Friday, April 06, 2007

More on Young Malaysians Roundtable

Yes, Raja Nazrin certainly made an important speech, and the Young Malaysians Roundtable which attracted some 150 participants is a success in itself, judging even sole from the coverage it has received in all media over the past few days. Thanks to Kian Ming, who's certainly more on the ball, when he highlighted the media reports of the event.

I am thankful to the Centre for Public Policy Studies, in particular, Tricia Yeoh for inviting me to speak at one of the 3 sessions, with regards to the Governments Education Policy and its effectiveness in forging national development and unity. Wearing my "Education-in-Malaysia blogger" hat, I was given a short 10-15 minutes to raise my views in a panel which also comprised of Dr Oh Ei Sun and my favourite UM academic, Dr Azmi Sharom.

Given the short time frame (or I could have gone on-and-on for hours), I had to pick a single issue to talk about to make it meaningful. I ended up picking the issue of vernacular education for it appears to have the biggest relevance to national unity in this country. I have separately dealt with these issues at depth here on this blog, e.g., here, here and here. Kian Ming too, has his views blogged here and here.

As mentioned during the conference, I picked what I regarded as the most divisive issue to be tackled head-on because, if we can't openly deal with these issues and find the relevant resolution to them, then all talk of promoting national unity will only be about sweeping the cracks under the carpet.

Thanks to the New Straits Times, I was given a fair bit of prominence (given the limited space) in a report on Wednesday. Although understandly, it focused on my comment that parents are choosing vernacular schools due to declining quality of national schools, and not other issues raised, it's a good start ;).

There was a comment from the floor, coming from a confident young lady probably in her early 20s, who objected to my views. She stated outright that she believed that vernacular education should be abolished outright. She argued that the education received up to 12 years old plays a key role in ensuring the ability of young Malaysians to mix amongst various races in their teenage and subsequent years. In addition, there's no reason for various types of education options given that we are a single country. There should just be a single type of education.

My reply to her (and unfortunately, given that I was with the panel, I had "the last word", which didn't give her the option to reply ;)) was 2 fold:
  1. Just as there are weaknesses in the national schools, there are also weaknesses in vernacular schools. Regular readers would know my despair at the competence of the English language in vernacular schools. However, given the weaknesses, we should address these weaknesses head-on, instead of abolishing vernacular education altogether.

    I reiterated my stand that that vernacular education represents a part of our multi-racial and multi-lingual society which should be regarded as an asset and to quote the Education Minister's rhetoric, "the very fabric of our society". The focus of our government should be on integration and not assimilation.

  2. Even without taking the above reason into consideration, we must also address the issue of choice and options for Malaysian parents. Parents are choosing vernacular schools over national schools (even those previously from national schools) for a reason. Parents want the option of mother-tongue education not provided in national schools, and more so, they want better quality education for their children which, by clear consensus, is generally available at many vernacular schools.

    By eliminating vernacular schools, one will be taking away the alternative for Malaysian parents (irrespective of race). It should be noted that some 10% of Chinese school enrolment, or some 60,000 students are non-Chinese. Where would they then send their children for quality education? Most Malaysians certainly cannot afford an education in private schools such as Cempaka Secondary School, where the she had the privilege of completing her studies.
Hence, even though I came from a national primary school, I understand that the issues with regards to vernacular education is a lot more complex than a case of abolishing vernacular education to "solve" our national unity and racial integration woes. I'll not repeat the other reasons which I've have already highlighted in my other blog posts.

However, certainly, I implore the Government to stop marginalising the vernacular education community through clearly unfair policies. It is important for the Government to start believing in its own rhetoric of a multi-cultural society being Malaysia's strength, for preferential and unequal policies will only lead to the very outcome which it is seeking to avoid, national disunity.

26 comments:

DKR said...

