Monday, April 10, 2006

9th Malaysia Plan: An Overview

Ookie. With the 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP) out for two weeks already, I suppose it's about time both Kian Ming and me put up some stuff about it. As mentioned by Kian Ming earlier, we were having little teething problems trying to get cozy with the Plan. That have been sorted out now. Plus of course, I'm still trying to squeeze some time off work to read the 550+ page document! :)

First, let me start off with an overview of the Plan. In the past, the Malaysia Plan has been written from a "sector" perspective, for e.g., "Health", "Environment", "Infrastructure & Utilities" etc. However, this time round, the 9MP is written from a "theme" perspective.

That means that for each objective and theme which 9MP intends to achieve, the action items relevant to each sector will be highlighted. It's probably a better way to present the Plan, for action items, irrespective of sectors or ministry should be drafted to achieve specific objectives, instead of being confined to individual ministries. However, it will make sifting the document for action plans relating to specific sectors a tad harder.

The are 5 key themes and objectives which were outlined in the 9MP. They are:
  • First: To move the economy up the value chain

  • Second: To raise the capacity for knowledge and innovation and nurture ‘first class mentality’

  • Third: To address persistent socio-economic inequalities constructively and productively

  • Fourth: To improve the standard and sustainability of quality of life

  • Fifth: To strengthen the institutional and implementation capacity
The bulk of the 9MP relating to education is in the second "thrust" - to raise the capacity for knowledge and innovation and nurture ‘first class mentality’.
Knowledge, innovation and values - in sum, the quality of the nation’s human capital - will be the key determinants of Malaysia’s future success as a knowledge-based economy. The country must raise the capacity of its people by:
  • promoting Islam Hadhari as a comprehensive and universal development framework for the nation

  • undertaking comprehensive improvement of the education system, from pre-school to tertiary level, from the aspects of curriculum and teaching to school facilities, with a special focus on raising the standard of schools in the rural areas

  • enhancing national schools to become the people’s school of choice

  • producing universities of international standing and ensuring that tertiary institutions meet the needs of employers

  • creating more avenues for skills development, training and lifelong learning for the labour force at all levels and for all ages, including in ICT

  • providing an environment and innovation system, which encourages top quality R&D and its commercialisation

  • refining and implementing programmes, which encourage the development of a strong moral and ethical culture as encapsulated in the PIN [National Integrity Plan]

  • empowering youth and women to participate fully in national growth and development
By 2020, the country targets to improve the appeal of national schools to the public. The extent of achievement will be indicated by the increase in the enrolment of Chinese and Indian students in national primary schools. The proportion of Chinese population in the age cohort of 6-11 years attending national schools is expected to expand from 6 per cent in 2005 to 12 per cent by 2010 while that of the Indians from 43.2 per cent to 60 per cent.

All children will attain a minimum of 11 years of schooling. It is also targeted for at least two universities to achieve international repute and standing.

For R&D, the ratio of GERD to GDP is projected to double, while the number of researchers per 10,000 labour force is expected to increase to 65. The number of patents and commercialised R&D is expected to rise significantly from the low base in 2005.
So from the "high-level" sound of it, the Plan is on the right track. But then again, many of Malaysia's 5-Year Plans are pretty well written (it better be, for many expensive consultants have been paid to write or contribute to it). The issue for Malaysia has always been a case of the ability to execute. Will we indeed have 2 top universities in the world by the year 2020?

The standout objective for me relating to education in Malaysia has to be the specific mention of the need to enhance "national schools to become the people’s school of choice". I've written many many times on this theme through my various posts and I believe that for Malaysia to exist as a harmonious and united nation in the future, it is absolutely imperative for Malaysia to get this right.

OK, that's the overview of the 9MP for the moment. As Kian Ming and myself digest more stuff from the plan, we'll dish out more articles for your reading pleasure. :)


Anonymous said...

