Three major failures of national schools
Mariam Noor's letter titled How about leadership by example in education? deserves further systematic exploration for Malaysians to see through Umno's hypocrisy, folly and hubris.
As Mariam has observed, the top echelon of Umno's ruling elite are all English-educated and Anglised Malays. It is also them who often resort to rabble-rousing tactics to inflame the vernacular Malay masses in the defence of the Malay-language 'national' system of education whose pathetic failure has been proven by these major and indisputable facts.
One, these Umno elite themselves have no confidence in the so-called 'national' system of education they promote and defend. That is why, for example, Najib Abdul Razak, Hishammuddin Hussein and Khairy Jamaluddin studied in British universities not local ones.
That is also why the children of all our prime ministers, including those of Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, were overseas for their secondary or tertiary education.
Two, increasingly, even ordinary bumiputera parents have realised that the Chinese-language education system is better for intellectual quality as well as for the inculcation of discipline among children and youths.
There are now more than 65,000 bumiputera children studying in Chinese primary schools.
What then are the failures of Umno's 'national' system of education?
The first and foremost is that the 'national' system of education has shown utter disrespect and contempt for non-Malay languages such as English, Chinese and Tamil. Secondly, Umno's 'national' system of education has been increasingly Islamised to the extent that it has become a Middle Eastern, rather than a Malaysian, institution.
Thirdly, the history syllabus of Umno's 'national' system of education has shown no interest or respect for true history of Malaysia and the world. Graduates from this system are not only monolingual but also see society and the world from a very limited perspective based on the history of the Malacca Sultanate and Umno's propagandistic versions of Malay 'nationalism' and 'Islamism'.
Of course, the MCA, MIC, Gerakan and the other Barisan Nasional component parties cannot evade political and social responsibility too for the failure of the 'national' education system. It was due to their alliance with Umno that has made the latter arrogant and incompetent.
It is indeed time for a serious national introspection and national renewal. It's time also for the removal of the rotten systems in Malaysia.