English-Medium Islamic Schools

by M. Bakri Musa

The Minister of Education will soon decide whether to continue the teaching of science and mathematics in English in our schools. That decision will not materially change the continuing decline in educational achievements of Malays.

This harsh reality is the consequence of our national schools – the default choice for most Malays – being abysmal failures. Most non-Malays as well as affluent Malays are fully aware of this and thus have long ago abandoned the system. Observe the steady stream of school buses and private cars full of young non-Malays heading south on the causeway every school-day morning. As for affluent Malays, ask where Najib Razak and Hishammuddin Hussein send their children for their education!

In today’s economy, the most advantaged are those with high science literacy and mathematical skills, as well as being fluent in more than one language, with one of those languages being English, the language of commerce and science. Fluency in English is no panacea of course; a visit to India and the Philippines will quickly disabuse us of that assumption.

The next most advantaged will be those fluent only in English. The least advantaged would be those literate in only one language, and that language is other than English. This unfortunately is the fate of Malays today.

While one could attain high levels of science literacy and mathematical skills without knowing English, that is true only if one’s primary language is Japanese, German, or any of the other already developed languages. It is not true for Swahili or Urdu. It is definitely not true for Malay, no matter how passionately our language nationalists assert to the contrary. Even with those Germans and Japanese, the crucial point often overlooked is that they are also literate in English. Japanese children for example, learn English right from kindergarten.

These educational deficiencies of Malays are long standing; they cannot be solved through expensive investments in facilities and personnel alone.

The problem is most critical, and equally most difficult to overcome, with rural Malays. The cultural, intellectual, language and other ambience at home and in the community are not conducive to these children lifting themselves out of their trapped environment. They need help desperately. To effectively do so, our leaders must be daring and exceptionally innovative; resorting to pat answers would not do our students justice.

English Schools in Rural Areas

In my earlier books I proposed setting up English schools in the kampongs. It makes sense to begin there as those Malays are the ones with the lowest proficiency in English, and thus would benefit most from such an initiative. With their already high usage of Malay at home and in the community, these pupils would not likely “forget” their native tongue if they were to attend these exclusively-English schools.

This is not a novel or risky social experiment, rather the resurrecting and improving of an old successful one. That was how Malays of my and earlier generations received our education. And as Tun Mahathir noted, we have not become any less Malay for the experience. Nor have we degenerated into “brown Mat Sallehs,” the expressed mortal fear of the nationalists. Indeed that was how those ardent defenders of Malay language as Nik Safiah and Hussein Ismail received their education and enhanced their intellectual development. Now they want to deny today’s young Malays – their grandchildren – the very same opportunities that they had enjoyed and benefited from.

While my proposal would be an improvement over the present system, there are problems with its implementation. Politically, there could be similar demands for such schools to be set up elsewhere, especially in areas where the background level of Malay in the community is low. Then we could potentially end up with situation akin to the bad colonial days where students would be fluent in English but at the expense of their proficiency in Malay. That would be unacceptable as Malay is now our national language. Further, it would divert resources and personnel away from rural areas, where the need is most desperate.

Then there is the ire of the nationalists. They would go ballistic seeing those village children heartily singing Baa Baa Black Sheep instead of Nyet Nyet Semut, fearing the cultural and other “polluting” influences on our young. Telling them that those children would continue singing our melodious Malay lullabies at home would not reassure these nationalists.

A more practical problem would be in getting good teachers to serve in rural areas, although this could be alleviated through generous incentives like higher bonuses and providing living quarters. Not readily surmountable would be that such schools would necessarily be small; hence their academic offerings would be limited.

English-language Islamic Schools

To bypass these problems, I propose setting up English-medium Islamic schools. Again I am not suggesting anything radical here, merely extending an already successful experiment. I am simply proposing that the successful formula of the International Islamic University (IIU) be extended down to the school level.

Like IIU, these Islamic schools would use English as the medium of instruction, be open to all, and teach religious as well as “secular” subjects. These schools could be set up anywhere, not just in rural areas. Consequently they could be in major towns and thus be of sufficient size to offer a varied and rich curriculum.

In fact IIU already has its Islamic School, also using English as the medium of instruction. Unfortunately its curriculum and pedagogical philosophy are more madrasah-like, the antithesis of a modern educational institution even though the school prepares its students for the GCE “A” examination. The emphasis at that school is on students learning the rituals of Islam and memorizing the Quran. I would prefer that those be done outside the classroom.

The Islamic school I have in mind would be modeled after the many excellent Christian – in particular Catholic – schools in America. Their academic standing is such that they are the first choice for many non-Christians, including Muslims. These schools are first and foremost academic institutions, concerned primarily with education. They are interested in making their students better citizens, not on producing future priests or on proselytizing.

These schools regularly matriculate their students to highly competitive universities to become engineers and doctors. Only a tiny fraction, if any, would end up in the clergy. Likewise, my version of Islamic schools would produce Malaysia’s future scientists and scholars. These schools are not meant to produce converts to Islam or turn students into ulama.

There are now many such Islamic schools in America, and their number is rapidly growing such that the University of California, Irvine, currently offers a teachers’ credentialing certificate in Islamic Education. Ultimately these schools would lead to the establishment of an English-medium Islamic University modeled after and of the caliber of Georgetown. Meaning, they would offer solid liberal education in a rigorous academic environment but with an Islamic ambience, akin to the Catholicism of Georgetown.

A more local but historical model of my Islamic school would be our old missionary schools. They did a credible job in educating many Malaysians, including our present Minister of Education Hishammuddin. Just substitute their Christianity for Islam.

English-medium Islamic schools in Malaysia would overcome many of the problems associated with my earlier suggestion of having English schools in rural areas. For one, such schools could be set up in urban areas and thus be of sufficient size to offer a rich and varied curriculum. There would also be fewer difficulties in recruiting teachers.

While English would be the medium of instruction, Arabic (and with it jawi) would be taught as a second language. Islamic Studies would be taught in English, but the emphasis there should be on teaching it as an academic subject, not as theology.

In a typical seven-period day, one period would be devoted to Arabic and another to Islamic Studies. The remaining five would be for regular or “secular” subjects, including English, science, and mathematics. Science and mathematics would be taught as per the current understanding, and not as some presumed “Islamic” variant. The curriculum must include the performing arts, and the extracurricular programs robust and varied to include sports.

The emphasis should be on solid liberal education and critical thinking. Literature for example would be taught not only as a means of learning the language but also to develop the students’ critical faculties, as per Louise Rosenblatt’s “Literature as Exploration” philosophy. Students would be discussing Shakespeare’s sonnets as well as Rumi’s rhymes.

Using English would go a long way in disabusing Malays of the negative psychological connotation associated with learning that language. We would no longer view English as the language of colonials and infidels but as a necessary intellectual tool. For another, such schools would truly educate their students, teaching them to think critically as well as imparting to them modern skills and knowledge. Far too often what goes on in existing Islamic schools is nothing more than indoctrination – masquerading as education.

Properly executed, these schools would attract students from abroad, especially the Middle East. These schools could be viable business investments as well as contribute to making Malaysia an educational hub.

Since these schools are open to all, they should get state support. There is precedent for this; the old Christian missionary schools also received governmental funding. Additionally such schools should get a generous slice of the huge zakat and wakaf endowments. I would also impose a surcharge of RM100 for every Hajj and umrah ticket towards funding these schools.

As can be readily seen, my version of the Islamic school is very different from the current Sekolah Kebangsaan Agama (SKA). Apart from differences in admission policy and language of instruction (SKA admits only Muslims and uses Malay), there would also be profound differences in mission and teaching philosophy. SKA aspires to nurture future pendakwah (missionaries), and like IIU’s version, is more madrasah than a modern educational institution.

My proposal transcends politics; it is also be a splendid way to initiate conversations between Malay leaders in the various parties for the betterment of our people. This dialogue is desperately needed as our leaders are determined to go their separate and divisive ways. They seem intent on erasing any commonality of objectives in the relentless pursuit of their political goals.

