An Umno Baru view of geography


Mariam Mokhtar

When Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan compared the different attitudes of Chinese and Malay schoolchildren, he decided that lessons in “entrepreneurship” could create more bumiputera entrepreneurs. According to him, this means the number of geography lessons in schools would have to be reduced.

Parents are aware of dropping standards of education in Malaysian schools. Earlier this year, Nurul Izzah Anwar demanded answers from the government regarding the quality of the SPM examination results.

She was curious to learn if the candidate who scored an “A” had obtained a result which was worthy of an “A” grade. She said, “How can we be confident that the results are good when the marking of the examinations is considered to be secret and under the Official Secrets Act?”

The proposal to reduce geography lessons, so that Ahmad Maslan can be satisfied that Malay entrepreneurs will be created, is not the first time a minister has dabbled in the school curriculum.

Ministers are numb to the concerns of parents and teachers, who fear further falling standards of education. There is a link between falling standards and meddling ministers.

Ahmad Maslan said that after school, Chinese children would help their parents in their various businesses, whereas Malay children were more inclined to go out and play. He said that Malay children “shoot birds with a slingshot under the oil palm trees, bathe in waterfalls and drains. When can Malays be entrepreneurs?”

He hopes that “entrepreneurship” classes, to be taught from Form One to Form Five as he suggested, would create more bumiputera businessmen and help make Malaysia a high-income nation.

He claims to have the support of Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to reduce the teaching time for geography lessons in favour of “entrepreneurship”.