Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Was there a typo in this report, "Eighth Rank Shows Success Of Malaysia's National Education System"?

(01st September 2010)

To: Editor- in-Chief


I refer to your report "Eighth Rank Shows Success Of Malaysia's National Education System"

where you quoted Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi as saying "Malaysia's eighth world ranking in the field of education as listed by the Newsweek magazine".

A quick check at
shows that Malaysia is ranked 36 on the education list.

Was there a typo?

Jason Kay


(04th September 2010)

To: General Manager BERNAMA , "Senior Manager, Centre for Excellence BERNAMA" , "Manager, Quality Management System (QMS)"
Hello all,

I have yet to receive any response from Editor-in-Chief (
Would you kindly favour me with a reply to my query as contained in the "forwarded message" attached below?

Thank you.

Jason Kay


(08th September 2010)


Factual accuracy in Journalism

Hi all,

I am writing to you as editors of the main stream newspapers purely for some closure on this question: Factual accuracy is important for journalist, right?
I do not wish to point fingers or assign blame. I was merely hoping for a reply on what I consider an important factual error (which would impact the tenor of a story) that was not addressed.

The issue
The question which struck me upon reading this article
Eighth Rank Shows Success Of Malaysia's National Education System
was, "Is Malaysia ranked no. 8 or no. 36?" since the Newsweek website says Malaysia is no. 36 for education

I emailed Bernama twice
but to date (08/09/2010 at 10.21am), there is no answer.

What I hope this email will achieve
I am merely hoping that one of you will be able to respond and tell me why this seemingly important factual error was not addressed, or pass this email to someone in Bernama who could give a response (I am not unaware that I probably may have sent my email to the wrong place, but I did get the email addresses from

Thank you for your time. I will publish any reply from you on my blog and facebook profile. I will not visit this issue anymore other than to say that I will know how to act accordingly in the future based on the response / non response I receive from this and my previous emails on the subject (again, I must stress, I am not out to point fingers, merely to highlight what to me is an important factual error - most probably inadvertent)

Jason Kay


Jason Kay said...

from Hasnul
to Jason Kay
cc B Yong Soo Heong
date 14 Sep 2010 15:01
Re: Was there a typo in this report, "Eighth Rank Shows Success Of Malaysia's National Education System"?

Dear Jason,

Thank you for sending the email below. My apologies for not replying much earlier.

I am forwarding this email to Datuk Yong SH, Chief Editor BERNAMA for his reveiw. I am sure Datuk Yong will be writing to you as soon as he verify the article.

Best wishes
Hasnul Hassan
Malaysian National News Agency (BERNAMA)

Jason Kay said...

from shyong
to Hasnul, Jason Kay date 14 Sep 2010 17:21
Re: Was there a typo in this report, "Eighth Rank Shows Success Of Malaysia's National Education System"?

Dear Mr Kay,
Thank you for your query. I apologise for the delay.

I spoke to our reporter concerned. He maintained that the fact was told to him by the Deputy Education Minister after a berbuka puasa function.

I am still investigating the matter, whether it was a case of incomprehension on our reporter's part when the deputy minister may have spoken on the literacy level, which was 88.8 per cent, and what finally turned out was "an 8th global education ranking".

Alternatively we are looking whether the official concerned did have a figure that he obtained from Newsweek or that he himself mistook the literacy level of 88.8 per cent for something else.

In the Newsweek chart, a global ranking of 36 in education was mentioned for Malaysia.

I regret the confusion for you. We will right the wrong once we get to the bottom of things.

And many thanks for your reminder on the query.

Best regards,
Yong Soo Heong