Cabinet decision on PPSMI – not a New Deal but a Raw Deal leaving Malaysia stranded in the march towards global educational quality, excellence and competitiveness

The Cabinet decision on the PPSMI (Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik – teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English) yesterday was not a New Deal, as proclaimed by some newspaper headlines, but a Raw Deal leaving Malaysia stranded in the march towards global educational quality, excellence and competitiveness and doing a great disservice to millions of students currently in both the primary and secondary schools.

The Raw Deal of the PPSMI decision of the Cabinet is powerfully highlighted by the Sin Chew report of a national secondary school Form One student in Ipoh who burst into tears at the news of the Cabinet decision, feeling totally lost, worried what would be his future when he had to switch to Bahasa Malaysia for mathematics and science when entering Form 4 in 2012, after mastering both subjects being taught in English from Form 1 to 3 from this year to 2011 – and Form 4 and 5 are the most important years in a person’s education in preparing for Form 6, university and the world beyond.

Did the Cabinet Ministers discuss and envision the disastrous effect of their PPSMI decision yesterday on the half a million of students who would have been taught maths and science in the English medium from Form 1 to 3 from this year to 2011 in having suddenly to switch to Bahasa Malaysia as medium of instruction for these two subjects in 2012 in Form 4 – after six years of being guinea pigs of PPSMI in the primary schools?

If the Cabinet had not anticipated the cruelty and the sheer injustice of such a switch for Form 4 students in 2012, clearly the Cabinet Ministers had not thought through the whole issue thoroughly and they have failed the nation, the people and in particular the 5.5 million school-going generation under their charge!

This is not the only Raw Deal of the Cabinet’s PPSMI decision yesterday. The Cabinet decision yesterday cannot be the last word on the controversial subject and the whole issue must be re-opened for a broader, more liberal and flexible solution which would have far-reaching consequences not only to nation-building, nature of a society we want to build in Malaysia but also whether Malaysia can compete and stand tall with the rest of the world.

I am not surprised that the father of the PPSMI, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, is quite upset about the Cabinet decision yesterday.

I had right from the beginning in 2002 opposed Mahathir’s PPSMI, as it is educationally unsound because educational experience on bilingual education worldwide in the past three decades have shown that using a second language as a medium of instruction from too early stages can impede the development of thinking skills of children resulting in low achievement in mathematics, science and languages – powerful educational arguments against the use of English to teach maths and science from Std. One.

This argument does not apply for children whose home language is the English language or a total immersion education system is adopted with English as medium of instruction.

This is why I suggested a flexible approach to the PPSMI problem which does not allow a “One Size Fits All” solution, by giving parents the choice to decide on the type of education they want for their children – including having classes or schools using English as medium of instruction for mathematics and science.

Six years ago, Mahathir broached the idea of the possibility of the re-introduction of government English-medium school system to arrest the decline of the standard of English. Is Mahathir prepared to revisit and take up this proposal?

While I disagree with Mahathir’s “One Size Fits All” formula in forcing through the PPSMI for national, Chinese and Tamil primary schools from 2003, I share his dismay at the Cabinet decision to abandon the use of English to teach mathematics and science for Forms 1 and 4 from 2012.

As Mahathir said, he was only briefed of the Cabinet decision on the PPMSI but he was not consulted at all.

Mahathir said:

“I was only briefed about it, so after the briefing I gave my suggestions, I said even if it could not be implemented at primary level, at least at secondary level it should be maintained, so it was not a consultation only briefing.

“I am saddened because the future of our children will be affected. They will be the victims.”

It is even sadder to see Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, trying to argue the unarguable – the dismal failure of the PPSMI after six years and some RM4 billion of public expenditures an all-round decline!

The purpose of the ill-conceived PPSMI was to raise the standards of English, mathematics and science for Malaysian students which are imperative if Malaysia is not to continue its descent into a backwater, with one country after another overtaking the country in national development and progress.

The reasons prompting the PPSMI six years ago to transform Malaysia into a global powerhouse in English, maths and science were right, proper and should be supported but the approach in conceiving and implementing the PPSMI from Std. One was wrong.

The Cabinet’s PPSMI decision yesterday sought to address the fallacies of PPSMI – but it has failed to come up with a formula which commands public confidence that English, maths and science proficiency of Malaysian students would be upgraded for Malaysia to become a global powerhouse in these three subjects.

There must be a new round of national consultation and debate to give a genuine new deal to the millions of Malaysian students in schools which will redound to greater national economic prowess and international competitiveness, instead of a Raw Deal which negates the faults of PPSMI without any compensating or redeeming virtue.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 2:01 pm

    Job interview, some time in 2020

    Interviewer: Good morning.

    Job Applicant: Me say same same you.

    Interviewer: Why do you apply for this job?

    Job Applicant(shocked): No, me no use plier for chicken chop. Me use knife cut cut.

    Interviewer(rolling eyes): How much starting pay do you expect?

    Job Applicant(furious): Expect? Me no expecting. Me is man, no no born baby. Pay? You want me pay interview? You cheat cheat! Me go report polis!

    Interviewer(screaming to clerk): Tell everyone to pack up. We are closing this plant down and shifting to China tomorrow!

  2. #2 by raven77 on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 2:08 pm

    Malaysia has taken a giant step backwards just so the BN can keep bying rural votes….

    LKS..we are all done for if the PR doesnt come to power…

    However the greatest dissapointment has been Anwar’s support for the switch and PAS engaging Mat Sabu for the switch too….if there is no hope perhaps we parents really need to work harder to send our kids to private schools….

  3. #3 by SocratesPlato on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 2:10 pm

    There are only two options left:

    1. Hopefully Pakatan Rakyat can win the next election and stop this flipflop policy once and for all to have Maths and Science to be taught in English!

    2. If Option 1 fails, I move out of the country for the sake of my children’s future education. Give up on the country already!

  4. #4 by monsterball on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 2:18 pm

    Even in education….UMNO is playing politics.
    They are heading towards the right direction…but will the change their minds again?
    Giving Mahathir 3 hours briefing is showing UMNO is such an undemocratic racialist party.
    This involves all Malaysians and why not have a forum and invite all political party leaders….especially Anwar and LKS.
    Why hush hush briefing..only to mamak.
    We all know why….don’t we.
    Only talk about Malay benefits and getting votes..and other races must not listen to UMNO’s discussions on Malaysian children. It must be a system…to protect the weaknesses of Malays.

  5. #5 by SpeakUp on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 2:29 pm

    I think we need to look at this all in another light. Teaching SCIENCE and MATH in English is not the answer. IT IS NOT.