English-medium Islamic schools may prove to be the effective avenue to propel Malays up the educational ladder. The Islamic imprimatur always sells. Our language nationalists would not dare oppose such schools even if English were to be the medium of instruction. We should capitalize on this. These schools could be the salvation for Malays, just as Catholic schools were for impoverished and marginalized Irish immigrants in America at the turn of the last century.

These are the issues I expect Hishammuddin and his senior officers at the Ministry of Education to deliberate on, not flip flopping on major policies. That they are not doing so is a gross dereliction of duty. Unfortunately it is our young who bear the terrible burden of this negligence.

  1. #1 by BNseedell on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 12:06 am

    When most of us are worrying and debating about our Malaysian education systems and standards, other countries are moving fast forward in upgrading their education systems and developments. Soon, many private colleages in Malaysia may have to either fold up or look for investors to buy them over.

    I obtained the following information from a Malaysian friend (a male Bumiputra) who is woking in Doha, Qatar. I am pleased to share these information here with reference to M. Bakri Musa’s latest entry.

    A lot of people used to travel to the US or to the UK in order to get a recommended degree. However now that Qatar has developed so much, a lot of people are traveling to Qatar! The level of education is quite high and it’s setting the standard for higher level education in the Middle East.

    Qatar is developing it’s Education City. What’s unique about this is that it’s essentially a 2,500 sq. ft. campus that integrates various universities together. Universities include, Virginia Commonwealth, Weill Cornell Medical College, Texas A&M, Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, Calgary, and the Qatar Academy.

    Almost all Qataris profess Islam. Besides ethnic Arabs, much of the population migrated from various nations to work in the country’s oil industry. Arabic serves as the official language. However, English as well as many other languages like Hindi, Malayalam, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, and Persian are widely spoken in Qatar.

    Surprisingly, many local Qataris have never objected openly to the setting up of foreign schools in Qatar as they are very open-minded and far-sighted.

    It’s high time our Minister of Education looks and thinks out of the square box (i.e. Malaysia) and see how other small nations are advancing in the field of education.

    Listed below are the types of learning institutions currently in operation in Qatar. From the names you can know how open is the government of Qatar as far as education is concerned:

    Nursery List:

    Busy Bees Nursery
    Central English Speaking
    Elder Tree Nursery
    French Nursery
    Lifetime Nursery
    Lifetime Centre
    Little Angels Nursery
    Mary Poppins Nursery
    Starfish Lane Kids
    Sunbeam Kindergarten
    Tots Corner Nursery

    Primary and Secondary Schools List:

    Al Jazeera Academy
    Al Khor International
    American Academy
    American School of Doha
    Aspire Academy
    Bangladesh MHM
    Birla Public
    Bright Future Pakistan
    Compass International
    Doha College Primary
    Doha College Secondary
    Doha English Speaking School
    Montesorri British School
    DPS Modern Indian School
    French School
    Ideal Indian School
    Lebanese School
    MES India School
    Newton International
    Pakistan Education Centre
    Park Shama School
    Philippine School of Doha
    Philippine International
    QAFCO Norwegian School
    Qatar Academy
    Qatar Canadian School
    Qatar International School
    Qatar Leadership Academy
    Shantiniketan Indian School
    Summit Academy
    Int’l School of Choueifat
    The Cambridge School
    Cambridge International
    The English Modern School
    The Gulf English School
    Japanese School
    Iranian School
    Jordanian School

    Academic Organizations and Learning Centres List:

    Berlitz Language Centre
    British Council
    Cedars Tutoring Centre
    Educational Hearing School
    English Language Centre
    French Cultural Centre
    International Centre of Music
    Intilaaqah Programme
    Qatar Foundation
    Qatar Science and Tech. Park
    Doha College Secondary
    Doha English Speaking School
    Shafallah Special Needs
    Sunbeam CentreofExcellence
    Supreme Education Council
    The Academic Bridge
    The Learning Center
    ACCA (Oxford Brookes / Ernst & Young)

