My Anthem

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Scorpene subs update -- juicy byte from

'Razak Baginda's company sold top secret for RM142 mil'

Harakahdaily,31 May 2012
May 31: Temperature is set to rise in the French submarine scandal probe involving Malaysia following a revelation that a top secret document from the Malaysian navy had been sold for a whopping €36 million, or RM142 million.

The Fench lawyer representing Suara Rakyat Malaysia in the Paris tribunal on alleged kickbacks from the sale of two Scorpene submarines to Malaysia, Joseph Breham, said Terasasi (Hong Kong) Ltd, owned by Razak Baginda (right), the close friend of prime minister Najib Razak who was charged and acquitted for the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2006, had sold the highly confidential document detailing the Malaysian navy’s evaluation of the submarines to French defence giant DCNS.

Paris Tribunal de Grande magistrates had asked for DCNS’s financial records following complaints lodged by Suaram.

“They were given information which is already available on the Internet and newspapers, except for this one document,” revealed Breham as quoted by The Malaysian Insider.

“It was a secret document by the Malaysian Navy, an evaluation for the order of the submarines, which is a highly confidential report,” he added.

Breham said such an act would be classified as treason in France and punishable to 10 years' jail.

“It’s treason because you are selling a competitor or a foreign country what you think about a specific weapon, and your plan on how to use this specific weapon,” he stressed.

It was revealed prior to this that Razak and his father Abdul Malim Baginda were directors of Terasasi, the company used to 'funnel' funds to politicians in Malaysia.

International news portal Asia Sentinel earlier reported that investigators believed that at least some of the €36 million funnelled through Terasasi ended up in the pockets of Najib, then the defence minister and deputy prime minister, at the time of the two Scorpene submarines were purchased from Thales International.

The ongoing French probe is being closely watched by Malaysians, especially since it has been claimed that Altantuya's murder had to do with unpaid kickbacks owed to her from the submarines deal.

DESIDERATA: If Razak Baginda and his benefactor current PM Najib Razak have any balls, they should cooperate by going to France to testify at the French court to clarify of offer a defence to all the allegations made public so far. I believe Razak Baginda was "protected" in the Malaysian trail when his defence was NOT even called on a charge as an "accomplice" to the murder of Altantuya while two apparently "innocent" police specialist officers were sentenced to death. I say ":innocent" because an important ingredient to commit murder is mens rea/motive. An eye-opening incident happened out of court when one day Razak's wife "screamed" hysterically and was reported by Media to the effect: My husband was not the one wantig to become Prime Minister.

My dear EsteemedReaders, you make the inference of that "scream" -- it's a million-dollar/francs question, eh!?


Herewit' another Cut&Pastry from asia-sentinel via harakahdaily -- c how heART Desi works for Thee, my ER? How about byeing me endless rounds of tehtarik -- meet me at Te Miang Coner cun? ~~~~~~~

More trouble over subs for Najib

John Berthelsen / Asia Sentinel,30 May 2012

REPRINT Joseph Breham, a French lawyer who has spent the past two years pursuing allegations of massive bribes in connection with the Malaysian purchase of submarines from the French defense contractor DCNS, is expected to deliver fresh details of the scandal tomorrow in Bangkok.
L-R: French human rights lawyers Joseph Breham and William Bourdon

The Malaysia-based reform organization Suaram, which asked French prosecutors to look into the submarine scandal in April 2010, has called a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand at 2 pm for Breham reportedly to present fresh revelations to reporters.

The press conference is being called in Bangkok instead of Malaysia because Breham’s associate, William Bourdon, was unceremoniously expelled from the country after describing details of the case to a dinner sponsored by Suaram in Penang. Breham sought a work visa to come to Malaysia for the current event but apparently no action has been taken on his visa, so Suaram decided to move the press conference to Bangkok.

There appears to be a growing possibility that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak could be indicted in France for complicity in the case. Central to the inquiry is alleged illegal commissions that were paid out to Malaysian officials and politicians, which have been deemed illegal and categorized as bribes, after France became a signatory to the OECD convention.

Earlier, Cynthia Gabriel, the director of Suaram, said prosecutors are in possession of more than 150 documents that tie Najib directly to the scandal. Najib was appointed minister of defense in 1991 and oversaw a series of extensive defense purchases of Russian Sukhoi jets, coastal defense vessels and other equipment. Gabriel told the Malaysian website Malaysiakini that the press conference is expected to "reveal further damning details from the initial findings of the prosecutors and to announce the latest developments surrounding the case," adding that it would “help fill in the vacuum of information on gross corrupt and illegal practices involved in arms procurement in the name of Malaysia's national security.”

The most controversial of Najib’s purchases was the US$1 billion paid for two Scorpene-class diesel submarines, for which a company called Peremikar Sdn Bhd, owned by one of Najib’s closest friends, Abdul Razak Baginda, received a €114 million commission that critics have charged was a kickback that made its way into the hands of Malaysian politicians.

So far, the case has gained precious little traction in Malaysia despite nearly six years of sensational revelations involving bribes of hundreds of millions of euros to Malaysian politicians including Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak when he served as defense minister, and the murder for hire by two of Najib’s bodyguards of a 28-year-old Mongolian woman named Altantuya Shaariibuu. Najib has maintained consistently favorable poll ratings and runs well ahead of the United Malays National Organization, the country’s biggest political party, which he heads.

Malaysia’s mainstream news media, which are wholly owned by the component parties of the national ruling coalition, have worked assiduously to bury the story although it has been reported extensively by the country’s ferociously active internet press and bloggers. With the press conference being held in Bangkok, and expected to be attended by journalists from the international press, it remains to be seen if Najib’s luck holds out.

The revelations have picked up in recent months with the appointment of investigating magistrates Roger Le Loire and Serge Tournaire at the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance, Asia Sentinel reported in April that investigators believe that at least some of €36 million funneled from a DCNS subsidiary through a Hong Kong-based company called Terasasi Hong Kong Ltd. ended up in the pockets of Najib. A handwritten note found in DCNS files said “Razak” wanted the money paid quickly. Najib, of course, is known by his first name. But there are questions whether French defense officials would have known that in a country were people are addressed by their family names.

Abdul Razak Baginda, a close Najib friend and the former head of a Malaysian think tank who was at the center of a 2006 investigation into Altantuya’s death, is listed as one of the two directors of Terasasi, according to the Hong Kong Companies Registry. The other director is Abdul Malim Baginda, Baginda’s father. Perimekar Sdn Bhd., another company wholly owned by Razak Baginda, received €114 million in “commissions” in the purchase of the submarines. Investigators believe those funds were also directed to UMNO politicians.

The two Armaris Scorpenes, named for the first prime minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, and Najib’s father, Tun Abdul Razak, are on duty in Malaysian waters.

Cherchez le Sarko

One of the intriguing questions being asked in Paris concerns whether investigators will become more aggressive in examining DCNS’s transactions after former French President Nicholas Sarkozy was turned out of office last month after he lost to the Socialist candidate, Francoise Holland. Sarkozy has repeatedly denied any role in a DCNS scandal that is vastly larger than the one in Malaysia.

Beginning in the 1980s, DCNS, a state-owned weapons manufacturer, peddled subs and ships all over the planet including to India, Pakistan, Taiwan, Chile and Argentina as well as Malaysia. Some of the purchases have blown up in scandal and, as in Malaysia, in murder.

In 2002, for instance 11 French engineers employed by DCNS were blown up in Pakistan in a bombing first thought to have been perpetrated by Islamic militants. The 11 were in Karachi to work on three Agosta 90 B submarines that the Pakistani military had bought in 1994, with payments to be spread over a decade. According to Reuters, commissions were promised to middlemen including Pakistani and Saudi Arabian nationals. Agosta is a subsidiary of DCNS.

Two French magistrates, Marc Trevidic and Yves Jannier, who were looking into the case on behalf of the victims, said kickbacks ended up in the campaign funds of Edouard Balladur, the French prime minister and a rival of Jacques Chirac in the 1995 presidential election. Sarkozy was Balladur's campaign manager as well as budget minister when the contract for the subs was signed.

Although Sarkozy and Balladur have both denied any wrongdoing, a top-secret memo turned up in October 2008 from DCN, which was state-owned at the time of the alleged kickbacks. Copies of the memo were shown on French television. The memo reportedly said France had stopped paying the bribes after Chirac won the 1995 elections despite requests by Pakistani officials for several years afterwards. Eventually, according to the story, the Pakistanis eventually lost patience and orchestrated the attack on the Agosta engineers in retaliation.

Another case involves the French company Thales, formerly Thompson-CSF, which sold six DCN-built La Fayette-class 'stealth' frigates to Taiwan in 1992 for US$2.8 billion. The warships, designated Kan Ding by Taiwan, were delivered between 1996 and 1998. The website DefenseNews reported that Taiwan is seeking US$882 million, down from US$1.12 billion on its claim against Thales, according to documents filed with the French market regulator Authorité des Marches Financiers.

Taiwan's claim, the website said, is based on allegations that Thales wrongfully paid commissions to agents in the sale of the frigates. Thales said in the filing that it and its industrial partner have consistently contested the claim. A Thales spokesman declined to comment beyond the information contained in the filing. Thales was prime contractor on the sale of the frigates, which were built by DCN.

A Muslim's GOoD perspective on book ban...

FOR a long time/dime, I haven't had a conversation with a Blogger named Walski, so here's some ketchUPing wit' a GOoD post for sharing, AP assumed among BUMmers, YES! -- YL, Desi
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Opinion Poll: Censorship & Suppression of Ideas

Technorati tags: 
Unless you’ve been living under a rock without Internet, you would have heard by now the problems that ZI Publications has had with the “law”… Not civil law, but Selangor Syariah law. It’s a reminder that we are, after all, living in 1Apartheid.
The Legion of Silencers has once again struck, it would seem…
Long story short, Irshad Manji’s “Allah, Liberty & Love”, and it’s Bahasa Malaysia translation, “Allah, Kebebasan & Cinta”, have been banned by the Malaysian government, although no gazette has been officially issued as yet.
This is the latest is the long standing tradition of banning things in Malaysia, something that some of our fellow Malaysians seem to be proud of. And of course, when things like this happen, you know that a myAsylum poll can’t be too far away.
The pretext of this latest banning, as with many others before it: protection of Islam and Muslims. And it is because what Irshad Manji writes about. And believe it or not, what she writes about is about MORE than just sex, something what most Malaysians have been led to believe the book is about.
Frankly, Walski has not read the book – yet – so he can’t tell you exactly what it is about. It is a safe bet that those who have been instrumental in the book’s banning have not read it either. But based on what he surmises, sex is NOT the central topic, and very likely NOT a topic at all.
In fact, why don’t we do away with supposition and hearsay, for once, and find out what the chapter topics in the book are:
  • Introduction: From Anger to Aspiration
  • Chapter 1: Some Things are More Important than Fear
  • Chapter 2: Identity Can Trap You, But Integrity Will Set You Free
  • Chapter 3: Culture is Not Sacred
  • Chapter 4: You Define Your Honor
  • Chapter 5: Offense is the Price of Diversity
  • Chapter 6: In Times of Moral Crisis, Moderation is a Cop-Out
  • Chapter 7: Lack of Meaning is The Real Death Threat
And perhaps most “shocking” of all, Recipe: Irshaddering Chai Tea (which follows after Chapter 7).
So far, thankfully, the MCMC has not ordered’s site to be blocked, and it is quite easily accessible, so go verify the table of contents for yourself, since the “majority” of Malaysians probably view Walski as nothing but a lying bastard not worthy of being believed.
Funny, but Walski couldn’t find one single mention of the word sex in the table of contents. Or perhaps it was the new offensive word in the book’s title that got the clerics’ panties in a bundle: liberty.
(the poll, its details, and more, in the full post)
In any case, back to the poll – this time around, you get to pick THREE (3) choices out of the list given. Or suggest your own answer, reflecting what you think.
Not what you reckon the government wants to achieve, but WHAT YOU THINK. It may come as a surprise to you, but here at myAsylum you are allowed to express what you really think, unlike in most parts of real-world Malaysia.
As with other polls before this, you can share this poll via your Blogger blog (by clicking the icon below the poll, located at the sidebar on the right), or if your blogging platform of choice is Wordpress, you can use the shortcode [polldaddy poll="6256206"]. On other platforms, drop Walski a line via the comments and he’ll provide you the codes you need.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Being that Walski has been labeled a “liberal” by most quarters, and being that these days, being a liberal is deemed to be a bigger sin than murder and rape, it would be a good idea for you to tell your friends of ALL orientations to participate in this poll. Only because Walski DOES want to know the opinions of everyone, and not just the opinions of like-minded people. Yes, we liberals are strange that way.
The poll will be open until Midnight, Sunday, June 10, 2012, after which Walski will announce the results, and throw in some of his personal thoughts and analysis.
Don’t worry: your opinions and how you vote are actually anonymous to Walski, so please participate in the poll according to how you actually feel, and be honest with yourself. Honesty is what Walski expects, nothing more, nothing less…

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Read more: myAsylum: Opinion Poll: Censorship & Suppression of Ideas

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Belated sighting of Education article from BBC worth reading -- Malaysian leaders, please take note!

TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGING,as Bob Dylan chanted as his 60s anthem. Our Malaysian leaders and IGPs should also stop yelling the cliched threat: You Communist, don't disturb our democrazee system! It's worthw'ile2 you surf to:

China: The world's cleverest country?

Pupils in Yuexi county, Anhui province This is the most extensive insight into how China's school standards compare with other countries
China's results in international education tests - which have never been published - are "remarkable", says Andreas Schleicher, responsible for the highly-influential Pisa tests.
These tests, held every three years by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, measure pupils' skills in reading, numeracy and science.
Pisa tests - the Programme for International Student Assessment - have become the leading international benchmark.
The findings indicate that China has an education system that is overtaking many Western countries.
While there has been intense interest in China's economic and political development, this provides the most significant insight into how it is teaching the next generation.
'Incredible resilience'
The Pisa 2009 tests showed that Shanghai was top of the international education rankings.
But it was unclear whether Shanghai and another chart-topper, Hong Kong, were unrepresentative regional showcases.
Andreas Schleicher, OECDThe OECD's Andreas Schleicher: "Fairness and relevance are not the same thing"
Mr Schleicher says the unpublished results reveal that pupils in other parts of China are also performing strongly.
"Even in rural areas and in disadvantaged environments, you see a remarkable performance."
In particular, he said the test results showed the "resilience" of pupils to succeed despite tough backgrounds - and the "high levels of equity" between rich and poor pupils.
"Shanghai is an exceptional case - and the results there are close to what I expected. But what surprised me more were the results from poor provinces that came out really well. The levels of resilience are just incredible.
"In China, the idea is so deeply rooted that education is the key to mobility and success."
Investing in the future
The results for disadvantaged pupils would be the envy of any Western country, he says.
Mr Schleicher is confident of the robustness of this outline view of China's education standards.
In an attempt to get a representative picture, tests were taken in nine provinces, including poor, middle-income and wealthier regions.
Nanjing high schoolHigh school students shout slogans such as "I must go to college" in a pre-exam event in Nanjing
The Chinese government has so far not allowed the OECD to publish the actual data.
But Mr Schleicher says the results reveal a picture of a society investing individually and collectively in education.
On a recent trip to a poor province in China, he says he saw that schools were often the most impressive buildings.
He says in the West, it is more likely to be a shopping centre.
"You get an image of a society that is investing in its future, rather than in current consumption."
There were also major cultural differences when teenagers were asked about why people succeeded at school.
"North Americans tell you typically it's all luck. 'I'm born talented in mathematics, or I'm born less talented so I'll study something else.'
"In Europe, it's all about social heritage: 'My father was a plumber so I'm going to be a plumber'.
"In China, more than nine out of 10 children tell you: 'It depends on the effort I invest and I can succeed if I study hard.'
"They take on responsibility. They can overcome obstacles and say 'I'm the owner of my own success', rather than blaming it on the system."
Education's World Cup
This year will see another round of Pisa tests - it's like World Cup year for international education. And Mr Schleicher's tips for the next fast-improving countries are Brazil, Turkey and Poland.


Pisa tests are taken by 15-year-olds in reading, maths and science. Previous leaders in these subjects:
  • 2000: Finland, Japan, South Korea
  • 2003: Finland, Hong Kong, Finland
  • 2006: South Korea, Taipei, Finland
  • 2009: Shanghai, Shanghai, Shanghai
Mr Schleicher, a German based in the OECD's Paris headquarters, has become the godfather of such global education comparisons.
Armed with a spreadsheet and an impeccably polite manner, his opinions receive close attention in the world's education departments.
The White House responded to the last Pisa results with President Barack Obama's observation that the nation which "out-educates us today will out-compete us tomorrow".
The next round of global league tables will test 500,000 pupils in more than 70 countries - with the results to be published late next year.
Education ministers will be looking nervously at the outcome.
"In the past, politicians could always say we're doing better than last year - everyone could be a success," he says, describing the tendency for national results to rise each year.
The arrival of Pisa tests sent an icy draught through these insulated corridors.
No excuses
Perhaps the biggest discomfort of all was for Germany - where "Pisa shock" described the discovery that their much vaunted education system was distinctly average.
HelsinkiFinland was the education world leader in rankings a decade ago
And the biggest change in attitude, he says, has been the United States - once with no interest in looking abroad, now enthusiastically borrowing ideas from other countries.
"Education is a field dominated by beliefs and traditions, it's inward looking. As a system you can find all kinds of excuses and explanations for not succeeding.
"The idea of Pisa was to take away all the excuses.
"People say you can only improve an education system over 25 years - but look at Poland and Singapore, which have improved in a very short time, we've seen dramatic changes."
The biggest lesson of the Pisa tests, he says, is showing there is nothing inevitable about how schools perform.
"Poverty is no longer destiny. You can see this at the level of economies, such as South Korea, Singapore."
Fair comparison?
A criticism of such rankings has been that it is unfair. How can an impoverished developing country be compared with the stockpiled multiple advantages of a wealthy Scandinavian nation?
Here Mr Schleicher makes a significant distinction. It might not be fair, but such comparisons are extremely relevant. "Relevance and fairness are not the same thing," he says.
South Korea Samsung launchSouth Korea is identified by the OECD as an example how education can drive economic growth
Youngsters in the poorest countries are still competing in a global economy. "It's a terrible thing to take away the global perspective."
He also attacks the idea of accepting lower expectations for poorer children - saying this was the "big trap in the 1970s".
"It was giving the disadvantaged child an excuse - you come from a poor background, so we'll lower the horizon for you, we'll make it easier.
"But that child has still got to compete in a national labour market.
"This concept of 'fairness' is deeply unfair - because by making life easier for children from difficult circumstances, we lower their life chances."
'Sorting mechanism'
So why are the rising stars in Asia proving so successful?
Mr Schleicher says it's a philosophical difference - expecting all pupils to make the grade, rather than a "sorting mechanism" to find a chosen few.
He says anyone can create an education system where a few at the top succeed, the real challenge is to push through the entire cohort.
In China, he says this means using the best teachers in the toughest schools.
The shifting in the balance of power will be measured again with Pisa 2012, with pupils sitting tests from Stockholm to Seoul, London to Los Angeles, Ankara to Adelaide.
"I don't think of Pisa as being about ranking, it tells you what's possible. How well could we be doing?"

More on This Story


YES, belatedly3 ketchUP can? Do I need thy AP to do so? Get the hear/here of of Hell if your answer is YES! ~~ YL, DEsi, knottyaSsusual

How China is winning the school race

Henry Chau, Lily Yue and Amelia Bian, now studying in London, talk about the culture of learning in China
China's education performance - at least in cities such as Shanghai and Hong Kong - seems to be as spectacular as the country's breakneck economic expansion, outperforming many more advanced countries.
But what is behind this success?
Eyebrows were raised when the results of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's international maths, science and reading tests - the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) tests - were published.
Shanghai, taking part for the first time, came top in all three subjects.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong which was performing well in the last decade of British rule, has gone from good to great. In this global ranking, it came fourth in reading, second in maths and third in science.
These two Chinese cities - there was no national ranking for China - had outstripped leading education systems around the world.
The results for Beijing, not yet released, are not quite as spectacular. "But they are still high," says Andreas Schleicher, the OECD's head of education statistics and indicators.
Cheng Kai-Ming, Professor of Education at Hong Kong University, and closely involved in the Hong Kong and Shanghai tests, puts the results down to "a devotion to education not shared by some other cultures".
Competitive exams
More than 80% of Shanghai's older secondary students attend after-school tutoring. They may spend another three to four hours each day on homework under close parental supervision.


