Master the English language to be world class


By Hussaini Abdul Karim
August 27, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

AUG 27 — It is very pleasing and most delightful to the ears to hear many non-Malay Malaysians, both young and old (except maybe some of the older ones) speaking and writing in perfect Bahasa Malaysia, some without even a hint of an accent whatsoever, in the case of the former.

The country’s New Education Policy to switch from English to Bahasa Malaysia introduced and implemented in the early 70s must have done wonders. With the introduction of new laws, rules and regulations, the policy makers have found a very effective way to teach the national language which is now widely used and accepted throughout the country at every level including in the home.

Fast forward to the new millennium. While we have won over the people in terms of Bahasa Malaysia, we have now lost a big asset i.e., the ability of many Malaysians, graduates included, to speak and write proper English. In a way, our New Education Policy has backfired.

People all over the world, in the 60s and the early 70s, especially from English-speaking countries, poured praise and compliments every time a Malaysian spoke or wrote in English at international seminars, forums and discussions, including at the United Nations, and allowed Malaysian representatives to hold important positions because of our excellent language skills. Now, however, things have changed, for the worse.

Knowing the advantages of mastering more than one language, Malaysians need to re-learn English and what’s best other than to start from young, i.e. at the primary school or even kindergarten level. In order to master the English language the way our people did before, it has to be learnt the same way and there’s no short cut to it.

Of course, I am not suggesting that new laws, rules and regulations are introduced like how our policy makers once did when they wanted us to learn Bahasa Malaysia. Our policy makers and the people at the Ministry of Education know how a language can be taught effectively to achieve a very high fluency level, so let the use of English by all be free-flowing, for official, non-official and social use, and teach it the way Bahasa Malaysia is being taught now.

Besides that, many concerned Malaysians, including myself, have sent in useful and practical ideas, suggestions and proposals on the teaching and learning of the English language. If need be, re-introduce the English medium schools and recall all our excellent and experienced language teachers in addition to training some of our teachers to be excellent language teachers.

This will make Malaysians bi-lingual and instantly, we will increase the ‘value’ of our people with this additional asset. We can then ‘attack’ the world again like how our people did before and we can see many more Malaysians being accepted for jobs overseas and not only in the country, which is seen as among the several direct advantages that our people, especially graduates, will enjoy.

So, the powers that be; let’s not wait any longer and make a decision on English fast and stop dillydallying.

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  1. #1 by bruno on Saturday, 27 August 2011 - 10:03 pm

    This Umno led GOM is stupid to the rotten core,with it’s little sibblings Mca,Mic and Gerakan in tow.They are over their heads with these stupid Malay supremacy mentality.Once when English was the most important language used widely in the educational and business world,it scrapped the English language down to a couple of subjects.

    Many decades ago,even the kampong Malays could foresee that the Chinese language was important to their children’s livelihood.Many Malays even send their children to Chinese schools to learn the Chinese language.Now just look at foreigners scrambling to get into China for the leftover crumbs.Asians were the first to get into China.

    How many of our smart asses of Umno ministers and politicians see this phenomena coming.How many of these smart asses send their children to Chinese schools.No wonder our educational systems have gone to the dogs.

  2. #2 by monsterball on Saturday, 27 August 2011 - 10:57 pm

    It is very easy for Malaysian children to master the National language because we have tons of qualified Bahasa teachers…and so you read and note the results.
    But all these so call qualified teachers cannot teach English for they themselves are not taught.
    Why is it so difficult to teach children Bahasa an English at the same time?
    Because we don’t have by-lingual Muslim teachers and to do that…only the Malaysian Indians and Chinese can fill in the gap…and that goes against UMNO B race and religion policy.
    Something takes 10 years to do..leave it to UMNO B dragging in for decades…focusing how to in votes first..with race and religion as the forefront runner.
    Change the government…you will see the differences….all benefiting the country and people.

  3. #3 by tak tahan on Sunday, 28 August 2011 - 12:14 am

    monsterball,you’re absolutely right and no doubt about it.Our gomen is very kiasu la as you can read and understand so like Lufti and cintanegaara’s statements.They may be blind and stupid but also could be cunning and evil..in thinking and deeds

  4. #4 by waterfrontcoolie on Sunday, 28 August 2011 - 12:18 am

    I believe any language can be mastered; my girl studied in the Chinese primary school but we made her read English books, she was able to master Engish, Chinese and Bahasa without problem. She it through LSE doing maths & econometrics. My hope is for parents to help out [ of course I meant thsoe who could ]; just concentrate on languages and Maths; the rest are all learning subjects; when your language/s are good coupled with Maths, the rest as they say is history!

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 28 August 2011 - 12:51 am

    This has nothing to do with practical importance of mastering English. It has even nothing to do with Malaysian’s slowing economic performance in earlier thread. As Greg Lopez said, it has everything to do with the priority being placed on the Ketuanan ideology where vast sections have their vested interests to do well over the rest and which politically it is expedient to maintain power – to which everything else, including 1 Malaysia, will rank second and lower priorities, an a price and cost accepted! One can debate with all the force of logic and facts till the cows come home but it will not change anything because vested & self interest is overarching priority and that is the reality.

  6. #6 by Lutfi on Sunday, 28 August 2011 - 5:41 am

    Mr Tak Tahan. I dont mind to be called stupid and blind by u. But u are so coward. U failed to response to my reply on the previous posting about the church issue and here u are calling me stupid. I dont have any comment on this language issue bcos I myself believe that mastering English is a great advantage. To Mr Tak Tahan, it is not enough to just call me stupid. Prove it.

  7. #7 by monsterball on Sunday, 28 August 2011 - 8:26 am

    Lufti….no need for tak tahan to prove anything to you.
    Your many comments are truly stupid because you keep putting out one sided nonsense and you yourself ask others to prove BN is no good..this and that.
    You talk like UMNO B is good forever and ever as our government..and that’s real stupid.

  8. #8 by boh-liao on Sunday, 28 August 2011 - 10:22 am

    Actually UmnoB/BN not dat stupid, very smart, calculative n selfish 1
    UmnoB/BNputras knew d importance of being proficient in English n Mandarin
    Their own children n grandchildren mostly in international schools locally or overseas, n then in overseas universities, all can speak Queen’s English very well 1
    BUT UmnoB/BN no want local common rakyat, especially rural Malays n Bumis, 2 b proficient in English, only want them 2 b proficient in BM so dat they (a) read Utusan M n Berita Harian n remain slaves n fixed deposits of UmnoB, (b) remain unemployable or under employed n dependent on UmnoB
    Animal Farm mah, UmnoB/BN r d supreme pigs controlling other animals lor

  9. #9 by boh-liao on Sunday, 28 August 2011 - 10:41 am

    UmnoB/BN not interested 2 b world class, just only interested in holding on 2 power here forever n 2 jiak, jiak, jiak 2 b super-rich n 2 live happily ever after

  10. #10 by k1980 on Sunday, 28 August 2011 - 11:11 am

    //re-introduce the English medium schools and recall all our excellent and experienced language teachers in addition to training some of our teachers to be excellent language teachers.//

    Hussaini, wake up man. The above is just a pipe dream. There are simply not enough teachers fluent in English to carry out the above task. At present, less than 5% of the teachers in rural schools can “talk white man”. ( Even less can understand “white man” ) Training the remaining 95% will take up at least half a century.

    Where to find the remainder 95% of teachers to teach in the re-introduce the English medium schools? And remember, you are talking about rural schools here. How many of the teachers living in urban areas are willing to relocate to the ulu? Already they are complaining when transferred to less than 30 km from their homes.

  11. #11 by undertaker888 on Sunday, 28 August 2011 - 3:43 pm

    blame it on mamak the killer of everything. also all the education ministers. all are obsessed with ketuanan melayu. in the end they all become slaves. the only thing they can depend on is corruption to stay ahead while praying five times a day. thats their ketuanan. ketuanan bodoh dan sempit.

  12. #12 by Godfather on Sunday, 28 August 2011 - 4:03 pm

    Who is complaining ? Our standard of “England” is so good that we can have 20 domestic universities, all producing graduates that can speak “England”. It’s the standard that most Malaysians understand, so why the need to complain ? In contrast, our friend Cintanegara speaks bombastic England that the kampung folks don’t quite understand.

  13. #13 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 28 August 2011 - 11:45 pm

    No, no, no !!! No need to master the Orang Puteh’s language.

    Bahasa Melayu is enough for the Malays as they are not going anywhere. They are all very happy in 1Malaysia Persekutuan Tanah Melayu so they don’t need anything else. They only need ‘mono’. The government will take care of them and guarantee them 30%, 43%, 51% or whatever.

    It is those who want to go overseas, migrate, work, seek greener pastures that need to be multilingual / stereo.

  14. #14 by johnnypok on Tuesday, 30 August 2011 - 3:05 am

    A high standard of both English and Chinese is needed in order to survive in a globalized world.
    If Sabah and Sarawak pull out and adopt Singapore system, or form a new nation with Singapore and Brunei, Malaya will collapse in no time.

  15. #15 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 30 August 2011 - 9:36 am

    How to master English when we have only 5 periods of English at secondary level per week? As far as English teachers go, there are of course some who are competent and others incompetent who need to be taught English themselves. Ultimately one has to take the holistic view – which is even good English teachers & 10 periods of English a week are by themselves not sufficient to help the cause of mastering English. It is currency, generality, frequency of an exposure to usage, written and oral, not just in schools but also at home and larger society. Those who use more of it are competent and vice versa in case who hardly use it or have opportunities to do so. To improve English standards there must be, at policy level, affirmtive encouragement for and steps taken to increase uage at all levels (not just in schools alone, though that is also necessary).

  16. #16 by rockdaboat on Wednesday, 31 August 2011 - 1:10 pm

    Polis = Police (Mata-mata shot dead?)
    Hospital = Hospital (Rumah Sakit burned down?)
    Komunikasi = Communication
    Intigrasi = Integration
    Kualiti = Quality
    Quisen = Cuisine

    Etc Etc Etc

    Yes, MASTER the English language!

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