    Universities and Higher Education List:

    Carnegie Mellon
    Qatar Foundation
    Aspire Academy
    Virginia Commonwealth
    Texas A & M
    Georgetown School of Foreign Services
    CHN University Netherlands
    University of Calgary
    College of the North Atlantic
    Qatar University
    Qatar Aeronautical College
    Weill Cornell Medical College

  2. #2 by storm62 on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 12:41 am

    aku tak cintanegara yg rasuah.

    aku tak cintanegara yg tak adil.

    aku tak cintanegara yg tak bertanggungjawab.

    aku tak cintanegara yg membunuh.

    aku tak cintanegara yg membohong.

    aku tak cintanegara yg menipu rakyat.

  3. #3 by storm62 on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 12:58 am

    aiya cintanegara,

    bila gua celebrate Wesak Day mana ada UMNO ucap Happy Wesak Day ?

    bila gua celebrate Nine Emperor God, adakah UMNO ucap Happy Makan Sayur sama gua?

    hari gawai kat sarawak, adakah UMNO ucap Happy Gawai day?

    gua mia kawan aneh celebrate Thaipusam, mana ada UMNO ucap Happy Thaipusam?

    lu bising2 buat apa. lu celebrate lu mia, gua celebrate gua mia ma.

    jangan main tembak2 saja.

  4. #4 by just a moment on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 3:01 am

    Still on this issue of English language thinggi? Anway, good write up Bakri Musa, at least good attempt to alleviate a chronic problem.
    I remembered yrs ago, one of my kid’s tuition teacher mention about English ‘subject’ in school.

    You know, English cannot be term as a subject like others to begin with and he continue.. English is a language, not a subject where you just self study hard, remember stuff like ‘math’s formula and then find yourself proficient in it. Wait… just,ponder,and think about it before you disagree..

    Meanwhile, I had brought some self taught German language books and tapes before. Well, my 2 months lessons were pretty good until I ran out of avenue to used them. The point is, unless one has intention for long term plan that requires that language eg. someone to talk or engaged in works, forget about the stuff.
    I used to speak 4 dialects while growing up in Kampong. Now in city life for too long and lack of practice, I forgot how to communicate 2 other dialect though I still can understand a whitabit.

    Now, back to reality, since our country have everything to do with our ‘Big Bad Boys’ which not surprisingly have destroy almost the entire country’s avenue, eg, from every sports-with-politics, massive-national projects like Eon and MAS-with-politics, school education-with-politics, peaceful vigils-with-politics, now cycling-with-politics, alcohol-with-politics, what makes us think an English Islamic School is going to be “Non politics”? Sorry, Bakri Musa, don’t mean to pour cold water.

    Its not easy topic unless the hearts and minds are truly sincere and brutally honest about this issues, we’ll all be running and creating more circles. Bottom line.. Changed the Goment. No two ways about it. By that also, no garuantee, just jumping into fire, like the rest mentioned here.

  5. #5 by k1980 on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 10:12 am

    In Lat the kampung boy’s memoirs, he claimed that he could read English after just 2 years in Special Malay Class. How the hell there are still thousands of idiots who can’t read English after university (15 years of education)? Sumtin is wrong sumwhere

  6. #6 by cintanegara on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 10:46 am

    In the last posting, DAP highlighted plenty examples of gibberish English. Despite focusing solely on English, they seem not to be particularly interested in encouraging the community they represent to speak proper Bahasa Malaysia.

    After 51 successful years, we can still find serious grammatical errors throughout the daily conversation/writing. Sometimes we wonder DAP genuinely serious to improve the quality of BM, as the National Language.

    Below are the instances of ungrammatical BM used in everyday conversation.

    First instance

    Venue – service workshop (shoplot)

    Customer – Saya mahu servis dan tukar minyak hitam hari ini.

    Mechanic – Aiiya, ini hali wa tatak senang wo, keleta manyak….lu taluk sini lulu, petang lepas bikin lu boleh angkat mali la .

