Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You can change the government if you want - Mahathir

“You can change the government if you want to, or if you don’t want to change the government, you can change the person,” Dr Mahathir said today

You’ve got the power, Dr M tells parents, educators
By Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today reminded parents and educators disgruntled with Putrajaya’s lack of care towards education they have the power to change the administration drawing up the policies.

“You can change the government if you want to, or if you don’t want to change the government, you can change the person,” Dr Mahathir said today at a public lecture on the impact of technology on higher education.

He was responding to a parent campaigning for Putrajaya to reinstate the education policy on teaching Science and Maths in English, after cancelling it last year.

“But telling me, a former prime minister, is not going to help. You must tell the [present] prime minister,” he added, earning cheers from the audience made up mostly of educators.

Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim who heads the Parent Action Group for Education (Page) had earlier asked Dr Mahathir who had passed the policy before retiring from Cabinet in 2003 if he shared her view that the national education system was a failure.

She highlighted the large number of parents who chose to enrol their children in Chinese national-type schools where the medium of instruction is in Mandarin and not Bahasa Malaysia following the policy reversal.

“The thinking is that if you can’t get English, the next best language is Mandarin because everyone knows Mandarin is an international language.

“The exodus into Chinese schools is not just among the Chinese but the Malays too,” Noor Azimah told The Malaysian Insider later, after getting Dr Mahathir to agree to launch Page at the end of the year.

She seemed heartened by the statesman’s support, disclosing that Page will confer honorary membership on the 85-year-old grandfather at the ceremony.

Dr Mahathir also struck out against the Najib administration for not treating education, especially mastery of English, seriously enough, and suggested the lack of commitment was due to the lack of a strong political will from the top.

”If I am prime minister, of course I can do this,” he said.

”The government needs to change its mindset,” he stressed, in relation to the government’s emphasis on turning out a new generation of inventors and innovators.

The veteran politician noted mounting frustration among his local visitors who complained of the government’s lack of interest in their creations.

“On one hand, the government is saying, we must innovate, but when produce the results, they don’t want to use,” Dr Mahathir said.

”If the government wants the people to be inventive and innovative, they have to be ready to use it,” he added.


The Malaysian Insider

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