    The issue are:

    i. are our students WELL EDUCATED; and
    ii. do they have a good command of the language what will be used to communicate internationally.

    Come on, I am educated in English and my math 5ucks! My math teacher was Malay but taught us using English. My chemistry is [email protected] but I excelled in Physics and Biology (school taught it in Malay). My inability to excel in math and chemistry was due to my laziness not the medium for teaching.

    Look at the Japanese and Chinese what do they teach math in? Let’s not look so far. Local Chinese schools teach in Mandarin but you know their students are top scorers!

    When I was doing a course in UM, some of my lecturers were Masters Degree Holders, taught in English but their knowledge is questionable. English did not help them.

    Let’s get the facts right. English is not the answer but the QUALITY of the education and how it prepares the students to deal on a global basis.

    Maybe LKS needs to open his mind more and see the real issues and stop hammering only.

  6. #6 by monsterball on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 2:38 pm

    Please allow me to go off the topic.
    Today papers ..and I quote…what Ong Tee Keat said.
    “RM4.38b soft loan, not a bail out.
    PKA not only has to repay the loan but also has to repay it with annual interest of 4 percent “ said OTK.
    Malaysians borrow from banks…for anything…must prove it has the abilities to pay back.
    The have a standard rule to lend not more than 70% on housing loans and the cars you drive is not yours…until all installments paid…and outright loans of RM4,38 b….PKA must have assets….not less than RM20 billion.
    Does PKA have that…Ong never reveal.
    OTK never tell us…how much PKA is worth….ti give a sincere whole picture.
    If it is worthless…and if that is not bail out…what is it then?
    Ask any simple business person….how do one gets loan from banks.
    OTK said all that …to fool ordinary Malaysians..nie to hear…so logical….but actually full of lies and deceits.
    He knows he is a liar.
    Where will the RM4.38 B come from…EPF or Petronas?
    Whose money is that?
    So read and enjoy the hypocrites at their best.

  7. #7 by SpeakUp on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 2:49 pm

    Soft loan la … its important to give soft loans ok. You don’t understand ar? I mean loans without any collateral especially when the project is being bled and is totally dysfunctional is integral to the nation and its leaders. If not how to open a Swiss bank account?

    Anyone knows how nice Datuk Seli Ting Tong is in the office? Aaaaaaaah … he acts like a gangster there. Hammers the staff then tells them he will sack them and if they go to the labour office they will never succeed because he knows them all. :) Got tons of stories about this Ting Tong man la.

    But this is not new news, so why bother. They already moved on and will move out anytime from Malaysia and live in those lovely multi million US dollar homes.

  8. #8 by Godfather on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 3:06 pm

    SpeakUp said:

    “I think we need to look at this all in another light. Teaching SCIENCE and MATH in English is not the answer. IT IS NOT.”

    I disagree with this statement. Teaching Science and Maths in quality English is the answer to future progress and competitiveness. The ability to teach these subjects in English has gone downhill but it can be corrected with the right motivation and policies. To just reverse this is so blatantly short-sighted.

    PR must come up with a joint statement which attacks the BN government on this matter. If it doesn’t do so, then it does not augur well for the future of PR either.

  9. #9 by Emily Pratt on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 3:08 pm

    Example of future M’sian scientist and Mathematicians:

    i) Now the Kalium Karbonat when add to Natrium Hidrokloride will kos exploshen.

    ii) 20 push away 10 is 10.

    iii) You got Helikobakter Pailori infeksi, you need to eat eat medishen. I give you take 1 tablet two time a day. You finish food first then eat medishen ok.

    iii) Can diskaun ar? Can boss, RM 100 diskaun 10 persen is 90 lor…

    iv)Molekul karbon is ikat by power Van Der Vaals.

    Emily Pratt

    Emily Pratt

  10. #10 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 3:09 pm

    “..I am not surprised that the father of the PPSMI, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, is quite upset about the Cabinet decision yesterday.”

    Why do we always need his blessings and OK? Can’t anyone have his own independent thoughts and ways of doing things? Why is this man’s feelings so very important?

    The problem is this man thinks all his views and decisions are correct and must be carried out to the letter and there must be no deviations or corrections. Else he throws his tantrums.

    For 22 long years he had his way. Now he finds it hard to accept when he can’t have it his way.

  11. #11 by SpeakUp on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 3:17 pm

    I guess no one seems to understand that the issue is the QUALITY of education. Its seen that English is the answer for humanity. Amazing … I wonder what the German’s were speaking in 1940 when they were already working on the most interesting aeroplane designs, coming out with the V2, working on nuclear fusion etc. I guess it was English la … :)

  12. #12 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 3:24 pm

    The question whether to begin teaching maths and science in English at primary level or secondary level or mid of secondary level is not only fraught with complex problems but is actually a mere secondary compared to the primary and more important question to be asked: whether learning maths and science in English is to intended to improve (i) maths/science or (ii) English or (iii) both???

    I don’t have the benefit of research here.

    My guess/sense is that it (ie teaching maths and science in English) neither helps (i)(ii) nor (iii) very much if not in many cases making the 3 worse in each case!

    The beter course is to let the people /parents decide with options for their children:

    1. Those who want to excel in English could have government English-medium school system – from Primary all the way to secondary) (with strong emphasis on passing of Bahasa papers in deference to National Language) and with vernacular options ie a subject on Mandarin or Tamil.

    2. Those who want to excel in Mandarin/Bahasa/Tamil could opt for vernacular schools in Mandarin/Bahasa/Tamil (with equal strong emphasis on passing Bahasa papers in deference to National Language) and also English and/or English literature as a subject.

    3. Those in either stream above at primary level and want to change from 1 to 2 or 2 to 1 at secondary level are given a choice to do so.

    Good or bad, whichever permutations, let the people /parents decide with options for their children and take the consequences.

    What’s the problem with that? It’s democratic.

    Why allow linguist, cultural, racial chauvinists and activists dictate the national educational agenda that we must follow their way without a choice? Give people a choice : those who agree with them go for option 2,those not, for 1, those in-between, for 3!

    You can’t make these category of people happy and yet for pragmatic reasons of English being international lingua franca promote English by such a half measure…

  13. #13 by SpeakUp on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 3:32 pm

    Somehow many in Malaysia are ‘English-phobic’ … Malays, Chinese and Indians. I met too many who are about 20-30 years old and can hardly speak English. They even graduate from UK and US etc with good results, probably better than me but …

    Chinese label you “White Sh!t” if you speak more English. They think you are a “Banana” if you do not speak Chinese with them first. Malays in fast food outlets can hardly converse in English, order in English and they are lost. Indians … well, they usually can speak and even if they can’t they somehow do not seem to have hang ups about it.

