The bulk of the article deals with the National Cultural policy for Malaysia, the problems he faces such as religion vs culture, multi-racial & inter-racial culture which are fairly sensitive issues for Malaysia. For this post, I'll just highlight the sections which were relevant to our education policy.
The Sun: You mentioned education just now. I remember our second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak said in 1965 "our National Education Policy is aimed at bringing children of all races together, learning the same thing in the same way and under the same roof so that they will feel that they share the same ideal and the same country". But this is not happening.Yes, the last sentence was short but its importance probably the greatest - the Chinese community will unfortunately continue to shun the national schools if the quality of teachers in the Sekolah Kebangsaans do not improve. See also example of obnoxious head of school here.
Yes, it is not happening. You are right. To a certain extent it does happen. Let me admit again. Culture can be nurtured. It does not happen by chance. Culture can be nurtured in the cocoon or in the testing bed. Now what is the testing bed? The testing bed is education, the schools. Instead of sharing a common experience, we see polarisation of the races. No shared experience. This because there are Chinese schools and Tamil schools. And Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) today is not what was envisaged long ago as a place our children learn and grow up together. We want all races to pass through the same schools, but they are not. In the 60s and 70s, yes, but not now.
The Sun: Why is this happening?
Because they see certain things in the Sekolah Kebangsaan which frighten them. Too much religion, too much Islam. They became frightened. That is the big impediment to the races studying together under one roof. Therefore, if Islam in schools can be reduced, SK can once again play the role intended for it. Now it is not about the teaching of ugama that is being questioned. No, not that. Have religious classes by all means. But keep away Islam from other aspects of life in the school. No doa at the assembly, no doa in the classroom except during religious classes. Then, and only then can Sekolah Kebangsaan be the crucible where shared experience is cooked. Finally, we must improve the quality of teachers in SK.