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Tan KW
Publish date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013, 09:09 PM
Tan KW

An Open Letter From Koon Yew Yin
Dec 20, 2012

As election day comes closer, we will be asked for reasons as to why we should want to change the BN.
When the question is put to me, I tell people that there is no need to enumerate three, four or five reasons.
One simple reason alone is sufficient for Malaysians to elect a new government.

The reason is that the BN has ruined our educational system and put us back at least one generation in our educational standards and standing.

When the country became independent in 1957 our educational system was acknowledged to be amongst the best in the region - and our standard of English education was second to none then.

Today, post May 13 1969, after the introduction of NEP policies in education, we are scraping the bottom of an empty barrel in our standards of educational achievement at all levels. BN's record Whether it is in primary, secondary or tertiary education, the rot and decay is clear. Half literate primary school dropouts that cannot write or speak properly in either English or Bahasa; secondary students with abysmal standards in Mathematics, Science and other core subjects; tertiary students who are provided with glossy university degrees but in fact are unemployable except in the civil service.
This is the disastrous outcome of UMNO BN rule. This is the result of the politicisation of the educational system and UMNO's cynical use of our education system as a political and racial football.

Whether it is with regard to mission schools or vernacular schools or SRJK schools; teaching of science and mathematics; teaching of English; or worst, the creeping Islamisation of our schools; appointment of administrators and heads of schools; the curriculum; examinations; vocational education; funding and allocations - UMNO has inserted its racial and political agenda to debase and corrupt the system. Even issues of race and religion can get mixed up in the food and drinks served in the school canteens. If readers think that I am overly critical of the BN, let me provide two pieces of evidence on the disaster in our education. The first is from the government itself. According to the national education blueprint (Preliminary report, Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, pp, E4-E5), Malaysia was ranked in the bottom third of 74 participating countries of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009+.

60% of the 15-year-old Malaysian students who participated in Pisa failed to meet the minimum proficiency level in Mathematics, while 44% and 43% did not meet the minimum proficiency levels in Reading and Science respectively.

A comparison of scores shows that 15-year-olds in Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Shanghai are performing as though they have had three or more years of schooling than 15-year-olds in Malaysia.

Low achievement standards in TIMSS (Maths and Science): far behind first tier; now comparable to countries such as Indonesia.

By 2007 (last published cycle) 18% and 20% of our students failed to meet the minimum proficiency standards in Maths and Science.

The conclusion of the blueprint is shocking. Not only are the gaps between Malaysia and other countries in our region growing, international assessments also revealed that Malaysian student performance is declining in absolute terms.

This dismal and damning conclusion - that we are going backwards instead of moving forward in our education standards and achievement - shows that the problem is not a new one.

It is a long-standing crisis which the BN has successfully concealed from Malaysians thanks to media manipulation and its diversionary focus on use of Bahasa Malaysia as a political weapon and Chinese school issues.

It is a longstanding and divisive "us versus them" issue -between the Malays and non Malays, between Muslims versus non Muslims. In other words, our education system is hijacked or ransomed to serve UMNO's agenda of political survival. Playing up on issues of race and religion is the bane in our schools now.

But it is no longer easy to fool Malaysians thanks to the internet media and the availability of international assessment results.

Hence the latest educational scandal in which the Education Ministry is accused of lowering the Maths and Science standards for the PMR and SPM examinations to artificially increase the pass rate does not shock me in the least.

Such efforts have been taking place for the past thirty years, especially in the public universities.
How else then to account for the hundreds of thousands of graduates who are unemployable?

My personal experience

The second piece of evidence is one derived from personal experience. For several years now, I have been providing scholarships to poor young Malaysians so that they will be able to go to the university to improve their life and career opportunities.

Below are examples of letters I have received from two applicants requesting for financial assistance (details of my scholarship program here).

What is important to note is that although these are written by pre-university students, the level of English language competency attained is lower than that of a primary student during my time. The standard of English proficiency is pathetic.

Sadly, they are not isolated cases - in fact they are typical of students who have been through our educational system and whose decline in standards has been due to BN rule.

Letter 1


I am ____________,I already take my SPM result~I'm interest on account Can you sponsor me about the study fees at Utar?



This are my SPM result.

Letter 2

Mrs.Koon, i am October Intake UTAR new degree student , my name is ______ from kampar, i am facing financial problem after i successful register Utar degree course, now i am stay at Kampar and open school already.

As i know UTAR can let student to borrow PTPTN loan to complete Degree. But after i successful register Degree course, UTAR stuff just tell me UTAR are not offer student to apply PTPTN loan on this semester, and i need to pay course fee and register fee first.

Sure i come from poor family, my family income below RM 1600 per month. My family never and not able to pay my fee around RM4000 at my first semester, i need to pay the bill before 23 october, if not i forced to leaving school, i am very anxious now!

Before I am getting news from Mr.__________, may be i can getting financial aid from Mrs.Koon, so the purpose i send the gmail to Mrs.Koon is i requesting for financial aid to start and continue my degree course program in UTAR, i really want to start my study life and dream at UTAR.

Mind you, these letters are written by our university level students.

At the election booth

In conclusion, private education has become a very profitable business as parents scramble to remedy the damage in the public system and use up their precious savings or mortgage their houses to enable their kids to get a decent education.

For this reason too, private universities and colleges are springing up like mushrooms. Mind you, for creating the rotten mess in the first place the BN politicians are now unscrupulously milking the system in connivance with their business interests to cash in on the private education market.

All of them are lowering entry requirements to capture more students. As a result, students like the two above were accepted to study in Utar.

Many people have the wrong impression that MCA's Utar is a charitable organisation set up to help the Chinese. In fact if you examine MCA's annual report, you will see that Utar is one of the best profit-making ventures for MCA. I daresay all our private colleges and universities had Ali Baba UMNO nominees as directors in their midst.

Remember, the power to change the rotting education system is in your hands when you go to vote.

This message is especially directed at all parents and students - Malays, Chinese, Indians and other Malaysians - who have suffered as a result of BN incompetence and bad governance.

Written by Koon Yew Yin




4 people like this. Showing 25 of 26 comments


Wonderful article. As I said earlier, the BN politicians sent their kids overseas to become pigs and whores so that our education system can learn from their mistakes.

2013-03-18 22:20


Quite alot of these UTAR graduates are chinese educated. though not good in english but good, hardworking and resourceful type of workers. alot of them quite successful one.

2013-03-18 22:21


Aik?if the student is already bengap in math science n english wat can we do?from my experience spm paper from year to year become easier yet student still bengap to achieved good result,one of the reason is migration of hi achievers student to SBP,MRSM,Technical school and others hi orientation school...

2013-03-18 22:28


why MOE want to lower standard every year .. is it the quality of the students or quality of the teachers ? if you go Japan, Korea or China.. and don't know how to speak their language.. die !! order food sometime also face problems.. yet they are developed country or developing fast.. anyway, I also feel english is important and those politician just think of themself only la, cuz some parents complain complain and don't want to support them later they kena. partly is those parents that complain.

2013-03-18 22:43


One of my chinese friend now have salary RM8K per month plus mitsubishi triton plus petrol allwance plus ....with spm result 5A,3B,1C same like me,his father is rubber tapper and farmer..
Is this country not a Boleh Land?...

2013-03-18 22:49



2013-03-18 22:52


Ir Koon Yew Yin, at least you has a good education from the education provided by BN school and university, and now you has a good job and can help your fellowmen, you seem to forget what was given to you. How easy ....

2013-03-18 23:24


Typical arguement of BN/UMNO agents.It is the duty of the government of the day to provide good education for the people.It is goverment of the day's obligation.
Mamakkutty have screw up current education system beyond recognition.
during the 70's , UM is still one of the top university in ASIA and it
is on same level as Singapore U .and now UM and other U in m'sia out of
top 100 in ASIA and way way behind singapore U.
Just tell me what credit BN wants....suck lah BN.....

2013-03-18 23:56


I fully agree with the writer. The education system is not generating students the market desires.

2013-03-19 00:03


Sad but true, what can we do now? Vote BN out....

2013-03-19 00:17


Spend more money on english books, speak english at home and encourage your children to think outside the box. As I know if you send your kids to mandarin schools, they rote learn and creativity is less emphasized.

2013-03-19 00:25



2013-03-19 00:27


Well, not talking bout politic. not sure if the uni ranking is important, we do take in new recruits from time to time, UM still produce good graduates :)

2013-03-19 00:29


It is the "non concern" about politic causing more damage and suffer....

2013-03-19 00:35


Why la must talking bout politics?
The success of the student lies on them self and parents...
Politician change education system on their desire becoz their "think" it is suit current student condition but in the end it is still the student responsibilities to study hard or outsmart the "study process"...
lol :D

2013-03-19 00:39


Irrespective of race, still notice among the local institutions, most of the UM I seen got quality. :)

2013-03-19 00:40


Chongkonghui, if you have kid and assume he can get a place in UM ? You won't allow him cuz of politic ?

2013-03-19 00:43


Or cuz it is behind singapore uni ?

2013-03-19 00:46



2013-03-19 00:50


anyway, my kid is in private school :)

2013-03-19 00:57

Ooi Teik Bee

Dear Sureprofit,

It is the job of government to provide the best education to her people, we do not need to be grateful to government because the government is selected by the people.

People are master, government is the servant to master. Those people who support opposition does not mean that they are not grateful to our beloved Malaysia. They have the choice of the government they want.

We do not care whether it is white or black cat, can catch a rat is a good cat. We can choose the best government we want in our opinion, be it BN or PR.

Please have the democratic concept right, support opposition or ruling party is our choice, it is not the matter of grateful to government.

People are master but not the government ... I repeat.

Chinese proverb
"I born in Malaysia, I live in Malaysia and I will die in Malaysia as a Malaysian ghost"
I care and I love Malaysia.

Thank you.


2013-03-19 07:35

kl foong

Mr Ooi,
Well said.

2013-03-19 08:29


well said, Mr Ooi.

and for Sureprofit, if Ir Koon did not care about what is happening in our educational system, he will not be bothered to write the open letter. We are no longer staying in our own world and need to compare ourself with the rest of other developed countries. Our education is one key element to make us stay a float.

2013-03-19 08:50


Hai yah, why always use maths, science and english to measure our education standards?
Look at our students- they are very good in Malay, and of course the BN's version of history. The singapore students know nuts about these 2 subjects. If use these 2 criterias, we are no. 1 in the world.

2013-03-19 08:55

Peter Lee

the main culprit,is those holding power dont do work but grab money,we neeed a new gorverment who do work and say no corruption,tq

2013-03-19 10:40

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