Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Hishammuddin Makes A Point

Our often maligned Minister of Education, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein makes a point this new year, staging a well-planned media strategy to hype up the upcoming announcement on the new blueprint for Malaysia's education system next week.

He says that the "presence of different types of schools is a unique feature of the country, which gives it a comparative advantage."
In making this point in an exclusive interview with Nanyang Siang Pau, he said the Government would continue to preserve and protect this aspect of the education system through the National Education Blueprint.

“People should not regard the various types of schools in the country as a hurdle to be cleared. After all, this is not a zero-sum game because multiculturalism is an added advantage and a strength for the country.”

Hishammuddin also noted that the existing situation in the country reflected the freedom allowed for the development of vernacular schools as well as other types of schools.
Like what he stated a couple of days before that, and blogged by Kian Ming, that's excellent to hear.

Then the problem I have with the current Government is that, they have made practically no provisions in the 9th Malaysia Plan to "preserve", "protect" or even promote multiculturism in our education system, which has been rightly described as "an added advantage and a strength for the country."

As highlighted in an earlier post, there has been no provisions for any new Chinese or Tamil vernacular primary schools in this country, despite its obvious demands and needs of the various communities (see statistics here). Despite the vociferous protest from all parties, all the Government relented to was the set up of a new Vision school, as well as relocating an existing primary school (which was promised in the 1999 elections). And the time frame in which this will be done is still absolutely unclear.

This is not the first time our Minister of Education has spoken "rationally". I've heard him say exactly the same rational thoughts to an Oxbridge forum almost exactly a year ago. Unfortunately, because the interview was given to a Chinese vernacular press, was the message tailored accordingly to be pleasing to the ear? I for one, hope sincerely that he walks the talk and I wait (with unabated breath, no less) to be pleasantly surprised.

I'll plough through the "new" blueprint once I get my hand on it. Not sure if any comments raised will be futile though - for I did the same with the Zahid Higher Education Report, and it got ditch practically within 6 months after its release!


Anonymous said...

Politician being politicians, they will say what you want to hear. That's their job. I wouldn't hold my breath for the blueprint either. It's all talk and either no action or very slow action. Even if they do act on what they say, implementation fails most of the time. It's their underlings who have to execute their bosses' plan. Politicians don't hang around to see through the nitty gritty stuff. Politicians move on to other hot topics that will gather them votes. Looking at pass history, millions will be spent and nothing to show at the end.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone care to read and source for what he said in another newspapers, particularly those read by non-Chinese? I am not trying to smoke up something, but experience reminded me of the two-face factor in our politicians. They may say one thing to a one side, and another to the other.

As mentioned by Tony, "...they have made practically no provisions in the 9th Malaysia Plan to "preserve", "protect" or even promote multiculturism in our education system..." which clearly shown that this is just another wayang kulit show by those people. Never believe anything they said that easily.

After 50 years, this is who we are as Malaysians today, no trust, no honour.

Anonymous said...

There was the interview in the New Straits Times last week - and he came across as thoughtful and professional on the subject of education.

It sounds hopeful if taken at face value - but the image of the Kris-wielding guy comes back every time to negate whatever positive image he's trying to project.

You could argue he's speaking here as Education Minister and the UMNO GA was about being Umno youth leader. But it doesn't work like that any more. The days when politicians could make all the right noises to one audience and show a totally different face to a different audience are over. The electronic media, especially the Internet, is too interlinked now to allow that.
He'll have to make up his mind whether he's Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde.
And that's also why all this sensible talk will remain just that - education in Malaysia is a political football. The kris-wielding crowd almost always thriumphs in the end.

Anonymous said...

Historical reminder: The kris-wielding crowd turned chicken and vamoosed when the samurai-wielding crowd came to Malaya in 1941.

The present rotten state of the education system can no longer be reviewed or salvaged; it has to be totally trashed. A completely new system starting from Year One onwards has to start from scratch in its place.

Anonymous said...

i got a feeling that Hishammuddin will be destined for greater things after last year, after gaining so much prominence waving the keris at the UMNO meeting and then making-up with MCA. perhaps he won't be education minister after the next election, and therefore his blueprint may only be good for 2-3 more years, until the new minister comes up with yet another blueprint.

Anonymous said...

This could be his damage control efforts in order to put out the fire.

Remember, he is only speaking to Nanyang, a Chinese newspaper, does he dare to say that in Utusan or BH?

i doubt it, very much!

Anonymous said...

One of the thing you have to hand it to UMNO politician is their ability to do doublespeak. Hissamuddin seems to understand that a uniform school system is just bad - people are diverse by nature and different people need to be trained differently - mass education is economical but can be quickly limiting. On the other hand he clearly don't even try to support this concept especially with regard to vernacular school.

A while back there was a proposal being thrown at MCA to have the richest Chinese tycoons like Lim Goh Tong and YTL to donate a significant sum of the fortune to built Chinese schools so long as the government allocate the land but somehow it never took off..

Anonymous said...

Hishamuddin is a man as uncertain as they come who knows only how to play to the gallery for his survival.

For his survival, he will go to the extent of even appointing a special advisor for god knows what purpose. Traditionally a Minister of Education is advised by the Director General of Education who would have gone through the various areas of educational administration. All other Minsiters of Education has made do with this.

But no, Hishamuddin must appoint one retired Director of a Research Division to be his special advisor,at a salary far higher than his last drawn pay who has been at this for the last 3 years. It must be some valuable advice the retiree is giving because he has been extended after offical retirement age at least three times in his Directorship and three times as a special Advisor.

Hishamuddin is creating a culture of usurpation of powers. The retiree has usurped the role of the current Director General of Education as advisor to the minister.

On top of that, the so called retiree still maintains an office in his previous Division thus even usurping the current Director of that Research Division.

Clearly, this is abuse again. If a blueprint is required, all should have a say. But only govt officers are to draw up the country's edu blueprint without any consultation form the masses. On top of that all officers who helped in the Blueprint also had a free trip to Istanbul.

There is trouble in the Education Ministry with Major emphasis on frivolous things. If the Minister himself choose a sick retiree with no viable track record having perfected only the art of bodeking, and paying to listen to his advice on the state of Education, then you see , the much maligned Minster deserves every bit of what he gets.