    (Correct Sentence – Minta maaf, pagi ini saya sibuk kerana kereta terlalu banyak. Awak letak kereta di sini dahulu dan petang nanti awak datang selepas diservis,)

    Second Instant

    lu bising2 buat apa. lu celebrate lu mia, gua celebrate gua mia ma.

  7. #7 by OrangRojak on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 11:42 am

    I wanted to point out earlier, but forgot, that referring to ‘Swahili’ or ‘Urdu’ as undeveloped might not be entirely fair. Bahasa Malaysia is only 40 years old: there are not many economic powerhouses in the world using Esperanto as their national language either.

    I don’t think the problem is entirely language: Bahasa Malaysia, and even Old Malay, Swahili and Urdu, while all being relatively modern developments in linguistic terms, do not have very rich histories (comparatively) in terms of recorded development. Urdu is possibly the odd one out, as it is descended from Sanskrit (according to wikipedia – oh the shame – I’m not a linguist, and too lazy to check references). The thing about the Indian sub-continent is that it does have a very long history, and a relatively well-recorded one.

    In my opinion, the length and breadth of a nation’s well-recognised history is of enormous value to its citizens, giving them a sense of position in the ‘great scheme of things’. India, for all its current problems, has a long history of contributing to global intellectual development. One should compare (perhaps starting from Ramanujan) the categories at wikipedia for “Indian mathematicians”, “Malaysian mathematicians” and “Indonesian mathematicians”.

    India (among others) played a large part in Malaysia’s history long before Islam first visited these shores, and I would like to see more widespread recognition of Malaysia’s longer history, rather than the truncated version espoused by Malaysia’s government in recent times.

  8. #8 by w2008 on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 12:14 pm

    Hi, everyone.

    If indian was here in malaya long before Islam visited here.

    And I supposed China visited here too before Islam visited here.

    How about we dig out the history to bargain with the goverment that actually Indian and Chinese was here before the Malay arrived here, so it should be Indian and Chinese get the speacial position first then they should be considered second

  9. #9 by w2008 on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 12:30 pm

    They know it very well the NEP and their special position is blocking this country progress.

    But they never want to discontinue it but insist it retain and not even a review for reduce their quota.

    They not interest for the country progress, they more interest easy money.

  10. #10 by AhPek on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 2:07 pm

    ‘……………………..,and I’ll like to see widespread recognition of Malaysia’s longer history,rather than the truncated version espoused by Malaysia’s in recent times.’. OrangRojak.

    And the reason they do that is to reinforce their assertion that besides Malays and the natives the rest are ‘pendatangs’,meaning the rest are new arrivals.The Malays unlike the Indians and Chinese are not pendatangs,and so this has to be reinforced by invoking this idea!
    So as the new version of Malaysian history goes,the Indians and chinese were brought in by the British as indentured labourers and labourers to work the tin mines somewhere in the mid-nineteenth century.Parameswara,the Indian hindu
    prince,who started the melaka sultanate has been made a malayHang Hang tuah is no longer mention anymore.As for Yap Ah Loy the founder of Kuala Lumpur,you now have another person,a Malay as the founder,to be politically correct .

  11. #11 by AhPek on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 2:11 pm

    correction: ‘………………………as indentured labourers and labourers to work the rubber plantations and tin mines …………………………….somewhere in the mid-nineteenth century.’.

  12. #12 by cintanegara on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 2:13 pm

    Dear Ah Pek,

    Would you kindly refer to my recent comment on the ungrammatical BM used in everyday conversation? I look forward to hearing your constructive views pertaining this. Hopefully, you don’t run away this time.


  13. #13 by AhPek on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 2:41 pm

    But as far as we understand,only the orang aslis are the original people in Peninsula Malaysia and kadazan-dusun,bajau,murut,suluk,iban,penan are the original people of East Malaysia,all the rest including the Malays are pendatangs!

  14. #14 by A true Malaysian on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 3:51 pm


    Before Ah Pek answers you, I wish to share my thought here.