Once again, I reiterate my thoughts on the above matter. I believe that we should all have one comprehensive, all-encompassing education for all races of Malaysians irrespective of race, and to this end, I believe that vernacular schools do more harm thn good. However, they have they're merits and a system to incorporate them into the national school system should be made. It can also be argued that the national schools, by virtue of them becoming bumiputera elite institutions, have become vernacular in they're own right. This also represents a backwards slide in improving national unity. As it has been blogged in an earlier post, Malaysia is the only other country outside mainland China that allows for Chinese vernacular education. This does have it's drawbacks. I do agree with you, Tony, that vernacular schools have many important lessons to teach us, but I don't think Malaysians should be allowed to choose between a vernacular or national education. I think all Malaysians should have a national education with the opportunity for some verbacular studies. You use the word assimilation, and it is a powerful word. If you look at all the other countries that do not have vernacular education, the migrants to those countries had to assimilate into the culture of the locals. Many Chinese fear this assimilation of they're culture and use the vernacular schools to protect it. But you have to realize, that as Malaysians, we should all have one single identity and culture, the Malaysian culture. Notice that I use the word Malaysian culture and not Malay culture. That's because Malaysia has developed it's own culture, not truly Malay, but a melting-pot of all the different cultures of all the different races of it's inhabitants. It is a rule of give and take, and i do believe that in the long run, it will benefit us all.

Anonymous said...

"Once again, I reiterate"
wow. that's iterating like, 3 times.

Anonymous said...

I think if we were to truly promote unity, we should abolish vernacular schools, sekolah kebangsaans (SKs are different from SRKs or SMKs) and agama schools that cater primarily to a subsection of the population. MRSM should also be abolished. You can argue that 10% of students in vernacular schools are non-Chinese/Indians and that 10% of MRSM is non-Malay. Nevertheless, these schools have a strong racial identity, not necessarily a Malaysian identity.

Personally, I went to a SRK and SMK and I remember mixing well in my primary school years and had some good Malay friends in secondary school. Unfortunately, as a kid you see how teachers and administrators favor or unintentionally segregate us by race, and even classes like P Moral and Agama separate us by race and religion. So, what's the solution? I would suggest having many options for classes for students but putting them in the same schools.

I have three siblings and we have gone to schools with different racial make-ups and it's just striking to see how differently we feel about other races. Sibling 1 went to MRSM and has good relations with Malays. Sibling 2 went to normal national school with majority CHinese students and isn't particularly close to Malays. Sibling 3 went to a Chinese primary school and finds it difficult to hang out with Malays. I went to SRK and SMK as stated previously with 10 non-Malays in a class of 200 and I'm all about national unity.

I think we can take a very important lesson away from these experiences.

Full Time Mom said...

Tony

I'm just curious as to your definition of 'quality' when you say "...they want better quality education for their children which, by clear consensus, is generally available at many vernacular schools."

How is the quality better? Class sizes are comparable to national schools, right (do correct me if I'm wrong), so unlikely that students get "personalised attention".

The curriculum is the same, too, correct?

And by your own admission, the English competence is weak in vernacular schools.

So are parents really choosing vernacular schools because of "quality" or because they fear the 'Islamisation' of national schools? Sounds like choosing the lesser of two evils.

Anonymous said...

Anyone cares to check on the genuinity of this? I am seriously losing hope on anything that the government said.

Malaysian Schools Education Modules Get Unesco Recognition


From Ahmad Zukiman Zain

GENEVA, April 7 (Bernama) -- The modules used and the approach taken by Malaysia in education has received the praise of two United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) bodies.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said they were the International Institute of Education Planning (IIEP) and International Bureau of Education (IBE), which are based here.

"In the context of discussions and debates on the issue of violence linked to Islam, the IIEB and IBE said we had the modules and approach that other developing countries could emulate.

"They (IIEB and IBE) went through our curricula and text books," he told Bernama in a special interview here after completing a six-day working visit to France and Switzerland.

Hishammuddin said Malaysia had proven that it had in place a solid and farsighted education system.

"At the international level there is still much debate about a clash of civilisations between the Western and Islamic worlds with no solution yet in sight and as such, there is no reason why Malaysia cannot be at the forefront to prove to the world that Islam emphasises knowledge and progress.

"Islam is not a religion of violence, Muslims are not backward people and can be at par if not better than the others in making technological breakthroughs," he said.

He said that he saw the Muslims advancement in Malaysia as a continuing jihad (holy war) and that as the country's present education minister, he was building on the successes of his predecessors so as to provide a clearer perspective to those who had very little understanding about Islam.

Hishammuddin also said that the cluster schools programme introduced by his ministry to promote excellence did not leave out religious schools and that the KPIs (key performance indicators) for mainstream schools were also used to benchmark them.

"I believe that it is not impossible for us to develop our religious schools to be there among the best in the world," he said.

He also said that the education system in Malaysia stressed on all round development and placed importance on matters like teamwork, tolerance, respect for others and not just academic excellence.

He cited the example of the F1 team from Sekolah Perempuan Bukit Nanas which finished third in the World Schools F1 Challenge in Melbourne on March 16.

The team had loaned a tyre to an opposing team which in the end beat them.

"This is what education is all about, not just a matter of scoring As. It is up to us to make our mark in the world," he added.

-- BERNAMA

TTserong said...

In order to promote national unity, I believe in national schools than vernacular schools. I admit national school syllabus is not perfect. Therefore, we should work together to improve it instead of avoid it..

The main problem in our society is people keep on blaming others or systems but they never offer any solution.

Anonymous said...

Coming from a vernacular primary and high school, I have to disagree with the notion that vernacular school should be abolish in the name of national unity:

1. Education in YOUR own language is part of your identity; putting this aside, language like chinese and tamil are indspensable in the 21th century, heck, even people in Eton are learning chinese.

2. Generally, vernacular do offer superior maths and science (from my personal experience) education

Freedom to choose,
I have to agree with the auther that the freedom to choose is OUR right as citizens, I mean, the government is HARDLY giving anything to the vernacular schools, so I don't think they have a right to close it down.

Racial integration
I have to admit that at first I do have some problems mixing with other race, but that can be overcomed. I have good malay friends, heck, my gf is even malay...
The thing to change is that vernacular schools themselves find ways to attract bumi students.

mom said...

the key is understanding one another. and that can only comes from empathy. knowing each other, warts and all. and learning to appreciate our strengths and weaknesses. seeing the humanity in all of us.

that means growing up together. that means national school. let the children mix and mingle. and parents and their life-acquired "inclinations" stay on the sideline.

that means correct the national school system. not fracture the eduation system anymore than necessary.

DKR said...

Dear anonymous,

You are Malaysian firstly and formost. You may be of Chinese or Indian decent but you will NEVER be Chinese or Indian in nationality unless you decide to migrate there. It may be part of your cultural background and history, but it is not part of your national identity. If youThat is exactly the sort of thinking that leads to national disunity. The problem is, for so long we have been divided, and one of the root causes is education. Why won't people come to the realization that it doesn't matter who we are and what cultural background we come from, we are Malaysian, we'll never be Indian or Chinese (in the truest sense of the word). Why can't we have one excellent education system which does not polarize according to race or religion and instead instills national unity and meritrocacy. Until now, all our education system has served to do is segregate us for whatever reason. You believe in the freedom to choose your education, but do you realize that in any other country in the world, you do not have this freedom. You would go to the same school as everyone else, do the same subjects as everyone else and learn the same languages. I think this freedom to choose your own education system is a false sense of freedom which is leading to deeper seated polarization issues. You say that vernacular schools offer superior maths and science education, but i can also claim from my personal experience that the science and maths education offered in national schools that my friends and i attended are just as good if not better. Let's face it, this whole question of vernacular education vs national education is not so much about the education system as it is about each race wanting to hold they're own ground and resist change in any shape or form to protect they're so called culture. Nobody seems to be thinking of the bigger picture. I have said all i want to say on the topic, and deep down inside, if you think about it really hard, i'm sure you'll agree with me.

nick said...

dkr,
I agree for the most part on the idea of some sort of national school system, but if you may, ponder this:

"You believe in the freedom to choose your education, but do you realize that in any other country in the world, you do not have this freedom. You would go to the same school as everyone else, do the same subjects as everyone else and learn the same languages."

I believe you went to Sri Cempaka, a private school, for secondary school. Why did your parents not send you to a SMK? Perhaps, umm, they felt the education in a public school was not up to par? Perhaps they wanted the freedom to choose a "better" school, a "better" education for the apple of their eye?
My surface understanding of the whole Chinese school debate isn't so much that parents want to have their children be seeped in the culture of, and identify with, the so-called "motherland", but rather that they think that Chinese schools offer the best possible education for their children short of private schools which the majority of them cannot afford. This idea certainly has much basis in fact. Chinese school educated students are certainly much better prepared in math than students educated in SMKs.
Your ideals certainly resonate with me, however it is certainly much easier to spout grand ideas of an ideal situation from the lofty perch of privilege, than to come to a clear picture of what the real problems at the ground level really are. In this case the real problem is an utter lack of qualified and motivated teachers in the national school system, less some vain attempt by Indian and Chinese parents to have their children be indoctrinated by the culture of their "motherland".

