Wednesday, November 19, 2014

MALAYSIAN EDUCATION

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on November 17, 2014

1. When we became independent in 1957 we had a clear idea about education in Malaysia. We wanted every Malaysian child to go to national schools where the medium of teaching would be the National Language based on the Malay language, the language of indigenous people. They would know and be close to each other, get used to their different cultures and be distinctly Malaysian.

2. For a time the “English Schools” were to be allowed to go on. The students at these schools were from all the ethnic groups in Malaysia.

3. When Minister Aziz Ishak as acting Education Minister decided that all schools must be converted to national schools with the national language as the teaching medium, the Chinese raised a big row. Cabinet then decided that the vernacular language schools would be allowed. They were re-designated “Jenis Kebangsaan” or National Type. The national type primary vernacular schools would receive Government aid but the national type secondary schools were not to be supported by Government. The decision was political. Nothing in the Constitution provided for this. Then another Education Minister in 1971 decided to abolish Government secondary schools which teach in English.

4. The net result was an exodus of Chinese students to private Chinese Secondary schools.

5. With this the children of different races lost all opportunities to grow up together; the Malays to national schools, the Chinese to Chinese primary and secondary schools and the Indians to Tamil primary schools. There were no Tamil secondary schools. So most Indians studied in National Secondary Schools.

6. International schools using English were however allowed to exist. Then local private schools using largely English as the medium were set up.

7. The Malaysian children were not supposed to go to these private schools. In any case the fees charged by private schools as usual were high.

8. Then the ministers’ children, against national policy started going to private schools and international schools which use largely English as the teaching medium. The ministers also send their children to public (actually private) school in the UK. So followed the children of the rich.

9. The result is that the rich go to private schools in Malaysia and U.K while the poor go to national schools at home.

10. Apart from racial separation because of the ethnic language based schools, we now see a separation of the rich children and the poor children. The rich now speak in English and the poor in Malay, Chinese or Tamil. Jobs favour the English speakers.

11. Strangely the language nationalists have not protested as they protest the use of English for Science and Mathematics. Incidentally the Malay language nationalists also help promote the use of the Chinese language in Chinese schools and in business. Even Malay parents like their children to go to Chinese schools. And in Sarawak the natives prefer Chinese schools.

12. All these will result in the separation of the races and the separation of rich high-class English speaking people from the poor less privileged national language speaking people. There will also be a loss of the knowledge of modern science and higher mathematics among national school students.

13. I must confess that although my children all went to national schools, my grandchildren all go to private schools in the country and abroad. They do speak the national language but their kind of schooling widens the gap between races as well as between the rich and the poor.

14. It seems that poor parents must accept poor education for their children so politicians can be popular.

Friday, November 14, 2014

BR1M

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on November 13, 2014

1. Let me begin by admitting that I am not a trained economist or financier. Still I don’t think it is fair for anyone to say I do not understand BR1M and the good things about it. I have in the past made some decisions on economic and financial matters which seem to have given good results for the country.

2. I have been opposed to giving monetary handouts as a way to increase the income of people right from the beginning. If at all financial aid should be given to the very poor who are unable to work to earn an income. My primary objection is because handouts on such a scale look too much like bribery. And when this is given near elections or the manifesto promises this, the impression that it is about buying votes just cannot be dismissed. If incomes are to be increase it should be by way of creating opportunities for work or business.

3. But BR1M has more negative implications than that. It increases the tendency towards personal dependence on the Government even for one’s income, without any effort by oneself. It weakens the character of people and reduce their competitiveness in the market place.

4. We want high incomes. But high income should come from increases in productivity. High productivity results from better education and training. A manual labourer cannot be more productive than a mechanic or a craftsman. And they in turn cannot be as productive as an engineer. The ability to increase productivity comes from greater added value to the products.

5. It follows that when we promote industries with greater added value, than the incomes of employees would increase due to greater contribution of the employees. We should note that in countries with big Government revenues from the foreign exploitation of resources, and people are given a part of the revenue to sustain a good lifestyle, there is a lack of desire to work.

6. Giving money does not increase productivity. Without increasing productivity, competitiveness will not improve. And the economy will not really grow. These countries invariably depend on foreign workers, executives and entrepreneurs.

7. When Malaysia adopted a policy of encouraging labour intensive industries, it was because at that time the people were jobless and had no income. After that to increase their incomes we switched to hi-tech, knowledge-based industries and our people are educated and trained for these more sophisticated higher income industries.

8. We can increase their wages further by adopting new technologies and management systems. Our workers should now be involved in designing new products, producing prototypes, testing and mass-producing. Marketing and sales of these more sophisticated products will also increase incomes.

9. We want to be a developed nation by 2020. We think that this can be done by increasing average incomes to a certain level. This is misleading. A few people with very high incomes will distort the average income. Per capita income should not be a measure of our achievement of developed country status. The emphasis on high income alone is not enough. In fact by itself it will not make the country a developed country. It would be even more misleading when the income is due to handouts by the Government.

10. To be developed we have to be at par with these developed countries in terms of education, technological and industrial knowhow, research and development, industrialised to a high level, commensurate infrastructure and high earned incomes for all.

11. It is imperative therefore to spend money on education and training to a higher level, to build up engineering and industrial capacities, to be productive and competitive, to expend money on building first-class infrastructure and to be researchers, inventors and developers.

12. Since we want to be developed in our own mould, we can reject the moral values of some developed countries. We see them obviously decaying because of the emphasis on unlimited materialism and personal freedom. We must sustain the good values that we have and acquire good ethnics which will contribute to our productivity and our income. In other words we must earn our income through higher productivity and not through handouts by the Government. The Socialist and Communists have tried to improve their people’s incomes through giving them money and making free availability of support facilities to ensure they have a good life. But Socialism and Communism have failed. They have to resort to free enterprise and hard work.

13. Finally we must not forget that Government money is derived through taxes on the people. Taxes raise the cost of living. Still the people are willing to endure raised cost of living because they expect the Government to give them security, to govern the country well, to have policies which benefit the people generally.

14. But the people would not like to see the taxes they pay to be expended in ways that are beyond this. Certainly they would not want their hard-earned money to be expended on winning popularity for anyone or political parties or administrations.

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