DUBAI, April 12 – The Malaysian government is committed to take necessary measures to improve two main issues close to the hearts of Malaysians — education and security — in making the country a better nation. The assurance was given by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to the Malaysian diaspora in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday, who are still in touch with developments back home and provide feedback on the two subjects. Muhyiddin, when taking questions from the floor in regard to Malaysia’s education at the dinner meeting, stressed that education was always dynamic and many changes took place which required adjustment to be made accordingly.
“We need to see again what we have ingrained for many years and of course looking forward, how we see our education system deals with changing global environment,” said Muhyiddin, who is also the Education Minister. He said while Malaysia had made certain achievements in the aspects of education, there was feedback saying it was “not good enough”. “There is high expectation in what we do and this includes education. We need to look at it again,” he said. Citing the command of English for example, he said many people acknowledged that the level of speaking and understanding of English among Malaysians was not so bad but they emphasised the need for it to be upgraded.
Muhyiddin also shared with the meeting that the Malaysian Education Blueprint (MEB) 2013-2025 helped to improve the foundational elements in the education system while the National Higher Education Strategic Plan emphasised on comprehensive internationalisation to make the country a regional hub for tertiary education. He said that Malaysia now ranked 11th in the World Education Service Report in relation to preferred destinations for higher education with the number of international students having increased to about 93,000 currently from 86,000 in 2010. Muhyiddin said the MEB was not only intended to prepare Malaysian students for future and global challenges but helped to instil positive values and unity.
“In a highly-diverse society, there’s a need for better interaction among our students and this can be nurtured through the likes of sports, cultural and unity programmes,” he said. On the security aspect, Muhyiddin conceded that more needed to be done in combating crime although the police had significantly reduced the number of crime cases through decisive action including “Ops Cantas”. He said while the crime rate had shown a reduction, the efforts to combat crime would continue as a key focus to raise the comfort level of the nation. He also said although the number of crimes involving foreign students was relatively low, there was a need to address the problem including tightening the process for foreign student application to study in Malaysia.
“Although people complained why it takes so long to vet these students, we need to be thorough in the process,” he said. Replying to another question, Muhyiddin said that the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) would be beefed up to stop encroachment and kidnap cases from recurring in Sabah and its waters. “We view the recent (kidnap) case seriously. ESSCom needs to improve its monitoring capability and acquire new assets to enhance this capability,” he said in reference to the kidnapping of a tourist from China and a Filipino resort worker from the Singamata Reef Resort in Semporna recently. During the dinner, Muhyiddin also shared Malaysia’s success under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) which had benefitted many people including 4.3 million rural dwellers. For example, he said, the government had built and maintained 4,000 kilometres of rural roads, particularly in Sabah and Sarawak since 2010.