Dear Minister of Education, Please focus on the “software”

Over the weekend, there was the unfortunate interview Muhyiddin gave to Mingguan Malaysia which has generated negative excitement.

The interview has given rise to my concern that the new Education Minister may be obssessing with several matters that, I believe, will not serve the longer term strategy that Malaysia needs to undertake:

First, Muhyiddin's views reveals a frustration with the increasingly ineffective tactic of buying voter sympathies by throwing money at Chinese and Tamil schools. When money can't buy love there is much pouting and sulking.

Second, those views also reveal that Muhyiddin's appointment to the Education portfolio appears to have a deeper political agenda that may be counter-productive to Malaysia in the longer term. If the agenda is to create curriculum and, to get teachers to teach a curriculum designed to create blind loyalty to specific political parties, then, I'm sorry to say, Malaysia runs the risk of creating another lost generation.

Third, (which flows from the second point) the views will channel scarce resources away from the education of skills and techniques that will form the core foundation of a pool of human capital needed to augment Malaysia's shift from low-cost labour to high-skills human capital.

Granted that at primary and secondary school levels values must be taught. These values must be based on the broad aspirations contained in the Rukunegara.

But, due to the pressure of wanting to win the Thirteenth General Elections and, the self-imposed two-year time-frame to win the hearts and minds of Malaysians, I fear that Muhyiddin's focus as Education Minister will be misdirected to short-term goals at the expense of long term goals.

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