    I think you should not regard people who are not fluent in BM as a ‘disgrace’ or ‘tidak cinta negara’. To me, so long as their ‘pasar BM’ can get their message across or communicate with Melayu, we should encourage them to do so instead of branding them ‘tidak cinta negara’. Mind you, these ‘cinapeks’ are the one who contribute positively in term of Malaysia’s economy unlike to ‘cintanegara’ people, who are fluent in BM, but a menace to the ‘our’ country.

    Another thing is that, I am still confused what BM stands for. Is it Bahasa Melayu or Bahasa Malaysia or Bahasa M…whatever? Even you guys are undecided on this and keep changing mind which term to be used so that that ‘Bahasa’ is ‘our Bahasa’, and we can be proud of it.

  15. #15 by AhPek on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 4:10 pm

    What do you mean run away there’s nothing to run away from such bland comment coming from you.That bahasa malaysia is pasar bahasa language market and this spoken market language as used by various communities with their inabilities to pronounce certain letters phonetically (unfortunately you have not given an example how the Indians speak pasar melayu)adds colour and flavour to the life of the nation,much like I speak engrand and orangrojak speaks british,and that’s why i pondered sometime ago how our 2 worlds can meet.
    For you who has no idea at all of the colourful tapestry of life as reflected in a multiracial nation has taken upon himself to correct their grammar.How dumb can that be???

  16. #16 by AhPek on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 4:14 pm

    correction: language market to read market language.

    ” For you……………………………..multiracial nation has taken upon yourself…..

  17. #17 by k1980 on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 5:15 pm

    w2008, before you can announce that you have dug up the proof that the Indians and Chinese were actually here before the Malays, you will disappear like P.I. Balasundram ( after just one visit to the local police station)

  18. #18 by zak_hammaad on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 6:06 pm

    w2008 Says:

    >> If indian was here in malaya long before Islam visited here.

    Islam is not a race therefore your supposition is nonesensical. If the region was Hindu prior to the establishment of Islam does not mean that the people of Malaya were ‘Indian’, lol.

    >> How about we dig out the history to bargain with the goverment that actually Indian and Chinese was here before the Malay arrived here,

    I doubt that you will find consensus on history that you seek to ‘prove’. Even the ‘Encyclopedia of Malaysia: Early History’ has pointed out a total of three theories of the origin of “Malay”.

    Human transmigration is as old as mankind himself, there is not a single race/ethnicity/religion that can claim sole ‘historical’ exclusivety to a particular country or region.

    The racial origins of S.E Asia is indeed interesting and very complex. I would recommend that you perhaps look into ‘Proto Malays’ who origins extend back to around 5000 bc. In ‘ancient Malaysia’, the Negrito aborigines were considered to be one of the first groups of people to inhabit the Malaysian peninsula. When the Proto-Malays (made up of seafarers and farmers) came to the peninsula they sent the Negritos into the jungles and hills. After the Proto-Malays came the Deutero-Malays, which were made up of many different people inc. Arabs, Chinese, Indians, Proto-Malays and Siamese. The Deutero-Malays combined with Indonesians make up the people known today as the ‘Malay’.

    Good day.

  19. #19 by AhPek on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 6:36 pm

    Since I’ve taken up your challenge I’ve also taken up to the hills and got myself soaking wet in the process.Now that I;ve taken my showers,what do I find,a deafening silence from you.Never mind.
    Now if I am asked to grade storm62 how effective has he made understood.This would be his result: Pasar Malay—A1

    Bahasa Malaysia—-F9
    Storm62,you got BM F9 from me is because I don’t see any grammar in your letter so according to what cintanegara says,so no choice lah have to give you F9.But Pasar Malay no need grammar one and using that you have got yourself understood very well,my BM so poor also can understand one.So you get A! from me for Pasar Malay!

  20. #20 by AhPek on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 6:39 pm

    correction: ‘Now if I am asked ………..has he made himself understood?’.

  21. #21 by w2008 on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 7:22 pm

    Records saying that chinese was here in malaya between 200-400 years ago, they are nyoya in malaca and chinese in penang settlemens, those two states in those days are not malay states.

