COMMENT | The next stage in Malaysia’s catching-up process requires that economic growth be knowledge-led and not just capital-led.
The post-1970 New Economic Policy (NEP) produced a large middle-class through economic centralisation. But the decentralisation of decision-making is badly needed to enable knowledge-led growth and wrench Malaysia out of the middle-income trap, and to spread the fruits of economic growth more equally.
Reform of the education system, not just economic policy and the financial system, is urgently needed. The education system fails in imparting competence in basic skills such as reading, mathematics and science to the average student, and promoting academic excellence in talented students.
Malaysia’s education system is unnaturally low in quality according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) cross-country surveys on the scores of primary and secondary school students in basic skills.
In the 2012 OECD sample of 65 countries, Malaysia’s rank for mathematics, reading and science were...