    My aunt who has passed away was never fortunate to go to school. She spoke very fluent Malay and taught herself to speak, read and write English.

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 3:36 pm

    The above suggestions are based on these facts:

    1. that you cannot please everybody who has different views;

    2. Parents know their environment in which their children are in best than the government so let parents decide;

    3. So if parents make wrong choice let their children curse them instead of now both parents and children are cursing the government! :)

  15. #15 by SpeakUp on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 3:46 pm

    Jeff … true la … easier to send your parents to Old Folks home than to change the government! Hahahaha …

  16. #16 by Godfather on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 3:48 pm


    We won’t have a problem with full, transparent democracy. Set the same questions for all the major exams in all languages. Mark them with the same standards. Don’t award 15 As to BM schools, but only 10As to English medium schools and 8As to Chinese medium schools. And then say that scholarships and entries to universities were awarded purely on merit.

    It’s manipulation in the guise of democratic principles that we should be worried about.

  17. #17 by Yee Siew Wah on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 3:49 pm

    Goodness gracious!! The flip flop disease is still rampant in BN.
    This time affecting the education quality of our students.
    That guy is not fit to be Education Minister in the first place.
    They are all playing politics with our education.
    Really amazing!!

  18. #18 by bennylohstocks on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 3:56 pm

  19. #19 by Kasim Amat on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 3:57 pm

    Malaysia has already advanced to this level and is now a fully industrialised country. I am sure English is no longer the most important topic for Malaysian because we have been equiped with the necessary skills to survive in this modern’s world, thanks to the efficient and open policies of UMNO government. I do not see things will go horribly wrong if Malaysian do not learn Enlglish at all. I work in government department and I seldom have chance to use English. With the rise of modern Malaysia, I would think we should instead emphasize Bahasa Malaysia more and make it an important language in the region. In future, I hope Asean would have it’s own common language and I think Bahasa Malaysia is more than qualified to be the one.

    Looking back, we have managed to send a man to the space and we also own our national car project which country like Singapore can never have one. With the rise of a modern Malaysia, the use of English in the teaching in maths and science is no longer as relevant. China and India are able to develop their own technologies without having their people to first master the English language, same as Korea and Japan. Like wise, Malaysia is able to do it. Malaysian are smarter in many areas and the education system in Malaysia is still one of the best in the world. As long as we can find an effective way for the children to learn maths and English, it is good enough. In order to reinforce the education system in the spirit of 1 Malaysia and make Bahasa Malaysia one of the important language in the region, the government should consider teaching maths and science in Malay. This is an important first step to bring our Malay fellow people on the world stage.

  20. #20 by SpeakUp on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 4:28 pm

    Kasim … your comments hold water but let’s get real. BM will never be the spoken language in the world. This was DSAI’s statement, let’s not forget it! However:

    i. ASEAN cannot have a common language other than English;
    ii. in a global economy English is very important. Soon it will be Mandarin with China expanding so so fast;
    iii. there are INSUFFICIENT books that have been PROPERLY translated into Malay. If we want to be proud then use less English in Malay.

    Yes, we all should speak good BM. I went overseas to study, I came back speaking BM still, why? Because I realised that I will not fight the system but work with it. I spoke good BM once, am proud of it. Now, its pathetic.

    Oh … we did not send a man to space … he was a space tourist. Let’s get that right!

  21. #21 by Godfather on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 4:32 pm

    Yes, my former bisnes partner Kasim Amat is now talking on behalf of UMNO. It is important that we “bring our Malay fellow people on the world stage”. Maths and Science in English is a problem for them, so let’s not cause this problem. Let’s give them an advantage. So that they can eventually lead a common language for ASEAN. Hahahaha….

  22. #22 by limkamput on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 4:54 pm

    What is this Science and Mathematics now back to BM? We should bring back the Full English schools as another choice for Malaysians who wish to send their children to such schools. I suggest we make a survey to find out how many percent of the total Malaysian parents prefer to send their children to full English schools.

  23. #23 by Loh on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 4:57 pm

    It is true that children before the age of 12 can pick up languages easier than when they are older. It is not true that people can be equally good at all the languages they learn; one of them would be the master language over all the others. People are different and their ability to learn languages differs. It can even be true that to some, the second, or third language one commands might be better that the only language the other learns, even if they complete the same standard of higher education. But on average, young students would be able to think and understand better using the language that they are most familiar with. For students in of vernacular schools, it should be the medium of instruction.

    The need to switch course after 6 years of implementation is because the political master thought he knew better than experts. If he could allow the standard of English to slide right from 1970, to 32 years later, it does not make sense that a change should be made immediately after a dream, and without the inputs from experts. A sample of classes and schools in different situation could have been selected to conduct studies on how best to improve the standard of English. Some might have more English lessons while others could be taught directly as the policy decides. But the Education Minister decided to go head on. Six years after the full scale implementation, the Ministry still has no clues on how such objective could be met, other than concluding that the country wide exercises for the past 6 years have failed.

    Experience in the past from Chinese secondary schools which implemented English as the medium of instruction for all subjects other than the languages, of course, showed that students who had Chinese as the medium of instruction for all subject from primary schools had no difficulty passing examinations conducted by the Cambridge Examination syndicates. Indeed, the difficulties faced by those students were in getting a good score for English language, and it was easy meat for them in other subjects, answered in English.

    The government has the knack of doing the wrong thing out of correct objective. If the teaching of mathematics and science in English are retained for secondary schools, but the switch is made to the medium of instruction in primary vernacular schools, the revised policy can begin immediately in the new school year 2010. There was no need to wait until 2012. It is clear therefore that the classes which had started using English in primary schools might be allowed to continue, depending on the choice of the schools concerned. Students in year 1 entering school in 2010 should follow the revised policy. The use of English in secondary school should continue. Since students would have been provided strong grounding in their first language in primary school, they should begin to use English for all subjects in secondary school. The five years in secondary school should be ample time for students to reach an acceptable command of the English language, especially when the government is taking actions to improve the standards of English in primary schools.

    Almost all countries in the world are paying attention to the teaching of English. Korea was reported to be interested to learn about the experience gained by Malaysia. The important point is that they did not rush in knowing that even one other country had applied it for the past six years. They might have implemented right away had Japan implemented such a policy!

    Vast resources have been utilized to carry out the country wide exercise. We should not be throwing good money after the bad.

