Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 12th January 2009: 

Hishammudin's most flippant and irresponsible response to Malaysia's disastrous performance in 60-nation maths and science TIMSS 2007  

I am not the only one to be astounded by the flippant and irresponsible response of the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to my statement asking him to break his month-long silence and explain Malaysia’s disastrous showing in the 60-nation Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 for Year-8 secondary students.

Malaysia’s TIMSS 2007 performance was most dismal in the three four-yearly TIMSS participated by our students since 1999, with the lowest score for both mathematics and science, with 474 points for mathematics and 471 for science (500 is the TIMSS scale average), when Malaysia scored mostly above average in the previous TIMSS.

Malaysia’s comparative performance in the 1999, 2003 and 2007 TIMSS are:

Mathematics 1999 2003 2007

Ranking             16     10     20

Score               519    508   474

Science 1999 2003 2007

Ranking    22    20     21

Score      492   510   471

Since the international release of the TIMSS 2007 on December 9, 2008, there had been intense public debate involving the educational authorities, educational NGOs and concerned parents in all the participating countries on the results of TIMSS 2007 and their impact on their respective education policy and in particular how to improve the teaching and learning in mathematics and science for their pupils – except for Malaysia.

If Hishammuddin could announce Malaysia’s TIMSS 2003 performance within 24 hours of the international release of the results in December 2004, why is the reason for Hishammuddin thunderous silence for over a month about the TIMSS 2007 results?

Is this just because Malaysia had plunged from No. 10th placing for maths and 20th placing for science in TIMSS 2003 to 20th placing for maths and 21st placing for science inTIMSS 2007?

There can be no justification for keeping the Malaysian public in the dark about the findings of Malaysia’s performance in TIMSS 2007 and I had asked Hishammuddin to explain the reason for this month-long “conspiracy of silence”.

All Hishammuddin could say was his tongue-in-cheek response that I was just creating the issue for the Kuala Terengganu by-election.
This is the height of irresponsibility and arrogance.

Is Hishammuddin delaying a full ministerial accounting for Malaysia’s disastrous showing in the TIMSS 2007 for another three months, expecting a Cabinet reshuffle after the ascension of Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Prime Minister and his moving up the Cabinet ladder – which will leave the responsibility for explaining Malaysia’s dismal results in TIMSS 2007 to the new Education Minister?

This is too transparent a ploy and a most unworthy one!

Hishammuddin should stop evading and avoiding the issue. Stand up like a responsible Education Minister and answer the many questions about Malaysia’s disastrous performance in TIMSS 2007 and the month-long “conspiracy of silence”!

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor