All reform proposals below were accepted into the Rakyat Manifesto ⤤ (Facebook ⤤) by CSO Platform for Reform ⤤ and Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia ⤤.
Thank you to all our teachers, parents, students, and editors. We could not have done this without you. Let's make moves for justice.
Without whistleblowers, we have no data, no knowledge, nor any recourse for any action. To briefly use schools as a microcosm of Malaysia's public service, only once teachers, students, staff, and parents are all legally protected as whistleblowers will the true extent of damage be revealed. Misconduct by public servants must be accepted by all as serious violations of law and not by propagandized terms such as “issues”, “complaints”, “internal matters”, and / or “concerns”.
The public service does not feel protected by MACC nor their internal integrity departments to report corruption.
As Ministry of Education (MOE) whistleblowers, we can share the deeply disturbing corruption within the MOE, but the same failures apply to the public service in entirety: for example, over 60% of teachers do not feel safe reporting corruption nor misconduct. In 11 years, MACC has only filed a single charge using the Whistleblower Protection Act.
Today, the Ministry of Education (MOE) controls over 419,000 public servants, predominantly teachers. In most school-based abuse / negligence / misconduct cases, teachers & students are the primary witnesses and often well-aware of the MOE’s long-term SOP & law violations. If teachers blow the whistle—as required by the Public Officers Regulations 1993 and/or MACC Act 2009— these teacher whistleblowers are threatened, pressured, and harassed. How? Because their superiors receive their whistleblower reports: the same superiors with full control over the whistleblower including transfers, disciplinary actions, even dismissal.
Today, internal disciplinary investigations do not allow any legal whistleblower protection, reminded Abu Kassim Mohamad (Director-General of the National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-corruption); some have likewise been warned by corrupt parties to not assist criminal / civil litigation.
According to our internal whistleblower survey covering over a decade of combined MOE experience (and corroborated by student reports), hundreds of misconduct investigations have been shut down because the MOE claimed “no evidence against the teacher, so we cannot take action” when corrupt MOE officers have allegedly already threatened witnesses and fabricated evidence.
Whistleblower protection must be significantly strengthened and expanded. Whistleblowers must:
Any dependency on internal investigations is a recipe for reform disaster. Honest public servants, such as teachers, are desperately waiting for independent oversight. Nemo judex in causa sua is the primary principle of natural justice: no one may be a judge in their own cause.
This hallmark failure of Malaysia’s governance must be wholly uprooted and incinerated into the pits of history.
All public service misconduct, including those amounting to crimes, uses a five-step process: 1) primarily internal reports, 2) internal investigations, 3) disciplinary proceedings by the Public Services Commission, and 4) oversight by MACC, police, and / or the Courts, to prevent gratification and/or protection; and failing these four steps, the Cabinet institutes checks and balances by its statutory powers to ensure natural justice.
Today in Malaysia’s governance, all corruption eradication programs have wholly—yet predictably—failed. Likewise, “reform” politicians have refused to overhaul the Government even once awarded breathtaking Executive powers. While our Prime Ministers like to admit all Ministries are dangerously compromised, they have shown little urgency to enact reform.
Malaysia’s Executive Branch has consistently undermined, disturbed, and / or extinguished independent, thorough, and expedient…
The Government has been to have sacked and/or pressured to resign many prominent political appointees and public servants, including Attorney Generals, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, and MACC Chief Commissioners; likewise, countless public servants have been seemingly threatened and intimidated.
As Ministry of Education (MOE) whistleblowers, we can confirm that many hidden mini-1MDB scandals throughout the public service will shock the nation: enough un-investigated and unreported crimes have been committed to land hundreds of public servants in Court or jail. Multiple such cases have been exposed with decades-long histories.
As MOE whistleblowers have repeatedly shouted from the rooftops, internal investigations can never be reformed. Malaysia’s governance requires a reset: a Public Ombudsman (PO) with wholly independent disciplinary, civil, and criminal jurisdiction against all public servants and politicians.
Today, we must push beyond just forming an IPCMC: it is not just one Ministry, Agency, nor politician, but setting in place an empowered and robust Integrity Structure for the whole Government under the aegis of the PO who is then given authority to:
The PO must become the primary warrior against institutionalized misconduct and corruption in the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches. Positive examples of other nations’ POs can be found in the UNESCO 2017/8 Global Education Monitoring Report (page xiiii).
Imagine how many child victims have fallen into desperation and anguish after enforcement agencies refused to investigate or prosecute. When a child tells you something, believe them the first time: they may not tell you again. Imagine the safety our students, parents, and teachers will feel in being able to report misconduct to an independent agency.
Today, child victims of school-based abuse have fragile protections, zero support structures, often live in disenfranchised communities, and are primed to receive gaslighting, misleading, and victim-blaming attitudes by corrupt public servants that are hellbent on preventing all civil, criminal, and/or disciplinary proceedings.
The MOE has long downplayed its legal liabilities—for good reason. Its legal exposure is unparalleled in the Malaysian government: some 10,000 schools, 4.7 million students, and 419,000+ public servants. The MOE is bound by one of the widest bodies of primary and delegated legislation: MACC Act, Penal Code, Child Act, Education Act, Public Officers (Conduct & Discipline Regulations) Act, Sexual Offences Against Children Act, and others. Primary legislation is written by Parliament, while delegated legislation is written by the Executive Branch (e.g., regulations).
Thus, why was the MOE not held accountable by Parliament, MACC, Police, Welfare Department, MOE Integrity Department, and Public Services Commission? In each, the lack of true independence and severe politicization have created an implicit network that refuses to thoroughly investigate the MOE.
Please review Solution #3 above for more context.
When the Public Ombudsman (PO) receives reports with child victims—and especially school-based reports where the perpetrator is a public servant—a special Child Unit in the PO must take over the case. This PO Child Unit must contain:
Further, the PO Child Unit should expand over time to include PO Officers placed in critically underserved schools to both investigate misconduct and enforce a safe learning environment.
At the school, these PO Officers gather anonymous and direct reports from teachers, students, and parents; gather evidence; establish whistleblower protection; and wield disciplinary jurisdiction over all school officers.
A non-exhaustive list of such critically underserved schools: high Orang Asli population, high OKU student population, high impoverished / B40population, poor local governance / quality of public service, or schools with a history of serious and / or long-term misconduct.
Because families can finally expect an independent oversight system, Child Ombudsman Units are often overwhelmed with demand shortly after launching and thus quickly show their effectiveness, a rarity in public policy (UNESCO2017/8 GEM report; page 31).
“If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.”
We must attack the root causes of misconduct; here, the severely weakened collective responsibility of misconduct. This root cause becomes an enabler that allows for years-long perpetuation of significant misconduct and/or corruption.
Often, when a paedophile teacher molests or sexually assaults a student, the numerous superior officers in the school administration are rarely held totally accountable, even though failure to report misconduct is a serious misconduct in itself.
How can a competent principal “not know” that paedophilia and sexual assault are common occurrences inside their own school? It is wilful blindness, a psycho-social tactic when clear instances of wrongdoing are deliberately avoided to ensure the officer has plausible deniability if such cases are somehow exposed. Simply put, covering up misconduct makes their lives easier, no matter the SOP nor law.
If a public servant is accused of misconduct, the Public Ombudsman must be empowered to initiate investigations against their superior and/or co-equal officers in cases where negligence was responsible for such inaction.
These specific investigations must be independently executed by the Public Ombudsman, instead of the internal disciplinary department. The investigations must, as a minimum punishment, require a lowering of the officers’ ranks: warnings and notices have been shown to be weak and ineffective punishment for most serious misconduct.
Some may argue that we just need to “teach” errant officers to be more diligent. Incorrect: the strongest lesson is by example and any teacher knows it incredibly well. Children will understand vicarious responsibility once they see it executed, not when those in power become mouthpieces using the language of reform but without the conviction to enact it.
Until we empower our current public servant investigators—notably, the few honest that remain—many, if not most, of the disciplinary proceedings at the Public Service Commission (and/or unique commissions such as the Education Services Commission) will fail due to legal, evidential, and / or procedural grounds.
A major failure today is that even well-intentioned and well-meaning public servants are often illiterate in the law, particularly regarding misconduct and disciplinary violations.
Public servant administrators must prepare investigations and submit any disciplinary violations of their subordinates to the Public Services Commission, where a quasi-judicial proceeding is conducted. Think of administrators as the police and the Public Services Commission as the Court.
Shockingly and disturbingly, many administrators likely do not understand the critical requirements for these quasi-judicial proceedings, i.e., the principles of natural justice (“prinsip keadilan tabii”), documentation, witnesses, jurisdiction, time barred / statutory limits, etc.
Unfortunately, this negligence leads to many failed investigations and continued injustices. While we primarily advocate for a Public Ombudsman, until then, the Code of Conduct must be re-written in clear language and relevant examples clarified to serve as an understandable, accessible, and always-updated manual for all public servants (and the people).
While we primarily advocate for a Public Ombudsman, this measure is a stopgap for the predominantly failing internal investigations.
To fix this glaring hole in today’s failed procedures, we must:
Until we end the politicization of education, all other reforms are likely to fail or be implemented with safeguards for the corrupt.
Education is not for politicians.
Why is the highest office of our education system always destined for a politician? By definition, an MP is a politician and Senators predominantly hold political party positions to some degree.
Politician-Education Ministers are often not products of our system, only able to speak the language of reform without the conviction to sacrifice for reform, and focus on academia, not schools. Academia experts are absolutely not appropriate for today’s crises in education that center on systemic injustice, corruption, racism, abuse of power, institutional rot, and negligence. Academia experts do not understand our problems, thus when they appeal to the public, they focus on significantly weak and/or contradictory solutions that do not address structural failures (e.g., MOE investigates the MOE = PDRM investigates PDRM). Once confronted, they are unable to fight for their weak reforms.
During an election or cabinet reshuffle, only the highest two officers at the MOE are changed. That's it. Now, they must manage 400,000 public servants where many hold a shameful history of abusing Sabahans, orang asli, Sarawakians, and disenfranchised communities; a Ministry at very high risk for corruption at all levels; extremely few whistleblowers.
We must appoint, first by choice and then by law, Ministers of Education that are
The emancipatory curriculum will give power and autonomy to students & teachers in thinking and taking action. This will change the orientation of the learning and teaching process (PdP) from a knowledge transaction by teachers alone (teachers teach, students learn) to a process of co-teaching & learning between teachers and students critically and reflectively.
The Malaysian education system can be regarded a manipulative and autocratic weapon of the elite in defending the status quo. The education curriculum is deliberately deprived of human rights, justice, and corruption to keep the people away from the reality of oppression and questioning the corrupt government regime. Today's curriculum succeeds in giving the people's “obedience” to the government through a culture of fear and silence as stated in the Public Officers Regulations Act (Conduct and Discipline) 1993, Part II, Regulation 13 “Making Public Statements”).
Schools became corrupt institutions protecting the guilty, even the hypocrites with the slogan “kemenjadian murid”. The evidence 1) the case of a student's lawsuit against a teacher for being absent for seven months 2) the culture of rape in schools has gone viral with hundreds of victims speaking out and 3) the stunning statistics that 44% of respondents recall MOE teachers making sexually provocative jokes. However, corrupted teachers have been shielded and the future of the students is dismissed.
Schools are getting further and further away from the real purpose of education. It focuses more on courses and workshops, performance dialogue, talks without courage and sincerity for accountability. The education system only pursues KPIs and becomes an enduring distraction and diverts teachers and students from critical reflections on grassroots problems.
Social change requires reform strategies and actions (non-reactive) from the solidarity of the people. The new education curriculum will change the people's values and paradigms to a civil society that has the ability and power to be conscious of the realities of injustice and oppression.
The emancipatory curriculum must provide optimal options for students to develop their talents, interests, potentials, and abilities. Examinations and academic achievements are no longer the sole measures of achievement, but students in multiple intelligences are empowered in the institutionalization of TVET for Special Education students. Eliminate inclusive programmes that kill the potential and talents of those that are not academic.
These humanist values must be formulated in the syllabi of every subject in schools. The PdP process must incorporate external programs / duties as practical training for students and teachers to understand issues such as social injustice and climate change.
The subjects of Civics and Citizenship are reformulated to include studies on the political, legal, and governance systems of the country, as well as the roles of the government towards the people, and the roles of citizens to preserve a just, peaceful, and compassionate society. It also includes a study on the diversity of practices in cultures and religious beliefs in the country and around the world. Awareness and civic skills are seen as important to develop ‘shared thinking and shared well-being’ in individuals living in a multiracial society.
The emancipatory curriculum must be humanistic by encompassing fair, critical, and genuine views on human rights, anti-corruption, democracy, fundamental freedom, justice, free media, news literacy, renowned Court & litigation history, social justice movements, and recognizing the diversity of talents and potentials of individuals.
Schools determine a child’s future. It is clear our schools are not equal in quality—where are reports of such mass negligence and abuse in the schools of Putrajaya? We must arm parents and students with hard data to ensure they can take the Federal Government to task for failing to provide the same quality of education for all.
Today, school quality is wholly focused on exam scores (e.g. Gred Purata) and even that is incredibly hidden, nearly considered a Government Secret not to be shared with the public by teachers.
However, critical education quality metrics have been wholly ignored at the school-level, leaving communities abandoned for decades: some schools in Malaysia are exceedingly world-class, while others are more akin to lawless and negligent daycare facilities.
Some of these metrics that Malaysian families have little concrete, public, and updated data on a per-school basis:
We propose a mandatory Yearly Report Card for all MOE schools to cover Curriculum, Integrity, and Safety. Once parents can study their school choices and the MOE’s policies can be scrutinized by independent experts and civil society, it will force a dramatic change in the national conversation on education quality.
This “paperwork” is focused on the very problems we must fight; documentation becomes evidence and yet all such evidence has never been openly shared with parents.
The Yearly Report Card must be submitted by a deadline to an online, freely accessible portable with clear explanations of each metric for parents, students, and experts.
The Ministry of Education then must use this data as the primary source for the allocation of counselors, teachers, contract & procurement funding, teaching assistants, and audits.
Any schools with an above average number of misconduct complaints must remain under NAZIR investigation with monthly school visits by trained MOE personnel.
Failing to improve the lowest ranked school conditions over some number of years (e.g., five years) will require the Ministry of Education to allocate a commensurate reimbursement fee out of the Ministry of Education’s budget to parents so parents may take direct emergency action (to be used for counselling, tuition, etc.) for their children that school year.
Failing to submit accurate and / or complete reports by the yearly deadline must be a disciplinary offence with a punishment no less than a proportional salary dock against the school principal and school assistants (rank PK) by the Public Ombudsman.
"Nobody in history has gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people oppressing them." (Assata Shakur).
While PIBGs are “administered” locally, they are heavily repressed by school officers.
We must return local agency and power; many parents are ready to fight for justice. Imagine if parents could schedule PIBG meetings with school representatives and air their concerns directly before problems became egregious.
Many PIBG Constitutions forbid any dissent against the school's administration, i.e., "G" in PIBG.
“Although PTAs are permitted to introduce curricular and co-curricular activities in schools, there are clauses indicating that they cannot interfere with a school’s administration or use the association as a means to air their dissent over the school’s principal, staff members or even the Education Ministry itself.” (source)
PIBGs today are wholly one-sided affairs, with schools setting agendas, speakers, dates / times, frequency of meetings: it has clearly become a “PG” with no “IB”, with some principals even [openly attacking parents and denying them entry to school meetings. No known MOE action was taken against such disturbing misconduct as far as public.
Why are Malaysia’s parent-teacher associations banned from advocating for their children’s well-being if it involves the school administration? Why are we preventing transparency and accountability on a local level? A school’s administration is a key factor to their children's’ well-being, from schedule arrangements, course load, and then of course negligence and abuse.
Why are we totally disarming parents and teachers from whistleblowing to the larger community? We need united parents to confront a united Federal Government: otherwise, when parents plead one by one, the power imbalance is too strong. Multiple examples are available of parents and students have been intimidated, threatened, and/or have withdrawn their complaints after MOE threats.
While PIBGs do have locally administered AGMs composed of teachers, parents, and school administrators, it is not enough.
We must establish, through reform of the Education (Parent-Teacher Associations) Regulations 1998 and Education Act 1996, that:
With these substantive changes, we hope to significantly improve the attendance (online or virtual) of PIBGs. There is no reason that working families should be shut out of the community, transparent administration, and fair discussion that PIBGs were initially designed for.
It is time for the highest-paid Ministry to open up its books so the world may see where our billions have gone.
While multiple Ministries have billion-ringgit scandals, the Ministry of Education consistently receives some of the highest budgets with some of the shockingly terrible quality, easily gobbling nearly RM60 billion annually. What is extraordinarily shocking is that no independent, non-government, and fully public top-down audits have ever been performed against the MOE's billions.
Because the MOE is the final statutory body with government funds, it has the highest liability in both 1) disbursing funds and 2) monitoring contracted agencies under regulations of the Ministry of Finance.
MACC has called the MOE a serious high-risk Ministry for corruption. And we have seen it again and again: the YTL scandal, the Sarawak solar scandal, the COVID-19 “free” laptop delays, the Integrity Department scandal, the Integrity Department scandal part II, the overt politicization, the Sabah canteen contractors’ scandal, the Melaka scholarships scandal, and systemic school corruption in Sabah.
Untold billions are possibly unaccounted, misused, and/or stolen.
MOE + MOHE combined budgets, as available:
The services of an external auditing firm with a reputation of integrity, transparency, and effectiveness should be hired to audit the nearly ⅔ trillion ringgit that has been pumped into the Ministry of Education between 2010 and 2021.
It must be given full subpoena authority and access to all Ministry documents, up to the power of raids. It must be given access to both police and MACC (or, in the future, Public Ombudsman) investigative units. It must be primarily staffed with forensic accountants and Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE) with experience in education, Malaysia’s public service, computer forensics, and preparation for litigation (either civil or criminal).
The target areas should include economic damages (torts, breach of contract), contract fraud, money laundering and asset misappropriation, fabrication / falsifying of records, false suppliers, payroll fraud, data theft or misuse, reimbursement fraud, theft or misuse of services, assets, or privileges, procurement fraud, price fixing, secret tenders when open required, GST refund fraud, embezzlement / larceny, kickbacks, product substitution, shell company schemes, and/or other mechanisms to deceive the nation’s oversight agencies.
"The culture of fear for speaking up must end.”
Kota Belud, Sabah | Traworld Official ⤤ on Unsplash ⤤