    TDM’s argument on the use of English makes sense. The issue is how to get the students to achieve the capability. Using English as the medium of instruction should help to meet the objective. O the reduced scale, the old policy of teaching mathematics and science in English in secondary schools should stay.

    There would be no controversy if politicians did not politicize technical matters. Blame it on TDM for not specifying in 2002 that the teaching of English for mathematics and science should begin only in secondary schools. If it was meant to be for primary schools then he should have brought back the English medium schools of the pre 1970 days.

    Blame it on the former Education Minister who did not use his head to start the teaching of English and science in secondary schools. He should know that it would not work in primary schools, and he had been told by educationalists of the vernacular schools. Instead, kerismuddin wanted to use it to weaken the capability of students in Chinese and Tamil school, in the standards in their mother tongues, and mathematics and science.

    The Malaysians students have suffered for six years, and fortuitously Kerismuddin had been replaced.

    TDM is still making waves. Is he planning to overthrow Najib and Muhyiddin? That would be a good excuse for getting his son in place to flesh out his dynastic plan.

  24. #24 by SpeakUp on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 5:09 pm

    Loh … that was one long post. It was a good read I must say.

  25. #25 by Loh on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 5:11 pm

    ///I work in government department and I seldom have chance to use English.///– Kassim Amat

    The British and its colonies used to recruit the best into their government services. Yes, Malaysia is a sovereign independent and we are entitled to have independent standards. As the saying goes, Malaysia builds its car inside the enclosed house without taking into consideration how the car is ever going to be used. That is why NEP caters for competition within the country with the government acts as the referee. BM would be sufficient within its frontier. Ignorant is bliss, knowledge of one’s position in comparison to others, especially when one has not the ability to match up is disheartening.

    Malaysia Boleh sound right in enclosed Malaysian space.

  26. #26 by limkamput on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 5:22 pm

    Kasim Amat Says:
    Malaysia has deteriorated such much it is now almost a basket case. We have destroyed English proficiency to the extent that Malaysians are now ill-equipped to face and survived in this modern world. Situations will become worse if more and more Malaysians become illiterate in English. Even government departments and civil servants need to master the language as the world becomes more globalised and competitive. English will become the language of ASEAN given its commonality and its status as the language of the world.

    Looking back, some stupid Malaysians feel very proud that we are able to send a passenger into the orbit and we are able to make some sub-standard national cars when other countries would have considered such projects a waste of valuable national resources. We are indeed a nation of stupid people managed by nut people. To reverse the course we must reintroduce full English schools, not just science and mathematics. Even China and India, with their large indigenous technologies and critical mass are also now learning English in the big way. We like to quote Japan and Korea for being able to make progress without learning English in the big way. But we forgot most Malaysians can’t hold more than three variables when compared to Japanese and Koreans. Therefore, it is another stupid idea to compare with these two countries.

    Because of our misplaced national pride, Malaysia has destroyed a good education system the country once had. It is so sad to see the gradual demise of this great nation, due largely to people like Kasim Amat and the asses who think like him.

    Thank you.

  27. #27 by i_love_malaysia on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 5:39 pm

    Malaysia is again showing its ability to change!!! Change not for the betterment of its people for the future but change for the worst of its people!!! It is for the short term gain but long term pain!!! May be BN knows that too many people especially the young regardless of race can speak, read and write english very well now adays that they are scare!!! Why??? Because they will read and write in the blogs and know the truth which BN is trying to hide!!! Another generation lost because of the present day lousy politicians’ decision!!!

  28. #28 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 5:40 pm

    Was it just yesterday that I said Najib was going to squander away his 65% approval rating? I must be clairvoyant…

    The man don’t have what it takes when it comes to the truly tough problem. He don’t have the brains for its…

  29. #29 by OrangRojak on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 5:46 pm

    Loh Says: TDM is still making waves.
    It’s nostalgia, isn’t it? For all his apparent faults, he was at the helm of the nation during a period of massive growth. It could be a coincidence. Malaysians seem to look up to TDM like a money-god. It’s like my neighbour who once struck 4d after putting some very expensive fruit in the thing outside her house that I mistook for a post box on first arriving in Malaysia. She must have spent many times what she won on super expensive fruit since, in the belief the 4d win was in some way caused by the original offering. Do you offer fruit or sacrifice it? I’m so ignorant.

    I think Malaysia might be suffering from malaise. The truth is leaking out of the bag all over – things could be better. People don’t have as much faith that the country is heading in the right direction as they once did. UMNO needs TDM (just noticed it sounds like tedium) to pontificate over their actions because Malaysians will believe they will strike 4d under UMNO’s rule if TDM smiles down on UMNO. In the absence of critical comment, TDM’s beneficence is as close as UMNO is going to get to a credible (in the eyes of the rakyat) assessment of their performance.

    That’s why UMNO keep involving him so publicly, isn’t it? I imagine there are plenty of dark horses with their fingers deep in the nation’s pies who exert enormous influence over the nation’s course, but they don’t have TDM’s god-like status. Maybe I’m wrong.

  30. #30 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 5:49 pm

    Regarding space travel, even monkeys and dogs have gone into orbit so I wonder what is so great about being a space tourist except you become a kind of Malaysian Idol.
    Granted that knowledge can be gained using any language, I think the most rational argument for using English in those 2 subjects for Malaysians is that it is the most common foreign language that we can learn and that for international business and acquiring skills in technology, English is one of the main languages – even China recognises this and employs thousands of foreign ESL teachers.
    This is a major policy failure and instead of rectifying their faults, the MoE is doing this flip-flop.
    Time we have the government a flip-flop too by voting them out in the next elections.

  31. #31 by chengho on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 5:53 pm

    Mahathir alway right……
    uncle kit… your defacto leader Anwar and Pas what a dissapointment you cannot control them..oop …advice them the world moving without u in english…

  32. #32 by mangodurian on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 6:00 pm

    This is the time where I have to say how dissapointed I am with PR, and by inference DAP for that matter in having also a hand in opposing the teaching … or presence of English in our schools.

    Looks like politicians are politicians, we know that English is good and needed, yet you politicians played into the hands of political calculance to bring the death knell of English to our kids.

    Shame on all of you politicians!


  33. #33 by oneway8 on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 6:07 pm

    Many urbanites and professionals like myself were indeed dismayed by the announcement to revert the teaching of Science and Maths to Malay or vernacular languages. It appears that we are regressing backwards. Education was at its best during the yesteryears of the 50’s till 70’s whereby medium of instruction was in English and best of schools were the missionary schools like St John, MBS, St Francis and etc. Then, there was a fair mix of races in the class unlike the situation today whereby the typical Sekolah Kebangsaan is predominantly Malay as the overwhelming number of Chinese send their kids to Chinese schools.

