes internationally, as in the case of Sunday’s UMNO-PAS rally on Rohingyas where the Prime Minister called for foreign intervention to stop the “genocide” of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Myanmar media and NGOs are lampooning and accusing Najib of using Rohingya rally to divert attention from the 1MDB scandal which had caused Malaysia infamy and ignominy to be regarded world-wide as a “global kleptocracy”, attracting Myanmar reminders that “people living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” and that Najib himself had recently told the world with regard to the 1MDB scandal that “the internal affairs of a country should be determined by the people themselves as the formula had been proven successful” and that “Malaysia did not need foreign interference to shape and determine the direction of the country”.

Both Najib and the Myanmese government are wrong, but Najib would not have opened himself as an easy target if Sunday’s Rohingya rally had NOT been organised as a UMNO-PAS rally to win Muslim points but as a humanitarian call by all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or politics. Read the rest of this entry »


A fictitious Pakatan Harapan + PPBM Cabinet line-up to intensify the UMNO Nazi-style “Big Lie” Propaganda offensive against DAP in the run-up to the 14GE

At the recent UMNO General Assembly, the Prime Minister and UMNO President Datuk Seri Najib Razak notched up another octave in the politics of race, hatred and falsehood when he declared DAP as UMNO’s Enemy No. 1 in the forthcoming 14th General Election, declaring that the Malays will have to decide whether to maintain a government led by UMNO or DAP.

This is of course a political fallacy.

Whatever happens in the 14GE, whether Najib is toppled as Prime Minister or UMNO loses the Federal Government, the Malays in Malaysia will continue to exercise political power in the country as there is no way they will lose their political power.

So far, nobody in UMNO and its propaganda apparatus has been able to give a decent reply to the question recently asked by National Laureate Pak Samad as to how Malays would lose political power if UMNO is defeated in a general election.

Pak Samad had found it odd that the Malay community are obsessed over the loss of power to the country’s other minority groups if UMNO loses control of Putrajaya, and how the Malays and Islam could be under threat, and he had asked:

“How are Malays under threat? How can religion (Islam) and Malays be threatened when those in power have been Malays for over five decades?

“What have they (Malay leaders) been doing for five decades (if Malays can be under threat)?”

The demographics in the country is the surest guarantee that the Malays will not lose political power whatever happens to UMNO in the next general election. Read the rest of this entry »

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