Anwars educational policies a disappointment

I refer to Bin Ibrahim's letter, questioning Anwar's calibre as a potential prime minister based on his record of fiscal policies.

I would also question Anwar's education policies from the late 1980s to mid-1990s when he was the education minister. In particular, his policies on Bahasa Baku and the introduction of Moral Studies.

I belong to the first batch of SPM students who did the Bahasa Malaysia oral examinations in Bahasa Baku in the late 1980s. We were notified of the policy at the last minute and we only had about three months to fake the Indonesian-related accent over our usual Johor Riau accent.

The media quickly faked the accent too, although the TV3 did it better than RTM. It seemed to be an idealist effort to unite the Malay speakers of Malaysia and Indonesia. This was perhaps aimed at returning the Malay language to its former glory as the lingua franca of this region.

But it ended in a flop. No ordinary person used Bahasa Baku and only the media used it to the confusion of the public. The policy was finally scrapped two years ago - to my relief. In my view, the whole debacle stemmed from a lofty ideal that was implemented poorly and yielded no results. A complete waste of time and resources.

A year or two after my SPM, the Moral Studies subject was made compulsory for non-Muslims. The aim was to 'menerap nilai-nilai Islam' (infuse Islamic values) among the students. This resembled Anwar's campaign during his university days to 'menerap nilai-nilai Islam' into the universities.

The Moral Studies subject has been a disappointment. I wonder if it has done any good in 'Islamising' Malaysians or making us more moral.

Then History (Sejarah) was made a compulsory subject to help us know the greatness of the Malay Malacca Empire. The introduction of these 'arty-farty' subjects deprive students of the time they need to learn other more crucial subjects such as Mathematics and Science.

As a non-Muslim and non-Malay, I find the history and culture of Islam and my Malay brothers interesting and I regularly explore these areas at my own free time. But making them compulsory subjects stretches our educational resources. These resources could have otherwise been focused on important subjects which could help towards a student's career advancement.

These education policies of Anwar were lofty besides being and biased towards a narrow race-based agenda. They should have been rejected rather than implemented but perhaps no one was able to match up to Anwar's debating skills.

That is the danger of having Anwar at the helm. While he possesses tremendous oratory and debating skills, his proven, workable ideas have only been a few