    It cannot be denied that missionary schools like St John, MBS etc were the best of schools. It indeed made one proud of the heritage apart from the knowledge one seeks. It is more than just the education it imparts but the character it moulds one to be. The uniqueness and characteristics of missionary schools are evident in its Gregorian style architecture, the school tie, badge, the Latin inscriptions beneath it etc. Compare this to our typical sekolah kebangsaan whereby you see one and you have seen it all. There no sense of uniqueness in them. It appears that we are regressing backwards when it comes to primary and secondary education ever since we gained independence in 1957.

    The situation is further made worse when the medium of instruction was changed from English to Malay in 1970. Ever since then, we saw how badly the standard of education has deteriorated into. This is evident from our local universities’ ranking by world’s standard. Our University of Malaya was the beacon and possibly the top University in the region in the 60s and early 70s. Today, it does not make it even to the top 20 universities in Asean and not even top 200 universities of the world.

    In the past, missionary schools in Malaysia have royal families of Thailand and Brunei schooling in them. Today, the trend is reverse whereby well to do Malaysian families will see their children are educated in secondary schools of Singapore and Australia apart from private or international schools of the nation whereby medium of instruction is in English.

    What has this country become especially with regards to the standard of education? The deterioration in the system and the change of medium from English to Malay was all done by Najib’s father, the late Tun Razak in his Razak report which outlines the objective of doing away English-medium schools. However, Najib attended missionary school of St John before pursuing his further studies in UK. His youngest brother, Nazir Razak, CEO of CIMB, Group was schooling in Alice Smith International school before reading philosophy in Cambridge. It appears that Tun Razak himself placed more faith in the old system than the system he propogated. Hence, it is not surprising that only a small handful of our Ministers actually send their children to the typical Sekolah Kebangsaan. Cakap tak serupa bikin! The Rakyat now pays the ultimate price for this decline.

  34. #34 by SpeakUp on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 6:07 pm

    I like hot shooting people like Limkaput .. he says basically, those who oppose the use of English have caused a great demise and are asses. I am pretty sure the illustrious DSAI said recently that it was good to do away with English in teaching math and science. So I guess Anwar is an ASS! He likes it that way … :)

  35. #35 by newchief on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 6:21 pm

    u can get nowhere if your knowledge of a certain language is inadequate. i’m a chinese & i must say my chinese readings FLOP!!! this i will regret because during my time, my chinese teachers didn’t say chinese is a good language to communicate and get info. imagine i going to hong kong and taiwan and seeing all the big menu food orders written in chinese but know NONE OF IT.

    muyhiddin has said that teachers teaching maths and science in english only uses 53% of the language—THAT’S THE PROBLEM!!! he should has instruct these allotted teachers to undergo training instead of ‘playing around’ with malaysian kids as guinea pigs!!

    mathatir realised his mistakes when he barred english but in the end, he realised it. it takes A BRAVE MAN to change his own mistake!!! the thing is,he didn’t apologise though.

    hopefully,bn will MAKE SURE English is taught with commitments by the teachers and not 1/2 1/2 only now. i just will feel pity for the less rich people if they need to pay tuition fees for their kids in future though.

    by the way, anwar of PK also said to do away with english !!!! so we have here, both bn and pk sending our kids BACKWARDS …don’t know who to vote anymore….maybe cin-chai cin-chai luh. i fear malaysia will be doomed soon when it comes to talking to foreigners. hopefully, all mps now start TALKING BM to foreigners since they say BM IS IMPORTANT. impress me please.

  36. #36 by House Victim on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 6:50 pm

    1. The purpose of learning Math & Science is to allow the students to acquire those fundamental knowledge for their daily life, earning a living and to help their further study or self-learning in their life time.

    2. The availability of good books and teachers both in quantity and quality should be the basic criteria to allow such system to start. The availability of information for further study and acquiring in time to come is even more important. Does Malaysia has these criteria?
    I believe China, Japan, or, Korea have more to offer or ready than Malaysia. But, they promote their People in learning foreign languages because they understanding the Importance of Golbalizetion!!

    3. Can Malaysia grow or even self-supporting without going global such that Bahasa is good enough for Malaysian? Can the Government provide jobs for all those knowing only Bahasa?

    4. The agenda of such will make more Malaysian “isolated” from the rest of the world (may be except Indonesia!) so that the People cannot spread their grievance to the World or learn Democracy or Human Rights from the World!!

    Allowing more Bahasa speaking people to get job in teaching , publishing of books, etc.. Is it the 1MALAY that the Government is emphasizing?


    HOW CAN THAT BE DONE IN THE CABINET WITHOUT DEBATES AND OPINION FROM THE PEOPLE? The Parliament and People are Transparent to the Cabinet!! Does the Constitution allow it so??
    Or, is Malaysia a Real Constitution Monarchy?

  37. #37 by Ramesh Laxman on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 7:29 pm

    Wew must support this decision. This is the best present that the Cabinet has given to us Malaysians.

  38. #38 by johnnypok on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 7:43 pm

    Aiyah, so simple yet make it so difficult. Go learn from Great Singapore where the English standard and every kind of standard are sky high.

  39. #39 by mother of three on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 7:56 pm

    This Pakatan Rakyat is really hopeless.DSAI support PPSMI and the other party oppose.Now,the best part is my children are the victim.Why so stupid????why blame the students,blame the teachers who’re incapable of teaching in english.

    Uncle Kit,

    Appreciate if you could propose in parliment for “Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan English”.Most of us looking forward for english medium school.Whoever want to study in their mother tongue can go to Malay, Chinese or Tamil schools.

  40. #40 by mother of three on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 8:02 pm

    DSAI oppose PPSMI and what you expect as he’s a product of UMNO and the mindset difficult to change.I really regret for voting PR.The next election I won’t trust and vote for PKR & PAS.Almost one year more than enough to learn about their true colours.

  41. #41 by mother of three on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 8:08 pm

    At least “TUN Mahathir” bring this country forward but current politicians are moving this country backwards.Maybe they do not want Malaysians to be smart and against them.They want all of us to be stupid and “yes man”.

