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Mahathir’s policies, Malaysia’s loss

Posted: 11 Oct 2013 09:51 AM PDT 

No one should be fooled by Mahathir's latest call for ministers to resign. He is not concerned about the quality of Umno-Baru ministers, he is only weeding out the candidates who stand in the way of Mukhriz.

Mariam Mokhtar, FMT

The haughty Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's longest serving prime minister, will never express regret. Mahathir made a mess of Malaysia and now he acts the innocent. He played on the insecurities of the Malays to build his empire – political and financial – within a warped framework of "unity".

Whatever has gone wrong with Malaysia, the solution is not more Mahathirism. Look where it got us and look at what this nation will become if Mahathir succeeds in pushing his son, Mukhriz into pole position.

The closest Mahathir came to admit that his policies had failed Malaysians, was on Sept 12, at the 30th anniversary luncheon of the Japanese Chambers of Trade and Industry Malaysia (Jactim). He said that the use of English, especially in science and mathematics, would help improve the standing of Malaysian public universities on the world stage.

When asked for his views about the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025, his curt reply indicated his displeasure at the omission of English in schools.

"Melayu mudah lupa", for it was Mahathir in his role as the Minister of Education in the 70s, who effectively wiped English off the slate, in schools. Mahathir dismantled a century of British effort to provide education, and demolished the work of two centuries of dedicated mission school pioneers.

On Oct 7, Mahathir again expressed his concern at the lack of proficiency in English displayed by students, when he complained about the quality of graduates, who presented themselves for job interviews. In one case, he claimed that only seven out of the 333 potential job applicants in information technology, were suitable. The unsuccessful graduates did not know English and had asked for the interview to be conducted in Malay.

"Melayu mudah lupa" and it is disingenuous of Mahathir to feign ignorance, because he tinkered with the education system, as Minister for Education and later, as prime minister. Malaysian parents from the 70s onwards, have been on a roller-coaster ride with their children's education, which flopped between English and Malay, several times.

The 70s saw a decline of English medium schools. A decade later, it was the turn of the higher institutions of learning to suffer. Non-Malay lecturers saw their services, and their publications, being sidelined. Simultaneously, the civil service, the armed forces and the judiciary, absorbed many Malays and promoted them, in preference to the other races.

Today, Malaysia reaps what Mahathir has sown. With the emphasis on Malay, Malays are reluctant to speak English with some claiming that it is unpatriotic to speak anything but Malay. The irony is that these Malays complain about the difficulty of getting jobs in the private sector, or with multinational companies.

A child in a MARA residential college told this writer that if he were to speak English, to practise the language, he would be teased and bullied for showing off and wanting to be "Mat Salleh". When overseas, a majority of the Malay students, diplomatic staff and government officials speak halting English. Many have difficulty making themselves understood.

Mahathir kept Malays frightened and demoralised

In Mahathir's 'Look east' campaign, he claimed to like the Japanese work culture but ignored the Chinese work ethic. Why? If he had promoted the use of Mandarin alongside Malay, all Malaysian school children would have greater exposure to business and educational opportunities in the east, especially as the People's Republic of China (PRC) is now a super power.

Mahathir did not care about the consequences of politicising education, despite the reservations of parents, pupils, teachers and schools. All he cared about was to be declared the "saviour of the Malays". The man who claimed to have a vision for Malaysia, displayed a naïve, parochial view of the world.

Although more Malays enter higher education, their degrees are dumbed-down, because the pass marks are lowered for them. Despite the introduction of quotas, élite Malays abuse the system and deny their poorer countrymen the opportunities which were meant for them. Five decades ago, the Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka invited engineers and scientists to expand the Malay language, with suitable scientific terms.

Today, we see a bastardisation of the Malay language, not just in science and technology, with suffixes like "ogi" or "asi" being appended to many English words, in a lazy manner.

Mahathir's politicisation of the education system with its lack of meritocracy, has crippled at least two generations of Malaysians. The brightest students whom we rejected, became Singapore's gain.



If Najib is really serious…

Posted: 11 Oct 2013 09:46 AM PDT 

In the end, 1Malaysia is nothing but a Utopian concept and like Utopia, it does not exist.

This means that if PM Najib is really serious in wanting to leave behind a legacy of a united Malaysia, he has to start by censuring those in his own camp who derail his 1Malaysia slogan and he must remember to implement policies that are fair, just and inclusive to all.

Selena Tay

Racism and stupidity should be booted out of the Malaysian political scenario besides corruption and cronyism. Post GE13, we have been hearing statements such as 'If you don't like it here, you can leave' and also threats of shutting down a certain Chinese newspaper.

This has gone on for far too long.

Here we have Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak trying to build up the image of Malaysia as a fair, just and moderate nation but his very own ministers are trying to derail his plans.

PM Najib should immediately censure them for issuing statements that jeopardise racial harmony and destroy the very fabric of the nation. Enough is enough. He must act tough with his own people who are working hard to portray the nation as a Third World Nation when we the citizens are trying hard to shed that image.

Although the threat of shutting down a particular Chinese newspaper will not be carried out, this threat coming from a senior minister nonetheless shows the type of mentality that the minister has.

Stereotyping criminals as belonging to a certain race is also a big blunder. How would this minister like it if one were to say, "Such and such a group of people are always the gullible voters?".

Clearly the time has come for Najib to give a tongue-lashing to those in his cabinet who are hellbent on derailing his 1Malaysia concept. Or is this concept just a ploy to woo the non-Malay voters?

The BN government will definitely not be regarded in high esteem if the BN ministers continue to issue racist statements or harebrained statements that are illogical or factually incorrect or just plain stupid.

These days, citizens are smarter and will certainly evaluate whether the government is talking sense or nonsense instead of simply accepting the government's words at face-value or as absolute truth.

Take for instance the explanation that some police guns have fallen into the sea. This is rubbish. There is no way such a thing could have happened unless the policemen went swimming in full uniform.

At the end of the day, the government will lose credibility in the eyes of its citizens if blunders like these are part and parcel of the administration.

Reconciliation process

Racist statements, the threat of clamping down on factual reporting, wastage and leakage in administration and management, corruption and cronyism are bad enough but if there is any attempt to sideline the Chinese for voting the opposition during GE13, then this takes the cake as the most terrible mistake in government policy.

Hopefully this will not happen as it is a detrimental move towards the efforts of nation-building.

It must be said that the Chinese Premier, Xi Jinping has high regard for Malaysia and one of the reasons is that the Chinese diaspora here have contributed a lot to Malaysia's progress.

(The Chinese government have voiced out that they do take a keen interest in the contributions of the Chinese worldwide and they do encourage the Chinese diaspora to be good citizens.)

Therefore it is time for PM Najib to launch or put into effect his National Reconciliation Plan. 




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