Let all the 33 Cabinet Ministers reveal whether their children and grandchildren had been educated under the national education system or whether they are products of private and international schools, at home or abroad
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir has warned that the social-economic disparity in Malaysia will grow bigger with rich parents sending their children to study English in international schools and abroad while the poor are left behind in national and vernacular schools here.
The former Prime Minister was not revealing any secret when he said that Ministers send their children to private schools and international schools which use largely English as the teaching medium, whether at home or abroad, as this phenomenon started not now but during his 22-year premiership from 1981-2003.
Surely Mahathir was not unaware that his own Ministers were sending their children to private and international schools, whether locally or abroad, demonstrating their lack of confidence in the national education policy and system?
Although the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had boasted that Malaysian youngsters are receiving better education than children in the United States, Britain and Germany, even UMNO leaders and delegates do not believe him – which is why he would not dare to ask the Umno General Assembly to endorse his claim as he would be in for a shocker!
It is true is that the problem of lack of confidence in the BN national education system and policy is now even more serious than in the past, and undoubtedly, there are more UMNO/BN Ministers and leaders who are sending their children to private and international schools, locally or abroad, at present than during Mahathir’s time.
Let all the 33 Cabinet Ministers reveal whether their children and grandchildren had been educated under the national education system or whether they are products of private and international schools, at home or abroad.
Education is one important reason for the crisis of confidence in the Umno/BN government and leadership and why the majority of the national electorate had voted against UMNO/BN in the 13th General Elections resulting in the formation of a minority government and Prime Minister for the first time in Malaysian history.
Recently, former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah lamented that Malaysia isn’t getting what it paid for despite pouring billions into the country’s education system.
He said Malaysia spent double than other Asean countries on education in terms of ratio to gross domestic product, more than Japan and South Korea in 2011, but “the heavy spending on education in terms of gross domestic product ratio is not worth it, or at least it does not give the desired return in terms of quality and increased productivity”.
Malaysia may have achieved the notoriety of having spent most on education in terms of ratio to gross domestic product but yet having the least confidence in the national education system among the country’s government and political leadership, including Ministers and Deputy Ministers, whose children opt out of the national education system.
These are the real issues which the UMNO General Assembly should focus on, why Malaysia is stuck in the bottom third of the countries surveyed in international assessments and not making any significant moves towards the upper tier of the top one-third of the countries; why 15-year-olds in Shanghai, Singapore and South Korea are performing in international assessments as though they had four or even five more years of schooling than 15-years-olds in Malaysia in mathematics, science and reading, instead of resorting to the histrionics and hysterics of racist politics as calling for the closure of Chinese primary schools.