  42. #42 by monsterball on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 8:13 pm

    Education has always been part of UMNO’s agenda to play politic with it…and it takes an idiot like chengho to say the devil is always right.
    The subject is and still is..Malaysians student and so call graduates speak and write.. lousy English.
    Mamak said…teaching Science and Maths into English will solve the problem.
    Now UMNO is on the right track…to teach English as a subject and to have qualified teachers to do that from Std One…onwards.
    Why does it take so long for these UMNO blockheads to solve a simple thing.
    Focusing not yo loose votes…how to hide and help Malays weaknesses without offending them…so as not to loose their votes…all these have been going on for decades.
    It seems to cool of Mahathir..his son is given the rights to supply thousands of program all schools…to latest and final decision.
    Everything involves…votes .. corruptions and UMNO.
    Part of the many reasons why parents send their children to Chinese schools is the low class teachers in National schools…plus their lousy English…spoken by teachers themselves.
    Ofcourse…maths is the uniqueness .. in Chinese schools.

  43. #43 by limkamput on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 8:16 pm

    The issue is not just about English proficiency. The issue is also mental change among Malaysians. If Malaysians are proficient in English, the reading materials, news, and music exposed to would bring about mental change, making us more cosmopolitan and less parochial. Right now, this country is too old fashion, feudal and archaic. That is why we have gradually become a stupid nation.

  44. #44 by ctc537 on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 8:34 pm

    Generally, Malay students love the subject of History more than students from other races. Why not teach History and Living skills in English instead? It will spur students to study History more since it is taught in English. The government should consider importing English and Literature textbooks from United Kingdom to lend this government policy a sense of importance and quality.

  45. #45 by madguyho on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 8:47 pm

    Why not back to BM in 2010 or 2011? That’s 2 years away and why the hurry to announce the switch? My assumptions are, they have no guts to switch back to BM immediately, sensing that might anger Dr. M. They are buying time to sense the public outcry and to flip-flop the policy before 2012.

    Secondly, they know they won’t be at the helm by 2012. That’s the PAKATAN problem by 2012. They only set the time bomb for PAKATAN to diffuse in 2012.

  46. #46 by OrangRojak on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 8:59 pm

    Why is ‘mother of 3’ asking for English medium schools? Are schools obliged to teach their pupils of 3 government approved races all about 1 of 4 government approved religions in one of 3 government-approved languages? Are there english-medium schools? I don’t recall seeing one near here. Would they be more popular with the end of PPSMI? Even possible?

  47. #47 by tsn on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 9:00 pm

    Government is not the solution of the problem, government is the problem. Those who dream of pre-1970 English school, my suggestion is ‘forget about it’. Apart from lack of political will, now, we certainly do not have resources to run English school. Just be realistic with our weak ringgit, how many English teachers can we bring in from US/UK/Canada/NZ/Australia. With not-so-lucrative salary, even our own good English breeds shun teaching profession.
    Probably we can settle for second tier as our public hospitals, recruiting from India, Myamar….

    So mother of three if you still dream your sons/daughters to chant a is apple instead of api, be prepared for financial haemorrhage, private school or Singapore is where you fulfil your dream. Bolehland is where your dream completely shattered.

  48. #48 by Loh on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 9:25 pm

    If one thinks in slow motion, it is less likely that one would get confused.

    Opposing PPSMI does not equal to opposing the learning of English, or the teaching of English. It is only against the method declared by TDM on getting the students to be proficient in English.

    Opposing PPSMI means only the total package under the scheme where the teaching begins in primary school. The policy is sound if PPSMI begins only in secondary school.

    If the government is dogmatic in either having it half wrong by continuing with PPSMI starting from primary school, or by rejecting it all together rather than have it right to confine PPSMI in secondary school, then it is less harmful to reject PPSMI all together.

    If the government is interested to work towards improving the standards of English beginning from primary school, then they should be able to begin teaching in English on the two subjects or even more subjects from secondary schools.

    By rejecting PPSMI, primary school students would be able to attain good grounding on the standards in Chinese, for which I have seen examples, and they will be able to continue the pursue the study of the language on their own’ if necessary. MCA Presient Ong Tee keat has a good command of Chinese despite having only primary 6 in formal Chinese education.

    It should be beneficial to the learning of English if the medium of instruction for secondary school would be English. PPSMI should therefore be extended to include other subjects.

    Since the government has indicated that it would allocate more resources to teach English, rejecting PPSMI does not signal that the government would pursue Ketuanan Bahasa Malaysia pioneered by Rahman Yakub. Since they would only implement the revised policy in 2012, it means that primary one and two students would suffer when the switch over takes place then.

  49. #49 by vsp on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 9:27 pm

    Bahasa Malaysia has degenerated into a vegetarian language. It is a pale imitation of English because of many imported words from English just to keep up appearances of being modern. If that is so, why not just adopt the original language instead? Why go to the trouble of inventing the wheel and in the process poisoning one race against another. Let English be the neutral leveler so that nobody will claim “my language is more superior than your language”. We once did adopt this approach but because of some nationalist bigot who don’t value good things, they behave just like the proverbial saying of casting pearls before swine.

    Why do I say that BM is like a vegetarian language. There are many people who try to be vegetarians but they still like the taste of meat, e.g. mutton, fish and so on. So those vegetarian cooks obliged them by imitating the original by using artificial flavours and other types of chemicals to create a distant copy of the original. When you have too many artificial add-ons it becomes more dangerous than the original. Why not eat the original instead of creating a dangerous copy?

    Therefore I think Bahasa Malaysia is similar to this analogy.

  50. #50 by johnnypok on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 9:49 pm

    If we can become an economy giant like China maybe the use of BM can be emphasized more effectively.
    If we can produce an outstanding scientist who made a new discovery that benefit the world, maybe we can proudly insist to use BM.
    We are still learning how to walk, yet we are trying to fly, stupid.

  51. #51 by YK Leong on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 10:57 pm

    Sorry, Brother Lim Kit Siang. I CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC. Perhaps, I will gamble my luck with the MCA secretary-general, Wong Foon Meng for answers over the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal. STAR (5 July 2009) headlined: “MCA to address public complaints effectively”.

    My complaint #5 for 9 July 2009 to the MCA Public Services and Complaints Bureau is over the Star (9 July 2009) quoting Ong Ta Kut:- “That’s not within my powers (to distribute the report to MPs)”. Is Ong Ta Kut implying that Malaysians, except MPs, are not entitled to the truth and all the facts about the PKFZ “mother of all scandals”. Malaysians are not interested in the free distribution of the PKFZ report together with its appendices. However, we can pay for the report.

    Malaysians should emphasise the importance of English as the bridge to cannect the country with the global market without sacrificing the national language.

  52. #52 by negarawan on Thursday, 9 July 2009 - 11:53 pm

    I think Mahathir must be having nightmares because Najib is already starting to dismantle his pet policies and plans, just like what Badawi did. Another war in the making?

  53. #53 by HJ Angus on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 12:42 am

    I believe that apart from good maths teachers in Chinese schools, there is also more discipline enforced.
    I wonder how the RM5bil allocated for improving English in schools is going to be allocated.
    So Gapena is interested to set up English clubs in schools? Maybe they too have been attracted by the large sums to be spent.
    I just hope that English literature is not going to be based solely on local writers unless they have won some international literary awards.

  54. #54 by Lee HS on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 2:08 am

    Remember! We are still the boss. If UMNO wants to fool around, we kick them out in the 13GE my fellow enlightened Malaysians.

  55. #55 by mangodurian on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 7:15 am

    I am with ‘mother of three’ to call for the CHOICE and ability for us Malaysians to have English medium National Type Schools (SJKI).

    The rest of you barkers and nay-sayers are just that. You are very good at barking at the problems but cannot present a solution. Realise that as a democracy, each of us has the responsibility of determining our own future by voicing our opinions.

    SJKI is a solution. As citizens who know very well how detrimental the current education direction is heading, we need this CHOICE to do our part in preserving and enhancing our own people to become competitive contributors to this country.

    If’s opinion poll shows 70+% opposing to this reversion to pre-2003 practices, and almost all posters here indicating the same, then the people ARE speaking that they WANT ENGLISH in a serious manner in their schools.

    Let’s have a poll: Will you send your children to English medium national school if they existed

    I believe many will say ‘yes’.

    Having English medium schools may cost us taxpayers more, but I am willing to pay this tax ringgit. Those Malay, Chinese, Indian supremacists can keep their kids in their respective SJK’s, and shouldn’t complain more.

    Afterall, when it comes to ‘unity’ all kids are supposed to go for their national service camps anyway.

  56. #56 by k1980 on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 7:53 am

    According to the DPM, it appears that a mixture of English and Malay is used to teach Science and Mathematics in schools. Something like this:

    (i) I jalan to sekolah every pagi.

    (ii)Dua multiply dengan three sama with enam.

    (iii) Fotosintesis is proses where cahaya sun, galian mineral, chlorophyll, karban dioxide dan water berinteraksi to hasilkan food yang distorkan in the tumbuhan.

    No wonder the students end up blow-blow!

  57. #57 by k1980 on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 8:41 am

    “We used to lead Asia in terms of English, and now we have allowed ourselves to slip below other Asian countries.”

  58. #58 by Jeffrey on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 9:01 am

    The Star today in front page reported the Pm’s statement that the aim of making Malaysians more proficient in English – to enable them – to compete in the global arena remained the same : “only the method in reaching the objective is now different.”

    PM told a press conference after chairing the SME development council meeting here yesterday that increasing the time allocated to teaching English, introducing English literature and language laboratories, among others, would be a better method in boosting proficiency in the language than using it to teach Mathematics and Science. Najib said reverting to Bahasa Malaysia would not pose a problem as it has been proven that “we have be able to produce doctors and professionals by teaching the subjects in Malay.” “Many doctors went through the education system in Malay right through university. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia has produced a number of good doctors. “There is no question about quality being compromised or affected,” he said.

  59. #59 by wesuffer on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 9:02 am

    what happen to yours..when government stick to teaching in english. all of you complaint and demo.
    now government change back to Bm. all of you getting more complaint. hais..cannot satisfied everyone.

  60. #60 by Jeffrey on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 9:38 am

    In my earlier posting July 9th, 2009 at 15: 24.42, I posed this basic question: whether learning maths and science in English (PPSMI) is to intended to improve (i) maths/science or (ii) English or (iii) both???

    It may well be true that under certain conditions – for example having good teachers of Maths Science and English (in combination) – PPSMI may yield positive results.
    However likely the conditions are not there and what we have is like what Emily Pratt said above – “Kalium Karbonat when added to Natrium Hidrokloride will kos exploshen” or what K1980 said – “Dua multiply dengan three sama with enam” and “ Fotosintesis is proses where cahaya sun, galian mineral, chlorophyll, karban dioxide dan water berinteraksi”

    So they have to abandon PPSMI and try another way – but try what?

    Alas If it were to just improve Malaysians’ proficiency in English – to enable them – to compete in the global arena, the solution would be simple : introduce the options as had up to early 1970s including English Medium schools (as I have mentioned in my earlier posting).

    But they will not have it – why? Because if left to parents to decide, I suspect majority/market will opt to put their children in English Medium Schools. That will not only make those who opt for vernacular uncompetitive in market place but most crucial it will be direct blow to all aspirations/precepts of “Ketuanan” articulated by Kasim Amat in posting July 9th, 2009 at 15: 57.47. This is the absolute demand of the champions of National Language & Ketuanan that UMNO dare not offend and will have to compromise and yet try to delicately balance against the need to improve English esp amongst Malays students!

    TDM’s PPSMI was to appease Ketuanan advocates by saying “hey, Bahasa is still given primacy but English may be limited to Mathematics and Science since we have to climb up techology ladder. As what Emily Pratt & K1980 point out, it does not work, so PPSMI has to be abandoned and in its place is Bahasa again in deference to demands of Ketuanan advocates but another compromise/delicate balance by way of “increasing the time allocated to teaching English, introducing English literature and language laboratories”.

    The fact is whether PPSMI or this “New Deal” it has never been and never will be a full commitment to English improvement but in each occasion a half way half hearted compromise with political imperative of “ketuanan”, and that’s why its doubtful it will work.

    The greatest tragedy here is that they (I mean here not just politicians in ruling coalition but those in Opposition as well) just can’t put Education and our Children’s future above political realities on the ground and the politics of Ketuanan. Not for the forseeable future anyway. Period. The voice of those like Kassim Amat has (over time) far from being diminished has instead got stronger and louder. Do I don’t see the situation will get better unless Najib could/dare, in small steps shove the Ketuanan agenda further and further to the background in favour of pragmatic imperative to commit more and more to English.

  61. #61 by SpeakUp on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 9:44 am

    Jeff … what the PM says is true to a certain extent. We can use whatever language to educate but there needs to be a strong push to ensure that Malaysian’s are able to communicate on a global basis. Soon, China will be THE powerhouse. Will we then blame the PR government then for not having the foresight to lay the foundations for Malaysians to speak Mandarin?