    In the old days, indonesia immigrants also enjoy the Malay special position.

    Anyone believe it?

  22. #22 by swipenter on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 7:32 pm

    If it is so freaking important to the malays that they want to stay monolingual and just speak their own language then why should we worry about it. We just make sure that we are multilingual and be proficient in English, Bahasa, Mandarin,Tamil etc.

    Let those who want to speak just one language alone so long as we are not denied our rights to learn English, Mandarin, Tamil etc besides the national language.

  23. #23 by Loh on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 - 9:05 pm

    ///Customer – Saya mahu servis dan tukar minyak hitam hari ini.

    Mechanic – Aiiya, ini hali wa tatak senang wo, keleta manyak….lu taluk sini lulu, petang lepas bikin lu boleh angkat mali la .///–cintanegara

    The mechanic did not claim to be a graduate from MU. What then is the problem? If the customer could not understand the mechanic, and took his business elsewhere, then the mechanic might have suffered. If the customer only wanted to have his car serviced by the mechanic and he got what he wanted, is that anybody’s business regarding the standard of BM the mechanic commands?

    The example of poor English displayed by government department is a different matter. It reflects the quality of the staff. Either correct English is used, or not at all. Granted that some grammatical errors might remain, but the sentences should sound right.

  24. #24 by AhPek on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 - 1:06 am

    You said,’I look forward to hearing your constructive views pertaining to this.Hopefully you don’t run away this time?’.
    You are simply incredible.Tell me have you ever probed me on any issue before.You have never and why this ‘Hopefully you don’t run away this time?’ coming from you?Or are you trying to copy my style but then again I have reason to since I have asked you 3 times to tell us whether you believe that Australian prisons have 17 aborigines to 1 Australian and why if you do,and also why if you don’t.It’s only after 3 times challenging you that you reply you don’t really know.
    Now that I have given my views,why the deafening silence from you?

  25. #25 by storm62 on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 - 1:18 am

    aiyoyo ahpek ar, i punya bahasa butul2 F9 la tapi i ciakap mia semua olang bole paham ma. kalau i ciakap BM sikalang mia, itu orang2 kampung pun tak paham ma.

    it all depends on who you’re talking to. thats why i use bahasa pasar to make sure cintanegara understand. hi hi hi.

    as most modern BM is so used to borrowing words from english, i find most kg folks does not even understand what they are reading from the local BM newspaper…hi hi hi.

  26. #26 by dawsheng on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 - 1:40 am

    “If adherents fail to follow the faith they claim to be following, would you blame the faith or the individuals?” – zak_hammaad

    I don’t know, what will you say to Najib if he tells you he had to be corrupt in order to save the Malay race?

  27. #27 by AhPek on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 - 2:55 am

    cintanegara is so intent on correcting as he had done on the mechanic’s
    bahasa because you don’t have grammar,mah.So what can I do but to give you BM F9 lah! But I give you Pasar Malay A1, you didn’t see,meh?

  28. #28 by w2008 on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 - 7:14 am

    Hi, guys.

    Before indepedent, Malay mean anyone muslim practice Malay custom.

    So it mean indonesia immigrants/emigrants also are Malay.

    Anyone disagreed?

  29. #29 by taiking on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 - 8:52 am

    luking said

    “Naj. acknowledges sometime back,one of his son is studying in US.Why?is our U here not up to standard?”

    Yeah afterall mara is actually better than harvard.

    And w2008 yes that is why i always refer to the indonesian foreign workers in malaysia as “bumiputra-to-be” or “soon-to-become-bumiputras”.

    And the rest of us will still be stuck with the pendatang / penumpang label.

    Somehow this logic works and makes sense only to those who are products of the umno government (-)meritocracy system.

  30. #30 by limaho on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 - 1:24 pm

    Of course, English has to brought back as the medium of instruction in all national schools. The reason why Malaysian ministers send their children overseas to study is because they know English is important and they have little faith in the present Malaysian system. Correct me if I am wrong. By all means, retain Bahasa Malaysia as a compulsory subject in schools. The deterioration in the standard of English in Malaysian students must be arrested immediately if Malaysia is to progress.

  31. #31 by Loh on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 - 6:11 pm

    It has been said by a dean of a law faculty in a Malaysian university in the STAR today that the teaching of a language allowed by law does not mean that that language can be used as a medium of instruction.

    Following his argument, the language can only be learnt from a dictionary and it is learning of the vocabulary of the language that the law allows. Grammar of the language cannot be taught too, or else any passage written using the language would certainly involve a certain subject matter; a paragraph would carry some ideas, and these ideas are subject matter. If the teaching of English is done through the teaching of any passage using the language, that language would be a medium of instruction. Thus, if learning a language means more than learning the vocabulary from the dictionary, the law that allows the teaching of any language would mean that the language concerned can be used as a medium of instruction. The framer of the Malayan constitution would never dream that the law is being interpreted the way that professor chose. The United Nations convention for Human Rights provides that it is basic human right to learn the mother tongue. What would that basic right be if it is interpreted by the law professor?

    I wonder what type of lawyers he would help to train. But his explanation would help to support statement by Mukhriz who wanted Malay to be the only medium of instruction in Malaysia.

  32. #32 by ryan123 on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 - 6:41 pm

    cintanegara aka cintaUMNO,

    Funny~ Years ago, even Dewan Bahasa themselves were flip-flopping about the implementation fo Bahasa Baku in the school, and my respectful BM teacher also complained about it. Have you ever blame it on the responsible organization? I doubt so, and to everyone here it seems that you can only blame ti on DAP due to your pea-size brain. Pathetic huh?

    Not only this, I doubt if you know the functions of a language in societal, economical and educational aspects. It is a systematic application of symbols in converying the intended messages. And whethere there is a need for a person to master it depends on the contexts. Ask yourself, do the Kelantaneses speak Bahasa Baku EVERY MOMENT???

    I sympathesize you, really.

  33. #33 by ryan123 on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 - 6:46 pm

    blame —> blamed
    converying —> conveying
    whethere —> whether
    to master it —> to master it at the highest level
    sympathesize —> sympathize

  34. #34 by AhPek on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 - 7:18 pm

    ///Customer:Saya mahu servis dan tukar minyak hari ini

    Mechanic: Aiiya,ini hali wa tatak senang wo,keleta manyak-lu taluk sini lulu,petang lepas bikin lu boleh angkat mali la./// cintanegara.

    What is really important is the mechanic has conveyed a message to the customer and the customer has fully understood.This is precisely what a language is supposed to do—provide a medium to get across and be understood by the receiver (in this case the customer) and in this example Pasar Malay has performed this function perfectly.Yet,cintanegara thought it fit to correct the mechanic’s language!It has of course not occurred to cintanegara
    that had the mechanic resort to using Bahasa Baku his customer would have not understood him at all.Also the mechanic ishappy using Pasar Malay for it has served him well in his business when dealing with Indian and Malay customers.

  35. #35 by storm62 on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 - 10:46 pm

    ahpek ar, sori gua lupa mengucap terima kasi for ur A1 la, thank you, kam siah, tor chea, siah siah.

    FYI, i score A2 for my BM & English for my MCE, but if they have hokkien,cantonese,hakka and hainanese language i sure will score A1 la…thai, indon and japanese maybe C3..hi hi hi.

    ryan123, your sympathy to cintanegara noted & accepted…on his behalf..hi hi hi…just too bad for him…hi hi hi.

  36. #36 by setiawan on Thursday, 11 December 2008 - 1:49 pm

    Sir MBM,

    You said,
    “These are the issues I expect Hishammuddin and his senior officers at the Ministry of Education to deliberate on, not flip flopping on major policies. That they are not doing so is a gross dereliction of duty. Unfortunately it is our young who bear the terrible burden of this negligence.”

    Let me suggest that you are expecting WAY TOO MUCH of that dim-wit His-sham. He is too tamed and brainwashed, thus incapable of giving any revolutionary solution to a life-and-death issue.

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