• Is the Ministry of Education handing out ‘A’s for examinations to meet the Government’s KPI?

    Media statement by Tony Pua Kiam Wee and Dr Ong Kian Ming in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 9th January 2013

    We would like to congratulate all of the PMR students who successfully passed their PMR exams especially the 30,474 students who successfully scored straight As. We applaud their efforts in putting in the hard work necessary to achieve these results which were announced two weeks ago on 18th December 2012.

    Based on the results released by the Ministry of Education, 28.8% achieved an ‘A’ in Mathematics while 23.7% did the same for Science. On the surface, Malaysians should be extremely proud that approximately a quarter of all our 15 year olds are able to achieve top results for the two key subjects.

    However, when we compare the PMR results with the recently released Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2011 report, we find that only 2% of Malaysians managed “Advanced” scores in Mathematics, while another 10% achieved “High” scores.

    Similarly for Science, only 1% and 10% of Malaysian 15 year olds managed to achieve “Advanced” and “High” scores respectively.

    What worries Malaysians is the fact that compared to 1999 when 36% of our 15 year olds scored an “Advanced” or “High” scores in 1999, only a miserable 12% did so in 2012. For Science, this % has decreased from 24% in 1999 to 11% in 2011. (The breakdown is shown in the Table 1 below.)

    The question to ask then is are our examination standards set so low that 28.8% of our students will score an ‘A’ in Mathematics even though by international standards, they are far from it?

    While the above may be worrying, what is shocking is the performance of Malaysian students at the bottom. While the PMR examinations showed nearly 90% passing rates for students in Mathematics and Science, the TIMSS study exposed the fraud in our examinations.

    The number of students who scored “Below Low” for Mathematics increased from only 7% in 1999 to an incredible 35% in 2011. For Science, the percentage rocketed up from 13 to 38. If the students who scored “Low” were taken into consideration, 64% and 66% of Malaysian students scored “Low” and “Below Low” in Mathematics and Science respectively.

    The performance of the educational achievements of our students is unacceptable. The Ministry of Education and the Government has failed our young Malaysians. In the pursuit of quantitative Key Performance Indicators such as the number of “A”s or the percentage pass rate, the Ministry of Education has severely simplified our education syllabus as well as dumbed down our examinations at the expense of our students.

    We call upon the Minister of Education Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to explain how our education and examination standards have declined so drastically over the past decade. He must also thoroughly review our examination system and our education syllabus to increase the standards of education for our young. We are also extremely concerned about the complete lack of urgency over our underperformance, as well as the lack of substantive measures in the preliminary Education Blueprint which has been launched at the end of last year.

    Table 1a: Malaysian Students Performance for Mathematics (TIMSS 1999 to 2011)

    Mathematics 1999 (%) 2003 (%) 2007 (%) 2011 (%)
    Advanced (625) 10 6 2 2
    High (550) 26 24 16 10
    Intermediate (475) 34 36 32 24
    Low (400) 23 27 32 29
    Below Low (<400) 7 7 18 35

    Table 1b: Malaysian Students Performance for Science (TIMSS 1999 to 2011)

    Science 1999 (%) 2003 (%) 2007 (%) 2011 (%)
    Advanced (625) 5 4 3 1
    High (550) 19 24 15 10
    Intermediate (475) 35 43 32 23
    Low (400) 28 24 30 28
    Below Low (<400) 13 5 20 38

    Tony Pua Kiam Wee, DAP National Publicity Secretary & MP for Petaling Jaya Utara
    Dr Ong Kian Ming, DAP Election Strategist

    This press statement was published by DAP Malaysia.

  • The International Mathematics & Science Study (TIMSS) 2011 proved beyond doubt that the Barisan Nasional Government has completely destroyed our education system, causing Malaysia to suffer the biggest drop in results among all tested countries in the world for both subjects

    The 2011 Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) which was released on the 11th of December showed a worrying and unacceptable fall in Malaysia’s ranking and average scores in Math and Science.

    Malaysia’s ranking in Math fell from 20th in 2007 to 26th in 2011 while its ranking in Science fell by an ever greater margin, from 21st in 2007 to 32nd in 2011. Our average Math score fell from 474 in 2007 to 440 and our average Science score fell by an even greater degree from 471 in 2007 to 426 in 2011. The results are summarized in Table 1a and 1b below.

    Table 1a: Fall in Malaysia’s TIMMs ranking in Science and Math, 2007 to 2011
















    Table 1b: Fall in Malaysia’s TIMMs average score in Science and Math, 2007 to 2011

    Average Score


















    When we compare the results across all the countries, we suffer the ignominy of being the only country other than Jordan which suffered declines in scores in all content and cognitive domains for Mathematics (Content Domains – Number, Algebra, Geometry, Data & Chance; Cognitive Domains – Knowledge, Application, Reasoning) and Science (Content Domains – Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Earth Sciences; Cognitive Domains – Knowledge, Application, Reasoning) from 2007 to 2011.

    However, the most damning outcome of the test is that Malaysia has suffered the biggest drop in test scores among all countries for both Mathematics and Science between 1999 and 2011.

    For Mathematics, our score dropped by 79 points, compared to the next worst country, Thailand, by 40 points. For Science, our score dropped by 66 points, compared to Macedonia, which fell by 51 points.

    The poor achievement of Malaysians students in Math and Science is clearly seen in the % of students scoring full credit for what should be basic Math and Science questions.

    For example, for the simple algebra question of “What does xy +1 mean” (The answer is “multiply x by y, then add 1”), only 43% of Malaysian students answered this question correctly, ranking us 37 out of 42 countries (See Appendix 1 below).

    In comparison, 94% of students in Hong Kong answered this question correctly. For a relatively simple Chemistry question, “What is the chemical formula for Carbon Dixoide” (The answer is “CO2), only 67% of Malaysian students answered this question correctly, ranking us 43out of 45 countries. (See Appendix 2 below) In comparison 99% of Japanese students answered this question correctly.

    Given the above, it is no wonder that many parents are voting with their feet and their wallets by enrolling in private primary and secondary schools at an alarmingly increasing rate.

    The drop in our Math and Science scores as measured by TIMSS an unmitigated disaster our national education system which has been destroyed by the Barisan Nasional education policies. In the context of the extent of our failing education system, the National Education Blueprint (Peliminary report) is clearly half-hearted in its attempted to reverse the decline and it has failed to address the primary issues of the severe in standards.

    The Ministers of Education for Malaysia over this period, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad (1999-2004), Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein (2004-2009) and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (since 2009) must bear full responsibility for failing Malaysia’s young and the future of this country.

    Joint statement by Members of the Pakatan Rakyat Education Taskforce (PET):

    Tony Pua, MP Petaling Jaya
    Nurul Izzah Anwar, MP Lembah Pantai
    Dr. Ong Kian Ming, DAP Election Strategist

    Appendix 1: Percent Answering “What does xy+1 mean” correctly

    Appendix 2: Percent Answering “What is the Chemical Formula for Carbon Dioxide” Correctly

  • The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study has proven that the Ministry of Education has deliberately dumbed down our education syllabus and lowered our examination standards in order to produce more student passes and distinctions

    Joint Media Statement by Tony Pua, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara and Dr Ong Kian Ming, DAP Election Strategist in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 14 December 2012

    In the recently released 2011 Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS), Malaysia’s ranking in Math fell from 20th in 2007 to 26th in 2011 while our ranking in Science fell by an ever greater margin, from 21st in 2007 to 32nd in 2011.

    In terms of marks scored, Malaysia was the worst performing nation of the 59 countries survey by showing the biggest decline since the study was first conducted in 1999. Malaysia’s average score for mathematics fell 79 points from 519 in 1999 to 440 in 2011.  By comparison, the next worst country Thailand posted an average score decrease of 40 points for mathematics.  Similarly, Malaysia’s average score for science meanwhile dropped 66 points from 492 in 1999 to 426 in 2011.  This decrease is higher than the next worst country, Macedonia whose average score for science fell 51 points.

    However, while the disastrous TIMSS results proved the failure of our education system, surprisingly our students continue to score better results annually for their Mathematics and Science examinations for the PMR and SPM papers.

    For example, the PMR results over the years, as measured by the Average National Grade (or GPN) has been steadily improving from 2.83 in 2008 to 2.78 in 2009 to 2.74 in 2010 and mostly recently to 2.71 in 2011 (the lower the grade, the better the score).  More specifically, those obtaining As in Mathematics increased from 26.7% in 2010 to 28.9% in 2011 and those obtaining As in Science increased from 18.5% in 2010 to 21.7% in 2011.

    At the same time, our SPM results in 2011 was reported to have been the best recorded in five years with the overall National Average Grade improving from 5.19 in 2010 to 5.04 in 2011 (the lower the grade, the better the score).

    In addition, the pass rate for Math and Science at the SPM level have also steadily increased since 2007 as indicated in Table 1 below.  For example, the pass rate for Math for those in the rural areas increased from 70% in 2007 to 77.5% in 2010 and the pass rate for Science for those in the urban areas increased from 85.9% in 2007 to 91% in 2010.

    Table 1: Pass rate for Math & Science SPM
    for those in the rural and urban areas (2007 to 2010)

    Subject / Area

























    Source: Ministry of Education

    The steep fall in our TIMSS 2011 scores which are measured objectively across 59 countries clearly contradicts the astounding achievements by the same students in our PMR and SPM examinations.

    One cannot help but to conclude that firstly, the Ministry of Education has been deliberately manipulating the Math and Sciences standards for the PMR and SPM examinations to artificially increase the pass rate.  Secondly, it also raises the obvious question that our education syllabus has been “dumbed down” so that more students will be able to do better for their examinations.

    In fact, this deliberate attempt to dumb down our syllabus and lowering the passing marks for the examination subjects is a key reason for the declining standard of our education system.  The Ministry of Education has over the years simplified the syllabus and lowered passing marks in order to give the perception of improving performance, which is measured by the number of passes and “A”s achieved in these examinations.

    The obvious outcome to such a skewed education policy is that our Malaysian young will learn less in school, while needing to know and understand even less to secure a pass or obtain an “A” in the examinations.  This saddening outcome is now proven by the TIMSS,  which showed how Malaysia is the country where its students suffer from the fastest declining standards for both Mathematics and Science.

    The New Education Blueprint (NEB) must openly admit and aggressively address the deliberate “dumbing down” of our education system.  The Preliminary NEB report has not only completely neglected the above, it has to the contrary, sung praises for our students’ academic achievements in the PMR and SPM examinations.  If the Minister of Education, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin fails to reverse the dumbing down process and start increasing standards in our examinations and syllabus, then he can be assured that not only the NEB will fail miserably, Malaysia will continue to drop down the TIMSS scores and ranking in the future.

    Tony Pua
    Ong Kian Ming

  • Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin digesa perjelas kemerosotan berterusan Malaysia dalam kajian TIMMS 2011 dan jurang ketara antara markah purata pelajar lelaki dan perempuan bagi subjek Matematik dan Sains

    Pada 2007, Malaysia telah mengalami kemerosotan purata pencapaian dalam dua subjek teras iaitu – Sains dan Matematik (pelajar Gred 8 atau Tingkatan 2) dalam kajian oleh Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS 2007) membabitkan 59 negara.

    Hasil kajian 2007 menunjukkan skor purata pencapaian pelajar Malaysia dalam Matematik dan Sains merosot dengan ketara. Skor Matematik 2007 merosot kepada 474 mata berbanding 508 mata pada 2003 dan 519 bagi 1999, iaitu penurunan sebanyak 34 mata.

    Skor Sains pula merosot kepada 471 mata pada 2007 daripada 510 pada 2003 dan 492 bagi kohort 1999. Ini mencatatkan penurunan 40 mata antara 2007 dan 2003.

    Di kalangan 59 negara yang mengambil bahagian dalam kajian TIMSS 2007, yang dilaksanakan Sekolah Pendidikan Lynch, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, Amerika Syarikat itu, kemerosotan skor purata pencapaian pelajar Malaysia sebanyak 34 mata bagi Matematik dan 40 mata bagi Sains adalah terbesar sekali di kalangan 59 negara.

    Terbaru, kita dikejutkan lagi dengan laporan “Trends in International Math and Science Study” (TIMSS) 2011 yang diterbitkan pada 11hb Disember lalu bukan sahaja menunjukkan Malaysia telah turun beberapa anak tangga dalam kedudukan dan markah purata bagi Matematik dan Sains – satu pencapaian yang tidak boleh diterima – malah menonjolkan satu aspek yang lebih membimbangkan iaitu wujudnya jurang yang amat besar di antara pelajar lelaki dan perempuan di Malaysia dari sudut Markah Purata Matematik dan Sains.

    Markah purata Matematik bagi Malaysia, iaitu 440, boleh dibahagikan dengan lebih tepat kepada pelajar perempuan (449) dan pelajar lelaki (430), menunjukkan jurang gender, ataupun gender gap, sebanyak 19 markah, meletakkan Malaysia di anak tangga ke-37 dari 42 negara. Sebagai perbandingan, Finland mempunyai jurang gender sebanyak 4 markah – 516 bagi pelajar perempuan dan 512 bagi pelajar lelaki. (Lampiran 1). Jurang gender ini adalah lima kali ganda dengan negara teratas.

    Markah purata Sains bagi Malaysia pula adalah 426, dan boleh dibahagikan kepada markah purata pelajar perempuan (434) dan lelaki (419), menunjukkan jurang gender sebanyak 15 markah, yang meletakkan kita di anak tangga ke-24 dari 45 buah negara. Sebagai perbandingan, Kazakhstan hanya mempunyai jurang gender sebanyak 4 markah – 492 bagi pelajar perempuan dan 488 bagi pelajar lelaki. (Lampiran 2)

    Jurang di antara pelajar perempuan dan lelaki ini menampakkan satu masalah yang lebih besar dalam sistem pendidikan kita: pencapaian rendah pelajar lelaki yang sistematik dalam sistem pendidikan, yang jelas dilihat dari kadar keciciran pelajar lelaki di sekolah-sekolah menengah dan jurang yang makin lebar antara pelajar perempuan dan lelaki dalam sistem pengajian tinggi, terutamanya di IPTA.

    Kami menggesa Menteri Pendidikan, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, untuk memberikan penjelasan yang menyeluruh tentang mengapa kejadian jurang gender ini berlaku serta meyakinkan rakyat Malaysia bahawa beliau akan mengatur langkah-langkah yang khusus bagi menangani masalah ini. Walaupun laporan awal Pelan Pembangunan Pendidikan Malaysia ada membangkitkan isu ini, namun tiada apa-apa langkah yang khusus dan terperinci yang telah dinyatakan untuk mengatasi masalah tersebut secara menyeluruh.

    Kenyataan bersama oleh Ahli-ahli Pasukan Petugas Pendidikan Pakatan Rakyat (PET):

    Tony Pua, Ahli Parlimen PJ Utara
    Nurul Izzah Anwar, Ahli Parlimen Lembah Pantai
    Dr Ong Kian Ming, Strategis Pilihanraya DAP

    Lampiran 1: Markah Matematik Purata Mengikut Jantina

    Lampiran 2: Markah Sains Purata Mengikut Jantina

  • The EC should take action to prosecute irresponsible parties who are trying to manipulate the electoral roll

    Media statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, 12th November 2012

    While the Election Commission should be given some credit for taking certain steps to clean up the electoral roll, it has failed to take any concrete action against persons who have been trying to and are still trying to manipulate the electoral roll.

    In a productive meeting between myself, as Project Director and DAP Election Strategist, with the Election Commission on Monday, 5th of November 2012, the Election Commission highlighted a few steps which they have taken and are taking in order to clean up the electoral roll.

    One such initiative is to locate the 12 digit IC number of all police and army voters to check that these postal voters were also not registered using their 12 digit IC number. Although this verification process is long overdue, it should be welcomed as a necessary step in cleaning up the electoral roll. The decision of the EC to require all new army and police postal voter applicants, starting from 2012, to include their 12 digit IC number in their application forms, is also a positive step towards ensuring that these voters are not registered twice in the electoral roll, once using their army / policy identity card number and once using their 12 digit civilian identity card number.

    MERAP has identified many past cases of such double registrations as well as cases whereby an army / postal voter has given their 12 digit civilian IC to their spouses to be registered as postal voters as well as army / postal voters who list themselves as their own spouse in order to be registered as postal voters using their 12 digit civilian IC numbers. Having the 12 digit civilian IC verification, hopefully, will prevent such cases from happening again in the future. I was also informed that the Election Commission has taken action to locate the 12 digit civilian IC numbers of all existing army / police voters. As of 15th October 2012, there remains 411 police and 613 army postal voters whose 12 digit civilian IC numbers have not been located.

    However, what is disappointing is that the Election Commission refuses to take any independent action against those who have tried to manipulate the electoral roll other than removing certain Assistant Registrars. For example, the EC found 60 voters who had tried to register as army / police postal voters AND as regular voters in Quarter 2 2012. This is a clear violation of Section 3 (1) (a) of the Election Offences Act 1954 which states that a person who ‘knowingly makes any false statement on or in connection with any application to be placed on any register of electors’ is guilty of committing an election offence which carries a maximum jail sentence of 2 years or a maximum fine of RM5000 or both. These voters in question clearly knows that it is an offense to register twice, once as a postal voter and another time as a regular voter since every voter has to declare that they have not registered as a voter in another constituency in Borang A Pendaftaran Pemilih.

    The presence of irresponsible parties and individuals who may have tried to manipulate the electoral roll was also detected in the Quarter 4 2011 electoral roll given to the members of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Electoral Reform. The analysis comparing the Date of Birth as well as the Date of Application for all voters found that 282,086 voters were registered before they turned 21. Indeed, there were voters whose Date of Application were before their Date of Birth!

    What is more worrying is the fact that the Election Commission knows of these attempts to manipulate the electoral roll. The Election Commission admitted that they have revoked the status a number of Assistant Registrars who tried to manipulate the electoral roll by, for example, registering voters who have already died. But this is not sufficient. It must take legal action against such parties / individuals in order to send a strong signal that the Election Commission is serious about maintaining the integrity of the electoral roll and to dissuade irresponsible parties and individuals from trying to manipulate the electoral roll.

    For example, the DAP in Negeri Sembilan took the initiative to lodge a police report in February 2012 to ask the Election Commission to investigate and charge the 2 Assistant Registrars whose status as ARs were revoked by the EC because they were found to have tried to register already deceased voters. But 9 months later, no action has been taken, either by the Election Commission, the police or the Attorney General’s Chambers.

    As long as such irresponsible actions conducted by irresponsible parties and individuals continue to go unpunished, attempts to manipulate the electoral roll will continue. If the Election Commission is indeed serious about preserving the integrity and accuracy of the electoral roll, it must not only revoke the status of irresponsible Assistant Registrars and delete the records of dubious registrations, it must also take concrete legal action to see those responsible for these manipulation attempts charged and punished under Section 3 of the Election Offences Act 1954.

    When asked, the Election Commission admitted that to date, no one has been charged under this Section of the Election Offences Act for attempting to manipulate the electoral roll.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming, DAP Election Strategist

    This press statement was published by DAP Malaysia.

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