If education is something that really resonates with you, you can do something. Spend a few hours a week tutoring English at UBU in Bangsar Utama. Commit to doing that for one year.
Or maybe continue with armchair policy-critiques, smug in the self-satisfaction that these occasional "brilliant" insights define you as a member of the Malaysian "intelligentsia". Maybe you'll continue these conversations with some yuppie friends in a hi p bar in Bangsar over a pint of Guinness, after which all of you will go home, and do absolutely nothing about that which you were curiously so passionately debating just hours earlier.

DKR said...

Dear Nick,

Sorry man, you got the wrong guy. Went to a very run of the mill SMK in a small town in Perak and then went to local university. No lofty high perch to sit on for me. Came from a very middle class family as well. So my ideals are my own and they come from my life experiences during a pretty middle class upbringing in small town Malaysia.
Don't think I'm anywhere near the Malaysian 'intelligensia' as I am but a humble low-ranking health official. And as for hip bars, can't afford them. It's interesting how you could come to such conclusions based on a couple of posts. And yes, education is an issue that really resonates with me. Unfortunately, i fail to see how tutoring English in UBU will alter the political mindset and persuade people to see that a single blueprint for national education would be more important than preserving a vernacular education. Furthermore, I don't really have the time. Barely get by on the wage and the hours as it is.

nick said...

dkr,
sorry, i mistakenly assumed you were the person referred to by tony in the post, my bad.

Still, it's very easy isn't it to critique something on the fly without trying to understand what the real issue is. I do that all the time too, unfortunately.

"
Unfortunately, i fail to see how tutoring English in UBU will alter the political mindset and persuade people to see that a single blueprint for national education would be more important than preserving a vernacular education. Furthermore, I don't really have the time. Barely get by on the wage and the hours as it is."

Congratulations. you've given exactly the same reply 99.99% of Malaysians in your shoes have given. Makes one wonder where all the time goes, if no one at all has any, eh?

Sadly, I do that far too many times than I would like too.

Anonymous said...

Guys, while i agree on the points putting across by you, but did we overlook other things?

Yes, the discussion is on vernaculars and should be just about vernaculars. But we are doing a comparison between vernaculars and nationals. If your position is that nationals are so god damn good, then why MRSM existed in the first place? MRSM is for the poor and outskirt students? You bet it. If vernacular should not have existed in the first place, then so do MRSM.

And yes, we are not Indian or Chinese national in some sense. We are Malaysians. But given our cultural background, wouldn't it justify the need for us to maintain our culture, let alone the vast influence of Tamil and Chinese in the world now. If Malays are allowed to maintain their own language and culture, why not others? Iban and Kadazan as well, should not be left out! Unless you are admitting that the government is selfish, the Malays are selfish, Islam is selfish.

Anonymous said...

Young Malaysians should also learn, be made aware on how UMNO political elites have hijacked the NEP to enrich themselves and their families. How divisive policies have indeed divided the nation because unless the "roots" of these divisiveness characteristics are unearthed, the current situation will continue for the next few centuries while the world progresses ahead.

cool man said...

It is the racial division in all facets of the government's racially based policies that has led, and unfortunately, is still forcing non-malay Malaysians to head for overseas for better opportunities in all fields.

I left Malaysia about 20 years ago. I left not because the economy was in a bad shape. It was in a good shape! In fact, I would have done better if I had stayed behind. I left because I was fed up with the divisive racial-based policies of the government that I experienced since as long as I could remember. And I felt there was no way I could change the system.

When I was in lower secondary at a government-aided school, I was wondering why only the Chinese pupils had to buy textbooks and pay the monthly school fees. Some others had it all free. I didn't know the rationale then but could only envy them.

Later on, I was surprised when two malay classmates were selected to proceed to do the then Higher School Certificate (Form Six then) although I had far superior academic results than both of them. I missed the selection.

Every Monday morning we stood shoulder to shoulder at the school assembly and sung the same national anthem with the same gusto and yet we were treated differently. Again, I couldn't understand all that.

I had at great expense to my parents, to do my HSC at a private college before embarking on my tertiary education overseas (you guessed it right - I was rejected by the local universities).

Upon my return, I found to my great disappointment that nothing had changed and that the malay and non-malay concept was still firmly entrenched in all aspects of government policies.

I didn't want my children to compete in such an unfair environment. I wanted them to have 'a fair go' especially in education. For this reason, I left Malaysia. This was the same reason that drove so many well-educated, multi-skilled non-malay Malaysians to leave.

Malaysia simply can't afford to lose so many highly educated, highly skilled non-malays. Other countries will only be too happy to welcome them. Just imagine the benefits they stand to gain without having to outlay any costs to train them.

If Malaysia is to survive competitively at the international level, it has to seriously reassess its racially motivated policies. The polices have failed to uplift the well-being of the malays with the exception of the well-connected elite group.

Admission to all local tertiary courses, the appointments to public office, the tendering of contracts etc, have to be based solely on merit not along racial lines. Public scholarship to higher studies should be likewise too.

Malaysia's future is at stake.

Anonymous said...

You talk big about national education but then why do you also have MRSM? What use is national education when immediately after you leave school you face the full frontal force of NEP? If you can't be honest then why do you expect others to accept your double standards?

~

ruyom said...

Racial polarisation in the country is not caused by the country's vernacular school system but more by the government discriminative education, economic and political policies, an educationist said today.

The prime minister and all the Umno ministers will never admit that polarisation arises more out of the race-based policies and privileges one race gets over another.

Similarly, there are other areas of our daily lives where terminologies used have made us view certain practices as privileges rather than sacrifices. For instance, the bumi discount for houses.

The total sale value to the developer is still the same. It is just that the non-malay buyer is likely to be required to pay for some of the discount given to the malays.

But the longer the NEP policies continue and the greater the vehemence with which Umno politicians issue threats, terminologies will change and more people will talk about these policies or practices in words that may not sound as pleasing to the ears of the beneficiaries.

Obviously, at that point we shall probably see a new round of disagreements and discriminations. Unfortunately, as long as only weak people take on leadership roles within Umno, threats will continue, NEP policies will be sustained and corruption will prevail.

That unfortunately is the legacy we have as Malaysians.

The basic building blocks of unity, whether you are trying to re-engineer a corporation of differing cultural values or uniting different ethnic groups in a country, are the same.

The principal parties have to be treated as equals - no favours nor special privileges that would favour one group over another. Any privilege that is given should be given to all on the same basis - for example, special privilege given to the financially poor regardless of race or ethnic origin.

It is only on this equitable footing that you can foster true nationalism and build lasting unity, since each component group will have the same stake in the nation and has equal likelihood in reaping the rewards or suffering the consequences.

My recommendation to the government, not simply as a businessman but also based on pragmatism, is not to waste any more taxpayer ringgit on nationalism programmes until it has established the pre-conditions for its success.

What is sad is that, after almost five decades of independence, we have been unable in Malaysia, to bring globally-visioned leaders to the forefront - leaders who can see beyond racial boundaries to recognise the immense sociological and economic potential that can benefit all Malaysians.

vesewe said...

If we observe the educational backgrounds of those most zealous Umno leaders who now champions of the 'national' education system, we cannot fail to find that most of them are not products of the system they claim to be the best for 'national integration', 'national unity' and what not.

If they themselves have no confidence in the local or so-called 'national' education system, why do they insist that it is the best for the children and grandchildren of ordinary Malaysians?

Have we forgotten the slogan of 'leadership by example'?

It is sad that mother language education should yet again, be victimised by our ethnic politicians. That Chinese and Tamil medium primary schools are in short supply is patent.

Despite the government lavish spending on national schools and its zealous denial of vernacular education's contribution to national progress, both Chinese and Tamil schools still thrive.

Given this circumstance - and the fact that the right to mother language education is enshrined in our constitution - the government present education policy is both myopic and undemocratic.

Even if we ban all vernacular schools in the country, it will not mean that national integration will be achieved. Students would not integrate if they feel they are being denied equal chance to universities or government assistance.

We are tax-paying citizens and it is our right to demand for more schools of our choice. We as parents want to have a say in how we educate our children.

But please don't stop us from choosing what is best for our children. This is something that is very sensitive to the Chinese community and I hope that just as the sensitivities of the malays must be respected, the same would go for the Chinese and Indian communities in Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

When they were being questioned "why national unity has declined?". They have to find a scapegoat! And the scape goat is vernacular schools. Killing two birds with one stone!

tim said...

Where are the ministers children studying? I would suggest that Pak Lah draw up and publicly disclose a list of our politicians daughters and sons and where they are studying now.

Believe me, almost all of them are studying in private colleges, private schools, overseas boarding schools or universities. And why? Because they are much better than our national schools and most importantly, have English as the medium of instruction!

The present education system is a continuation of the colonial legacy that was established as a political patch-up to garner the support of the various divergent groups at that time.

To a large extent, each group was interested in safeguarding its own interests rather than thinking of a united nationhood. After that, even minor changes have met with resentment from these groups as they have become more and more uncompromising.

Once upon a time we Malaysians took pride in living as a multiracial society. It was with great joy that we shared our cultural diversities, information and knowledge with one another.

Today sadly, the reverse has happened. Each ethnic group in the country is unabashedly looking after their own self-interest. It appears that the respective race groups in the country are only too glad to maintain the welfare of their own self-interests.

As Malaysians, are they to be blamed for the fast eroding sense of affection and compassion towards fellow Malaysians? Maybe not, looking at the way in which some 'leaders' here are busy politicising racial issues and interests.

People's empowerment through education must be a foresight to be pursued. Education is no longer seen as a privilege of the ruling class to be manipulated for political interests. It is a basic human right to which all Malaysians are entitled. Therefore every Malaysian has a right to envisage what form of education he or she wants.

I believe education has to be democraticised by introducing into the curriculum values which will guard against abuse of power, corruption, cronyism, discrimination and racism. Socialisation of education is the next step in education reform where the people are empowered to formulate what kind of education they would want for their children.

Globalisation will force us to adopt a more cosmopolitan approach towards our education system and this is something we can't avoid. Our country education system has to be tailored to fulfill the needs of the international atmosphere while taking into account its responsibility to ethnic groups, local communities and national demands.

The present Malaysian education system is no more than a certificate-manufacturing factory. It lacks a vision despite that fact that Malaysia is only 13 years away from the year 2020.

reek said...

My school in the 50s and 60s when terms like bumi and non-bumi did not exist.

Back then, there was a kind of kindred among school children then that does not exist today. We were racially different but we were all equal in every other way. Nobody was 'special'.

Today when a non-malay student goes to school, he has already been told over and over again by his parents that, 'You will have to do superlatively in order to get into a local university.'

The child comes back having done creditably well, and doesn't get the university course of his choice. But his malay classmate, with worse marks than him, gets more than he asked for.

All these double standards and retrogressive policies were put in place by our selfish politicians whose aim, rather than uplifting the malays, was to perpetually stay in power for their own good.

The end result is a new generation of Malaysians who are not united in the least.

The first thing to be done towards a real Bangsa Malaysia is to pull down all divisions that categorise us along racial and religious lines.

All, irrespective of race and religion, must be subjected to a truly merit-based system in every sphere of Malaysian life.

All political parties that exploit any form of religion should be banned.

San said...

The truth is that the ability of education to bring people together is limited. On top of that, education - at least secular one - is about the pursuit of truth and knowledge and hence, whatever is taught in schools should be based on the truth and reality in order to unite the students.

But when our society is already polarised by the law and other economic realities, and we tell our children otherwise in school, its likely that the unity lessons will never stick for long or even worse result in a backlash.

What is more distressing is the fact that national education policy is only meant for the masses while our political leaders send their children overseas. Can we believe they have faith in our own educational facilities and that they are sincere in wanting the best for us?

In Malaysia, unfairness is institutionalised. For example, it is alright for certain schools or universities like the Universiti Institut Teknologi Mara to bar non-malays.

So it piques me to hear some blaming vernacular schools for racial tensions. Vernacular schools have never barred malays from enrolling into them unlike Mara educational institutions. If vernacular schools are to be blamed, so too must the Mara institutions.

A minister responsible for higher education who can make such inflammatory statements confirms that the so-called meritocracy system of university entrance is a sham, since he is able to promise that the percentage for malay applicants will never fall below the previous quota percentage.

Is he suggesting that we should rejoice over our poor education? Please do not confuse quality with quantity.

I cannot help but think that the politicians have an ulterior motive. If so, please be honest and brave enough to admit it.