"Will we indeed have 2 top universities in the world by the year 2020?" oh pleeaase.. they can't even decide on who the UM vc should be even up till now. ...

It's all well and good to put up a grand plan for the next decade. But they couldn't even plan one month ahead to appoint a new vc in time to replace Hashim Yacob - even as they knew very well they wanted him to be replaced!

Of course it is possible to be in the top - provided they appoint the right leadership!

Anonymous said...

More budget allocation to areas in innovation, research and development, human capital, and workforce development is good news. Question is "Are Malaysians up for the challenge?"

Anonymous said...

Damn right, we are damn good at coming out with documents filled with sweet words and sweet nothing.

Some targets will be achieved. However, to expect the nation to have two top universities in the world by the year 2020, forget about it. We will be damn lucky if our local universities don't sink below their current pathetic rut.

In 14 years time, we will still be as muddled as we are today over the language issue (e.g., to teach or not to teach in English) and race issue (i.e., Malay first).

We just cannot practise the basic tenet of being a top university, i.e., be truly open and allow talents, ideas, opinions, criticisms, and discussions to flourish.

Sensible and objective people in our local universities know where our universities are heading: down, down, down!

Anonymous said...

To be able to execute things right, one must have convictions and faith in the plan. The cabinet is filled with ministers with their own personal agendas with very little respect, corrupted, and almost no convictions for the prosperity of the nation except their own pocket. Even with billions of dollars spent it will be useless because the people handling the funds are those mediocre people.
Alright assumming they do something about the standard of the university my first question is and always will be, is the merit system going to be enforced? This is the fundamental question, of quality control in academia. Without this, kiss those plans goodbye. Means nothing but big word, which politicians are good at.
To be honest, I am still very skeptical about it because basically the people who are suppose to run these policies and plans are still the same old from the corrupted regime. Not much change in the cabinet remember? And of course this problem related to quality is always coupled with the problem of special rights and privelleges, they prefer not to be fair so that they can always maintain their privelleges. With this kind of mindset in the majority the plan has already been butchered before it even takes off.


Anonymous said...

People, relax laa~ Why so heated up with this MP? I dont see anything different compare to its predecessor, just paraphrasing and rebranding only.

We can have the best plan ever in history, but as long as the people who are suppose to propel it are not doing so, those plans are just pieces of rubbish. So, dont bother what those politicians say and get on with life, your own LIFE!

Anonymous said...

What a crap. "Raise the capacity of people by promoting Islam Hadhari as a comprehensive and universal development framework for the nation", someone please tell me how Islam Hadhari can really raise one's capacity. Please stop Islamize this and that, Mr. Abdullah. We have enough craps like these already.

Anonymous said...

Hurray, did you read the paper, the prime minister himself is puzzled why all the projects are already taken by the cronies. Talk about being oblivious.
Let the butchering of the 9MP begin.


Anonymous said...

2 top university in the world? I guess when you don't have to define the criteria, its plausible to self-proclaim based on fuzzy criteria.

The problem is our leaders and especially their followers have never faced the dynamic changes that are going on in the world before. They don't really understand how fast the world is changing and can change. The lack of urgency on implementing change just show this. If they understood, they would be able to convey to those resisting change that they don't have a choice. Because they can't it shows they don't understand it.

Anonymous said...

these politicians are really amazing! They can keep feeding craps to the masses and better still, the masses keep swallowing it..hehe

I often wonder with all the hype words used whether we really achieved anything or can achieve something at all.

Can someone enlighten me here, despite having the proton car which is made in malaysia...have we managed to build and design the car engine itself? Or do we as kereta malaysia still dependent for the engine from Japan?

Anonymous said...

This is a pretty interesting blog in the Star:

Our attitudes towards education in Malaysia -

I'm not sure if the teaching profession has ever been discussed, but it is definitely worth to take a look into this aspect as well. Teachers' salary, teachers' qualifications, teaching qualities and etc are essential factors in producing future generations of Malaysians who will bring the country closer to its vision.