It is in fact better for the parents, as the key consideration should be that "you will not have to waste time sending your children to school." Other considerations are secondary.
What's more, "all schools had the same facilities and the ministry had worked to ensure they all had good teachers. Therefore, every school was a good school..."
Who is the Director-General trying to kid? Aizuddin Danian, unsurprisingly, described the above statements as "bullsh*t".
Have you seen the quality of some schools in elite areas such as Sri Hartamas, Bukit Damansara and Taman Tun Dr Ismail? They are freakin' amazing. My alma mater in Bukit Damansara has a state of the art running track, a meticulously cared for lawn, and an air-conditioned hall... Schools are not all the same. Datuk Ahmad is lying or terribly misinformed.Let me give you a little bit of my personal experience. My kampung in Batu Pahat, along the Tanjong Labuh-Koris Road is some 15 kilometres from the town centre. There are at least 2 neighbourhood schools which are probably within a 5 kilometre radius from my home. My dad, who only completed 2-3 years of formal education, decided that the school that I should attend is the top national-type primary school in Batu Pahat right in the middle of town, Montfort Boys Primary School.
However, entry was not straightforward as the officials tend to allocate students to schools closer to home, especially when Montfort is extremely popular amongst parents. The only assured way of enrolling into Standard One, and be assigned to the top class at Montfort is if you are a graduate from the privately run kindergarten at Montfort which takes in only some 30+ students.
Hence, my dad tried to register me at the kindergarten before the registration period and got turned away. He tried to register me when the registration opened and got asked to return another day. And when he returned on the specified day, he was informed that registration was closed as all the seats were taken up. Knowing that the headmaster of the school has a tendency to register only children from well-to-do families or those whose parents are teachers, my dad got extremely upset with him. I can only assume that my dad, being twice Mr Malaysia and once Mr Asia in bodybuilding, managed to convince the headmaster that I should be given a place in the kindergarten :-)
And here I am today. To cut a long story short, if not for the fact that my dad managed to enrol me into the premier school in town, I definitely would not have received the Asean scholarship to study in the top school in Singapore, which then led to the opportunity to pursue my education at Oxford.
I was not the only one. My best friend in primary school was the son of a retired locksmith who lived in a squatter zone. He took exactly the same route (except he went to Singapore at a later stage) and ended up in the same college as me in the United Kingdom. He is now the Country Managing Director for Singapore's premier shipping company in Vietnam.
Unlike many who were born to educated parents, we had only our teachers in school to rely on in education as our parents were not able to assist us with my homework (etc. etc.) besides providing us with moral support. I"m not sure about this friend of mine, as he's definitely the smarter one, but had I been enrolled into my neighbourhood schools, I am dead certain that I'll not have achieved as much today. All schools are definitely not created equal.