Archive for November 2010

short sighted and flip flops in Malaysian education

November 11, 2010

The government spends about 20-21% of their budget allocation for education purposes every year. Based on the United Nation human development report in 2009 Malaysia spend about 8.1% of GDP on education and ranked 10 in the world. US spend about 5.7% and the UK 5.3%. Malaysian spending is relatively high compared to other countries and we should be having no problem with skill and talents to transform from middle income to high income economy.  Yet many Investors and FDIs are reluctant to invest locally due to poor quality of education, non competitive and non-proactive workforce, policy inconsistency and bureaucratic red tape. In fact Malaysia is one of those high spenders in education. Despite all the spending, the quality of education and skilled and talented workforce are still elusive and the Malaysian education planners don’t seem to have a solution. What went wrong? Tremendous wastes of resources, when all the money spent do not yield the required results. The Malaysian government is turning the other way for an answer when the solution is right in front of them.   

The decline in education system started when our education policies and systems were meddled with racism, zealotry and politicized. The affirmative action plan initiated in 1970 to help the poor regardless of race had been hijacked by UMNO to convert Malays into their ardent supporters and be their loyal voters. The UMNO led government went on to replace loyal and well meaning civil servants with one race and one religious civil service. Dedicated and experienced civil servants, teachers, doctors and other professionals were not promoted and but their junior colleagues were promoted. In this way the government was deprived of capable and experienced staffs. Politicians failed to see that a multi racial country needs a multi racial civil service to cater for all the needs and requirement of the country and its people. These perverted mindset of ruling politicians brought about a civil service that could not make long term informed decisions. Besides, the religious leaders and politicians did not allow civil servants to mature and think independently. They were made to be grateful and obligated to the UMNO politicians. These process and policies brought about compliant and subservient bureaucrats.

The current education system is deprived of independent, critical and analytical thinking in English which is the international lingua franca. Government could have continued with English medium schools but they closed down and then released the importance and started teaching mathematics and science in English which is again to be closed after 8 years.  Such flip flops cause confusion and billions of ringgit down the drain. Even educated Malays are looking down on our education system.

70000 Malays students in Chinese schools, higher Malay migration to western countries, more Malay parents in private national and international schools and foreign countries are testimonies of education system that served nobody except the UMNO politicians. All measures to attract talents are pointing at the wrong direction. No talents are attracted by our education policies. Poor Non Malay students with good grades can be awarded scholarships and university placements for courses that attract them. Malaysian talents are everywhere in Malaysia just that the UMNOPUTRAS can’t see it. Malaysian talents are helping other nations grow and prosper. Let’s be Malaysian first and last so that our home grown talents will lead our country grow leaps and bound.

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Misleading advertisement of FINAS

November 8, 2010

The TV advertisement of 1Malaysia promotion by FINAS in RTM/TV3/ASTRO during Deepavali celebration this year is inundated with encouraging religious conversion of Hindus to Islam. It shows how a Hindu youth married to Muslim girl can still celebrate Deepavali with his parents. The boy’s family initially hostile to his Muslim conversion but accept him after the birth of his children. Anyone marries to Muslim in Malaysia must convert to Islam and this fact is hidden in this advertisement. This deliberately hiding of facts is mischievous and misleading the Hindu viewers. It’s leading the viewers into the belief that religious conversion may be hostile in the beginning but will be accepted upon the birth of children into the family. FINAS is silently misleading Hindu youths into religious conversion as part of 1Malaysia campaign.

The girl who is married to this convert refuses to eat food cooked by Hindu family until she is assured that the food is cooked by another Muslim. This episode only depicts that the Hindus are inferior to Muslims that they can’t eat food cooked by Hindus, not halal I suppose. If that is the case what is the motive to show such an insulting and belittling advertisement during Deepavali which is a Hindu festival. This only shows the apparent intolerance of the authorities in reluctantly accepting the religious and cultural indifferences.    

The apparent pleasantries on the surface of the advertisement ignore the fact that converts over time will be subjected to directives from JAIS, MAIS and other religious bodies. Converts will be discouraged and pulled away from celebrating Deepavali but these underlying consequences are conveniently covered up. A Hindu convert is welcomed by FINAS but if a Muslim converts to other religion than it is apostasy. Why the double standard? The advertisement reveals the hidden agenda of BN government in dealing with culture and religious feelings and sensitivities of Indians and others. 1Malaysia seems to be not accepting the diversities of difference ethnics in Malaysia but subtly converting others into Muslim religion. Such hidden parochial agenda doesn’t augur well for the well being and future of minorities and their children. This episode also proves that the minorities in Malaysia are under fear that their legitimate rights to practice their religious festival might be under threat. The guarantees of religious freedom are under threat by the proponents of religious hardliners. This advertisement trail goes against the spirit of article 295-298A.

Articles 295-298A of the Malaysian Penal Code provides penalties for those who commit offenses against religion. The penalties range from up to three years in prison or a fine of up to US$1,000 (approximately). Prosecutions for blasphemy usually target those who offend Islam, but an insult to any religion can give rise to prosecution. Clearly FINAS and the film producer have violated the article 295-298A. Action must be taken against FINAS and the advertisement producer.