tomorrow should be informed of the outcome of the Mahathir education review
committee established by UMNO Supreme Council on November 29
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): On November 29 last year, the UMNO Supreme Council set up the highest-powered education review committee in the nation’s 46-year history as it is the first education review to be headed by a serving Prime Minister and comprises all the important and top UMNO leaders and Ministers.
This national education review, which was never referred to the Cabinet, is one of the most important last decisions to be taken by Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in his final days before he relinquishes office as the fourth 22-year Prime Minister of Malaysia on Friday.
It is a matter of grave concern that the Mahathir review of the education system had been conducted not only in total secrecy but to the exclusion of the other Barisan Nasional component parties, as MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP Ministers and leaders have been completely kept out of the process, which is why none of them dare to say anything about the education review and the future of education of Malaysia, as they know nothing.
In December last year, the Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad said the government did not discount the possibility that vernacular schools would be affected by UMNO’s review of the education system, and UMNO leaders like Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak openly criticised the national education system as having failed to create national unity “or at most had a most superficial effect” and spoke of the need to “construct a new framework to promote the integration of the students of diverse races”.
The formation of the highest-powered education review committee by the UMNO Supreme Council was followed by a chorus of calls by UMNO leaders and establishment educationists including former top Education Ministry officials for a single stream school system for all student in Malaysia as the answer to the problem of racial polarization in the country.
Tan Sri Murad Mohamed Noor, who was Education Director-General 1976-1985, was one of them, who said last December that the problem of racial polarization cannot be resolved so long as Chinese and Tamil primary schools were allowed to exist together with national primary schools.
To facilitate the work of the Mahathir education review committee, Murad was assigned the task of heading a group to make recommendations as to how to restructure the national school system and propose a new education system.
Murad told The Star in August that the education system will undergo significant changes “with far reaching effects” under recommendations his group had forwarded to Mahathir.
Up to now however, nothing has been heard about the Murad recommendations or the outcome of the Mahathir education review committee to revamp the national education system.
Mahathir will be making his last policy speech to Parliament tomorrow when presenting the Eighth Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review, and this is the occasion for the nation to be informed of the outcome of the Mahathir education review committee established by UMNO Supreme Council on November 29.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman