We in the DAP are straightforward people and we don’t beat around the bush. When we say that the Barisan Nasional government had been dishonest in its statistics, we stand by it and are prepared to be proved wrong by the government.
For instance, the government had presented confusing, dishonest and selective statistics in the Third Outline Perspective Plan (OPP3) 2,001-2,010 and I welcome any challenge from any Barisan Nasional Minister to prove me wrong.
The OPP3 produced only one table on the bumiputra/non-bumiputra breakdown of enrolment in private institutions of higher learning (IPTS) in 1999. This is a most dishonest and selective presentation of statistics as the government failed to provide statistics in the OPP3 on the bumiputra/non-bumiputra breakdown of enrolment in public institutions of higher learning (IPTA) for the same year, so as to give a full and complete picture of the subject.
This is not the only omission in the OPP3. What is even more shocking is that the statistics on the IPTS enrolment in 1999 is not a true, complete or correct one, as it did not present the full enrolment and bumiputra/non-bumiputra breakdown on private tertiary education in the country.
The following data is given by Table 4-7 of OPP3 (p.107):
This is a most dishonest table, departing from all government practices in the past three decades, whether in the Three Outline Perspective Plans, Seven Five-Year Malaysia Plans or Seven Five-Year Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Reviews, where data on enrolment in tertiary education comprises three categories, namely those enrolled at the first degree, diploma and certificate levels.
Enrolment in Private Institutions of Higher Learning (IPTS), 1999
Education Bumiputra % Non -Bumiputra % Total %
Degree 6,345 20.5 24,595 79.5 30,940 100
Diploma 44,795 40.5 65,933 59.5 110,728 100
Total 51,140 36.1 90,528 63.9 141,668 100
Thus, Para 4.50 of the Eighth Malaysia Plan said “Enrolment at the tertiary level increased from 147,927 in 1995 to 321,729 in 2000” while Para 4.113 said “Total enrolment at the tertiary level in public institutions is expected to increase from 321,729 in 2,000 to 526,679 in 2005.”
These figures on tertiary education are derived from the following statistics
given in the Eighth Malaysia Plan (Table 4-5, p. 99):
Student Enrolment in Local Public Institutions, 1995-2005
Education 1995 2000 2005
Certificate 13,556 28,154 88,848
Diploma 46,480 92,304 148,025
Degree 87,891 201,271 289,806
Education 147,927 321,729 526,679
Why had the government omitted for the first time the tertiary education students at the certificate level in Table 4-7 of OPP3 on “Enrolment in Private Institutions of Higher Learning, 1999”?
However, both these omissions are inadvertently overcome
in the Second National Economic Consultative Council (NECC) Report or MAPEN2,
in the following two tables:
First degree, diploma and certificate enrolment in public institutions (IPTA) according to race 1999 (Jadual 2.27 - p.112)
Enrolment Bumiputra Non-Bumiputra Total
Degree 97,836 42,084 139,920
69.9% 30.1% 100%
Diploma 49,588 9,891 59,479
83.4% 16.6% 100%
Certificate 725 3,551 4,276
17.0% 83.0% 100%
Total 148,149 55,526 203,675
72.7% 27.3% 100%
Enrolment according to race in private institutions (IPTS) as at 31st December 1999 [Jadual 2.32(a) - p. 120]:
Enrolment Bumiputra Non-Bumiputra Total
Degree 6,017 24,920 30,937
19.4% 80.6% 100%
Diploma 44,815 65,914 110,729
40.5% 59.5% 100%
Certificate 30,211 27,736 57,947
52.1% 47.9% 100%
Total 81,043 118,570 199,613
40.6% 59.4% 100%
We can ignore the minor differences between the OPP3 and MAPEN2 for the statistics on IPTS enrolment for degree and diploma students, but the omission of the category of students at the certificate level for tertiary education is most dishonest and irresponsible.
Is the omission of the 30,211 bumiputra students or 52.1% of the 57,947 students in this category to give the wrong impression that bumiputra students constituted only 36.1 per cent when it should be 40.6%?
Furthermore, why were the IPTA enrolments and ethnic breakdowns omitted while the IPTS enrolments and ethnic breakdowns were given selectively?
Is this the reason why the Second NECC Report was not tabled in the Dewan Rakyat until virtually the last day of the two-month meeting, when MPs did not even have the time to go through the 800-page report?
May be Hon as the Deputy Education Minister or Tan Sri Musa Mohamad as the Education Minister would like to explain the reason for the juggling with educational statistics in the OPP3 and Eighth Malaysia Plan, and whether they would publicly apologise to Parliament for misleading MPs and the nation for presenting such dishonest and selective statistics, giving vindication to the statement that there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.
All this juggling with educational statistics is most unfortunate when it is clear that the education system had failed in the past ten years under the Second Outline Perspective Plan (OPP2) to deliver the high-quality manpower development which is a prerequisite if Malaysia is to stay ahead and maintain its competitive edge and thereby achieve the goal of becoming a fully developed nation by the year 2020.
For instance, the OPP2 presented in Parliament in June 1991 lamented the low level of scientific and technological (S&T) manpower in the country, with only about 7,000 full-time research scientists and technologists, giving a ratio of 400 per million population compared the ratios ranging from 3,500 per million to 6,500 per million found in industralized countries. The OPP2 declared by the year 2000, “Malaysia will aim to achieve a higher ratio of S&T personnel to around 1,000 per million in line with the target of doubling the current percentage of R&D to GNP” (Para 6.41).
What did the educational system achieve in the past 10 years to develop a strong S&T base to enhance the nation’s industrial competence and competitiveness?
The OPP3 continued to lament the low level of S&T manpower, as in 1998, the number of scientists and engineers per million population was 500, compared with the OPP2 target of 1,000 scientists and researches per one million population by 2000.
As a result, our competitive edge has suffered as illustrated by the recently-released 2001 World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) survey, with Malaysia slipping four places from 25th last year to the 29th spot.
In a way, Malaysia’s deteriorating rankings in the annual WCY in the
past five years can be taken as an international benchmark of the failure
of the education system to prepare Malaysia to face the
challenges of globalisation, liberalisation and information and communications
technology (ICT) and a report card on the Seventh Malaysia Plan, viz:
Malaysia’s ranking in the annual World Competiveness Yearbook1996 - 23
1997 - 17
1998 - 20
1999 - 27
2000 - 25
2001 - 29
The OPP3 is very liberal in quoting from previous World Competiveness Yearbook indicators, but when the 2001 WCY was released showing the serious four-place fall in Malaysia’s competitiveness, this news was blacked out in all the mainstream mass media for the past four weeks - another example of the dishonest and selective use of data by the Barisan Nasional government.
With this backdrop, it is most disheartening that Malaysia is not prepared for a revolutionary leap in our educational mindset to invest in Malaysian brainpower regardless of race as illustrated by the rejection of the best and brightest of each generation from our universities.
Although all eyes in the country were on the Cabinet meeting yesterday, hoping that it would send a clear message that it is attuned to the needs of the new K-economy, gives the highest priority to talents, creativity, skills, innovation and the development of a world-class university system by admitting the best and brightest of each generation, Malaysians are terribly disappointed that nothing has come out of yesterday’s meeting.
All the hopes of the people and country that the Cabinet yesterday will open wide the doors of public universities to the best and brightest in each generation have been dashed to the ground, as the announcement by the MCA Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Ong Ka Ting, after the Cabinet meeting that SPM students with 10As will be admitted to universities is no news, as this has already been announced two weeks ago.
The empty-handed Cabinet meeting yesterday is a shame. This is because after the Cabinet meeting last week, MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik was quoted over radio and television that the Cabinet had instructed the Education Ministry to offer places in public universities to all Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) high achievers.
It is clear that the Cabinet will be a major constraint to Malaysia’s success to become a knowledge-based economy, as Cabinet Ministers do not seem to understand that in all the advanced nations, knowledge is supplanting physical capital as the source of wealth and a nation’s prosperity in the new era will depend on the quality of its higher education.
Human capital in the United States is now estimated to be at least three times more important than physical capital but our Cabinet Ministers still belabour under the old mindset that physical capital is more important than knowledge, skills and resourcefulness of people.
The Cabinet should adopt a bold and fair four-point universities
admission policy beginning this year, not just for the sake of the students
but for the future prosperity of the nation, viz: