Urgently Separate Politics From School Institutions before it is too late
Dr Tan Ai Mei
CSO Education Cluster
Despite the country having one of the best National Education Philosophy and a very well
developed Education Blueprint (MEB), the root problem lies in the fact that politically
appointed leaders just do not have insight and professional competencies to carry out
This accounts for the repetitive changes in education policy that follow each Education
Minister change, including changes such as appointments in the KSU and fast track
promotion of education officers and leaders from the same ruling party. The vast abuse of
power and trust underpinned by political patronage has hampered the education system
The announcement in Sept 2001 that Malaysia was already an Islamic state by Dr
Mahatihir, is the culmination of a quiet process of islamisation of the system which had
started in the 1980s. The revamping of the History curriculum thereafter, including the
emphasis on Islamic values in learning institutions and turning Islamic Teachings as a
subject in schools, also contributes to turning Malaysia into a compliant society. It does
not facilitate critical thinking, nor embrace diversity and respect for other cultures. The
resultant conformist culture opens the door to use for political mileage and control
Nilai dan Kepercayaan:
Education in Malaysia should be led by people with education insight, integrity and
1. The Education Minister post should be held by non-politicians and his leadership and
decision making subject to scrutiny of an OVERSIGHT COMMISSION.
2. An Oversight Committee must be established to provide checks and balances, on the
power held by the Education Minister such as discarding an existing policy should only be for replacement by better designed ones, instead of for pleasing the interest of the rent seekers for further political mileage. The abandonment of the well-regarded Malaysia Education Blueprint, and the appointment, to the position of Head of PTPTN, of a politician who has channelled Government’s loan money as ‘zakat donations’ to state religious body, are good illustrations of politicians seeking their own political mileage.
3. Appointments are to be based on merit, professionalism and integrity. This is to curb political patronage in the appointment of principals as well as in promotions extended to the Heads of JPN, PPD and agencies housed under the MOE.
4. Monies for school buildings, maintenance, repair and procurement should channell directly to school account instead of awarding contracts to contractors in JKR. This is to halt lack of transparency issues connected to rent seeking.
5. As in the appointment of school principals, quotas by ethnicity and by religious belief should not be observed. This is seen essential to address the issues of appointment of inadequate principals faced by the missionary and Chinese conforming schools.
6. To address principals who are not performing, the interview panel should go to the school level, to engage with the true fact finding of the person under consideration.
Isu dan Polisi Semasa:
Nilai-nilai dan Kepercayaan: