#kerajaangagal8 – Malaysia’s failure to be a “wonder nation” as proclaimed by Muhyiddin in 2012

When Muhyiddin Yassin was the Education Minister at the beginning of the last decade, he launched the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 in September 2012 for Malaysia to become a “wonder nation” and make the quantum jump from the bottom third to top third of 2021 PISA (Programme for International Assessment) tests of OECD.

But this had been a dismal failure, for instead of leaping into the top third of the PISA tests, Malaysia’s 2018 PISA results had been worse than the 2015 PISA results in all the three subjects of maths, science and reading and we are still far from the top third among the 80 PISA participating countries.

The four sets of PISA results for Malaysia since 2009 are as follows:

PISA Score (Rank)

2009 2012 2015 2018
Maths 404 (57) 421 (52) 446 (45) 440 (47)
Science 422 (52) 420 (53) 443 (47) 438 (48)
Reading 414 (55) 398 (59) 431 (50) 415 (56)

Where will Malaysia be in the fifth 2021 PISA tests?

Another dismal failure of the Education Blueprint 2013-2025 was its strategic goal of recruiting from the top 30% cohort into the teaching profession.

According to the Ministry of Education’s statistics at the time, top academic performers comprised only 1% of applicants into the Bachelor of Education program in 2009 and this was only increased to 9% of total applicants in 2011. What is the position today?

A decade later, we have slipped further in human capital development to the extent that multinational companies (MNCs) are less keen to employ local engineers who had graduated from local public universities, preferring graduates from Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and even Indonesia.

They say local graduate engineers fall below their requirement, viz:

  1. they cannot perform their tasks well;
  2. they will need more training on the job (which will cost time and money);
  3. its more a nuisance to hire them, especially when engineers from nearby ASEAN countries can perform better.

We have also slipped in the world competitiveness ranking from No. 22 in 2019 to No. 27 in 2020. Our ranking in the 2021 world competitiveness report is likely to be even worse!

Since 1970, the GDP of Malaysia has increased 90 times but Indonesia has increased by 117 times, Vietnam 122 times, China 163 times, Singapore 175 times and South Korea 178 times.

After the past 50 years, both Singapore and Vietnam have overtaken Malaysia in having larger GDPs.

Now, the education system has been reduced to a level where a teenager, Ain Husniza Saiful Naizam, 17, alleged that a male teacher made jokes about rape during class.

Ain said the inappropriate remarks were made while students were discussing sexual harassment during a physical and health education class at her school in the Kuala Selangor district last Friday.

Malaysiakini recently reported about the deplorable period spot checks at schools, the practice includes forcing girls to show their used sanitary pads, perform vaginal swabs with either cotton buds, tissues and even fingers or having a teacher, warden, or school prefect pat them at the groin to feel if they are wearing a sanitary pad.

Is this the “wonder nation” that Muhyiddin talked about in 2012?

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri