PUTRAJAYA: Single-stream schools, work-family life balance and improved public transportation system were among the suggestions voiced by civil servants at a National Transformation 2050 (TN50) dialogue session with the prime minister on Wednesday.
When summarising these aspirations and suggestions which were described as stimulating, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he envisaged the formation of national schools that could build unity at an early stage.
He said that among the characteristics of such schools were making Bahasa Melayu as the medium of instruction, boosting English language proficiency, making Tamil, Mandarin and Arabic as strong electives, providing quality education and the composition of teachers and students from various races.
Najib said he did not make those suggestions but envisaged the characteristics of schools from which multiracial unity could begin.
However, he added, this was a very sensitive matter, a political landmine, as Malaysia had different school streams.
"Can we accept this (unity) school model? We all need to think about it. I am not suggesting it, just envisaging, as a lot of people say they want unity and that it should start from school.
"We want solutions. This, we need to think about as everything starts from school.
"It's not that we want to decide now, but I am just visualising. What's the solution? It's not that we want to close down Chinese and Tamil schools but to choose the (appropriate) kind of national schools," he said.
At the dialogue session involving about 1,300 young civil servants, among the aspirations expressed was the emphasis on unity through education by building single-stream schools with Bahasa Melayu as the lingua franca and empowering the English Language subject without sidelining Tamil and Mandarin.
Also raised was the matter of work-home life balance by setting the maximum hours that would not tie down civil servants to long working hours to the point of them sacrificing their time for their families.
On healthcare affordability raised at the dialogue, Najib said the fee of RM1 for treatment at a government health facility was not sustainable as the government spent RM21bil to RM22bil per year on the health industry but only collected RM400mil to RM500mil although Malaysia's healthcare service was the best in the world.
He cited the case of patient Razali Tompang who had to pay only RM31.80 for his father's cancer treatment at Hospital Kuala Lumpur when the actual amount was RM11,000.
"Where in the world can one be charged so low (for cancer treatment)?" Najib said.
On public transportation, one of the civil servants said he wanted to see Malaysia not bogged down anymore by the problem of traffic congestion by 2050.
Najib said the government was indeed paying a lot of attention to this aspect by implementing various projects like the MRT.
"The first phase of the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system with a distance of 51 km will be completed this July and in a few years, three more phases will be ready.
"Creating a world-class public transportation system is the government's commitment," he said.
The prime minister said all the views and suggestions given today were very useful as input for a new vision for Malaysia. - Bernama