With such narrow-minded people in charge, it is difficult to have confidence in any of their suggestions.

When it came to choosing a career, I avoided public services for the fear of being excluded from promotions just like how I was excluded from matriculation etc. Many employers are also very racially defined. Now, as much as I miss hanging out with people of other races, I end up being with people of my own race.

Looking back, I don't think our primary vernacular system is the cause of disunity. On the contrary, it enriches our Malaysian heritage. The real problems are with the uneven playing fields that split bumis and non-bumis from secondary school onwards.

Another example are the Chinese Indonesians. Most of them don't even speak their mother tongue, nor do they even carry Chinese names anymore, yet come any major political turmoil, they are targeted by the majority. Is this due to vernacular education?

The government should be aware of the fact that the number of Chinese schools has not increased over the past 30 years despite the need for them due to increased demand from both Chinese and non-Chinese students.

The diversity of education methods in the country is a national treasure and should be upheld. Unity will come from mutual respect and fair treatment for all - not necessarily from a uniform education.

Whether they will take concrete steps to address the imbalance is another matter for while I am optimistic about the people of Malaysia, I have very little faith in politicians.

Anonymous said...

to san , Good post. i totally agree with your view.

fong said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kok said...

On issues of all national importance, there is almost a non-existent response from the leaders of the Gerakan and MCA. How true. They are actually the puppets whose strings are firmly attached to the malay Umno.

It is true what the ex-PM Dr Mahathir has been proclaiming - newspapers in Malaysia are under the control of government - so where can anyone find true news in Malaysia?

And what about the non-malay party of MIC? This party is being monopolised by Samy Vellu who is another puppet of Umno.

I am ex-citizen of Malaysia. I came to Singapore in 1989, become a citizen of Singapore in 1997. Unfortunately, my education was did in Malaysia where unfair education regulations and rules are faced by Chinese, Indians and other non-malays.

The malays are allowed to enter their A Levels even if they get a Grade 3 for SPM. As for the non-malays, they can only enter A Levels with a Grade 1. The malays are automatically given scholarships, while the others are required to apply and play the waiting game.

To enter into local universities, non-malays need nothing less than excellent results. If one is taking history as a subject for A Levels, Islamic history is a compulsory topic. But English, a global tool, is a non-compulsory passing subject.

That is why I left. I left a country where there is no system, an unfair government which only cares for malays interest with no equal opportunity or equal treatment for the others.

What have Gerakan, MCA or MIC done for us? Nothing. Only the opposition DAP says the things which are truly happening in Malaysia. Who is Khairy to talk about Penang? What does he know about being marginalized?

The Indians in Malaysia, especially in the rural areas, are in pitiful state. Who is supposed to care for them? The MIC just leaves them to rot away.

Senior minister mentor Lee Kuan Yew has done a favour for the Chinese in Malaysia by voicing his views recently. Who is going to voice out the plight of the Indians in Malaysia? We non-malays have tolerated the government for far too long.

Come the next elections, I hope many will awaken from their dream and vote for the right people to bring Malaysia to greater heights. They so far have been failed by the money politics of Barisan Nasional.

Anonymous said...

San, can't agreed more with you.

Indonesia education is such an obvious proof that one education system does not assure national unity. Why are there so many people not seeing it. Worst still, because of their education system, the Indonesian Chinese have very limited choices to continue their study overseas(especially primary and secondary) during and after the riot.

Do these countries have multiple school systems like us? Philippine? Thailand? Sri Lanka? Somalia? South Africa? Iraq? Why are they fighting among themselves? Is USA having multiple school systems? Why was there continuous news of the Black being mistreated?

From the sentences in the posts, it appears to me, national schools have grown many peoples who like to accuse Vernacular schools. it seems they learnt to dislike the vernaculars schools pupils.

I hope the national schools had not failed totally to instill acceptance of diversification and differences. Imaging, if 80% of Malaysian went to national schools and this is the kind of people they produces, where is the hope of national unity? They can't even unite within one single race, not to mention multi-races!

To those who have not study in a vernacular school, fyi, before year 2003 vernacular schools only started teaching English in Standard Three. Now, there is only 1 hour lesson in a week for standard one to standard three pupils. Education Ministry set this policy. The only way to improve English is ask the Education Ministry to increase hours of English lesson.