Hong Kong school
The World Bank has looked at the distinguishing features of successful school systems.
According to the World Bank's education specialist, Harry Patrinos, this includes: improving the quality of teachers and making sure that teachers are highly regarded; providing information to make schools accountable and giving autonomy to schools and head teachers.
Putting money into the system does not necessarily lead to better results.
This matters not only for individual pupils but for the well-being of countries, he says, because improving educational performance has a direct impact on improving economic performance.
Successful school systems include Finland and South Korea.
Such diligence also reflects the ferociously competitive university entrance examinations.
"Not all Chinese parents are 'tiger mothers'," insists Prof Cheng. "But certainly they are devoted to their children's education."
Certainly both these open and outward-looking cities set great store by education, willing to adopt the best educational practices from around the world to ensure success. In Hong Kong, education accounts for more than one-fifth of entire government spending every year.
"Shanghai and Hong Kong are small education systems, virtually city states, with a concentration of ideas, manpower and resources for education," says Prof Cheng.
The innovation in these cities is not shared by other parts of China - not even Beijing, he says.
Under the banner "First class city, first class education", Shanghai set about systematically re-equipping classrooms, upgrading schools and revamping the curriculum in the last decade.
It got rid of the "key schools" system which concentrated resources only on top students and elite schools. Instead staff were trained in more interactive teaching methods and computers were brought in.
Showcase schools
The city's schools are now a showcase for the country. About 80% of Shanghai school leavers go to university compared to an overall average of 24% in China.
Terracotta tennis playersChanging China: Terracotta warriors appear as tennis players in Shanghai
Meanwhile, dynamic Hong Kong was forced into educational improvements as its industries moved to cheaper mainland Chinese areas in the 1990s. Its survival as a service and management hub for China depended on upgrading knowledge and skills.
In the last decade Hong Kong has concentrated on raising the bar and closing the gap or "lifting the floor" for all students, says a report by McKinsey management consultants.
The report, How the World's Most Improved School Systems Keep Getting Better, rated Hong Kong's education system among the best in the world.
But Hong Kong schools are undergoing another huge reform, lopping off the final year of secondary school and instead moving towards four-year university degrees from 2012 to align it with China.
Abandoning the old British model is a gamble and no-one knows how it will play out in terms of quality.
Top teachers
However, Hong Kong believes it has laid solid, unshakeable foundations.


Shanghai, Yuyuan Gardens
  • Shanghai took first place in the OECD's global school rankings for reading, maths and science
  • The city of 21 million has 1% of China's population and generates 12.5% of the country's income
  • 84% of teenagers go on to higher education
  • 80% of pupils have after-school tutors
  • There are now more than 200,000 overseas people in Shanghai, particularly from Japan, US and South Korea
"In the late 1990s we moved to all-graduate [teachers]. If we want to have high achievement, subject expertise is very important for secondary schools," said Catherine KK Chan, deputy secretary for education in the Hong Kong government.
Hong Kong, like Singapore, now recruits teachers from the top 30% of the graduate cohort. By contrast, according to the OECD, the US recruits from the bottom third.
Shanghai recruits teachers more broadly. But it is already a select group.
Shanghai controls who lives and works in the city through China's notorious "houkou" or permanent residency system, allowing only the best and the brightest to become residents with access to jobs and schools.
"For over 50 years Shanghai has been accumulating talent, the cream of the cream in China. That gives it an incredible advantage," says Ruth Heyhoe, former head of the Hong Kong Institute of Education, now at the University of Toronto.
Migrant children
The OECD's Mr Schleicher believes teacher training has played a part in Shanghai's success, with higher-performing teachers mentoring teachers from lower-performing schools, to raise standards across the board.
Apple store ShanghaiRising schools mirror a booming economy: Shanghai's new Apple store opened last month
"What is striking about Shanghai is that there is quite a large socio-economic variability in the student population, but it does not play out in terms of its Pisa results," said Mr Schleicher.
"Some people have even suggested we did not include Shanghai's fairly large immigration population. Around 5.1% of the population are migrants from rural areas. Their children are definitely included," he said.
Last year Shanghai claimed to be the first Chinese city to provide free schooling for all migrant children. This year migrants outnumbered Shanghai-born children for the first time in state primary schools, making up 54% of the intake.
Prof Cheng agrees the Pisa results reflect a broad cross section. However the majority of migrant children are below 15 - the age at which the tests for international comparisons are taken. It is also the age of transfer to senior secondaries.
"If they were allowed to attend senior secondary schools in the city, the results would be very different," said Prof Cheng.
Even now "to some extent, where people are born largely determines their chances of educational success", said Gu Jun, a professor of sociology at Shanghai university.
Their societies are changing rapidly and for both Shanghai and Hong Kong, being top might prove to be easier than staying there.