    Education needs to be of quality and not the bickering of what language to be used. Also not to forget, we need GOOD teachers, at the moment that is totally lacking.

  62. #62 by HJ Angus on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 10:03 am

    It seems to me that if Malaysia is to progress further we need to dismantle any policy and political party that subscribes to the “Ketuanan” fallacy!
    If after 40+ years of accepting this concept we still cannot even operate a good education system we must be mad to tolerate it any more.
    Malaysia must be the only country in the world that promotes a different apartheid system whereby a first generation “immigrant” can become a “special class” of Ketuanan and become superior to those who have been here for hundreds of years and some of these “ketuanan” are more than half foreign through mixed marriages.

  63. #63 by tsn on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 11:18 am


    Every one of us likes mango and durian very much, but if the price of durian/mango is $20.00 per kilo, then how are we going to afford it. I suppose the tax $ you willing to foot up for English medium school is much lesser than amount charged by private/international schools, otherwise you would have been sent your kids to those schools instead of vent your anger here. The crux is there are not many willing and able taxpayers in this Land of Boleh.

    Be sensible, do not waste time and hypnotized yourself. To have English school as pre-1970 is absolutely hallucination. It is better we wholeheartedly looking up for ways to uplift the standard of English in present school system both national and vernacular.

  64. #64 by SpeakUp on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 11:29 am

    TSN … how do you lift the standards of English in vernacular schools when they are one of the root causes of poor English? How many students from such schools can speak decent English? I seen so many people from such schools who do not and they are only about 20 years old!

    HJ Angus … KETUANAN MELAYU is most necessary. Sorry to say. When you have that, it makes you ‘better’ than others (when you are really not) so that you can oppress or suppress the rest whom you unequivocally have labelled as basically second class. That is why it is being used! Basically, make others inferior so that you can be superior. Amazing huh? Many Malaysians still fall for it …

  65. #65 by Kasim Amat on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 12:11 pm

    I think the people are not being realistic here. They thought English is the international language and all the subjects must then be taught in English? Does Japan, Korea, China, India do this? The Philippines taught everything in English in schools but did they achieve the desired result? If China and India can teach science and English in their own mother tongue, why not Malaysia? Are Malaysian more inferior to the people from these two countries? You may say Singapore is doing well because they use English as the first language. This is totally irrelevant. Singapore is small and they do that because they need to survive. They have no choice. Malaysia is full of natural resources and talented people. Why must we follow everything that Singapore is doing?

    Malaysia has successfully transformed itself to a modern and advanced Islamic nation and Bahasa Malaysia is also gaining more recognition in Islamic World. It is time now we have to emphasize the use of our own language and not the language that used to colonise us. Please think about it. I respect the view of Tun Mahathir but it does not mean the whole UMNO has to agree with him.

  66. #66 by johnnypok on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 12:18 pm

    Chinese and Indians have no problem to master other languages, and they are also FREE to embrace other religions, and they can survive any where in the world. How many Malays can do it?

  67. #67 by SpeakUp on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 12:26 pm

    Kasim … you got it half right but also half wrong. I agree that English is not the be all and end all for our educational system. But let’s just say Malay is.

    So we push for the use of Malay. How many books do we have in Malay to teach perhaps quantum physics or fluid dynamics? That is the main problem with using Malay as the medium. Unless, BM has truly matured as a language then it cannot be the main medium for education when it comes to sciences, esp sciences in the upper secondary and tertiary level.

    You say the following to fortify your arguments about BM:

    “Malaysia has successfully transformed itself to a modern and advanced Islamic nation and Bahasa Malaysia is also gaining more recognition in Islamic World.”

    Why do you pray in Arabic and not in BM? Are the Malaysian religious authorities not proud of BM? Does the religion make it compulsory to do so in Arabic? If so then I am mistaken.

  68. #68 by ktteokt on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 12:52 pm

    I thought the Mamak is out of the political scene in Malaysia when he retired! He is not even made a Minister Mentor like LKY of Singapore. So, why should Najis consult him on the change of policies! Is he trying to be the “Tok Dalang”, pulling the strings on Najis?????

  69. #69 by slashed on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 4:14 pm

    Political agenda aside, the government’s directionless and hesitant approach to the education cum language problem is appalling.

    I for one am not against the teaching of science and mathematics in Malay – the reason is simple: these two subjects put the language to use at a minimal level; It will not improve any student’s ability to express oneself in English to any great extent. Rather, it will only teach you the specific semantics of both subjects.

    If the point is to improve the use of English, a far better way is to teach History in English. This one subject alone will do much to improve the student’s grasp of the language for not only will it put the language in use (the students necessarily having to express themselves) but it will encourage greater recourse to other resources (e.g. wikipedia etc) as reading is encouraged and cultivated.

    With regards to our students being at a disadvantage outside of Malaysia, my personal experience has been that once one grasps the language, the conversion of malay terms to english terms is essentially simply. In fact, most Malay terms are so similar to english words (since malay scientific terms are more often than not derivatives (read: malay copies) of the english counterpart) that I really question the wisdom that learning the subject in english will help our students much at all.

    What is more problematic for malaysian students is the ability to express oneself. When it comes to exams, we can compete with any foreign student. But when asked to speak up in class, it becomes a problem. We know the answer, but we can not put it out to the effect we desire. THAT is the problem and the real disadvantage.

    Therefore, Uncle Kit, I ask you, please please push for history to be taught in english.

    However, the government has already changed from BM to English once. Notwithstanding my skepticism of its effectiveness, the problem is that once they’ve done the change they should not abruptly change it again. It shows how fickle they are and how thoughtless they are to all the students and teachers that are directly affected by this. Shame on you!

  70. #70 by hawaiichee on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 6:27 pm

    My daughter is less than 2 years old and she can understand both English and Japanese, and later will introduce Malay, Mandarin and Cantonese.

    I can’t see why we cannot take 1 step forward to integrate the BM textbooks few years back with the current English science and maths text books. Its a lot of effort, but why move backward instead of forward. We can allow students to use either English or BM to answer in the exams as long as the maths and science principles are correct.

    Some good will surely come out of the dialectics at work between both languages instead of choosing either one. We need new advancements. We need Malaysia Boleh. Not some power struggle between languages.

    When will Malaysia advance and not hold on to race and language as stumbling blocks but embrace our differences as advantages?

  71. #71 by Kathy on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 8:02 pm

    The government should reintroduce English medium schools (mission schools) and let the people choose which language medium school that they want their children to attend. It would be beneficial to the children if languages like Mandarin and Tamil is included in the time table with the other subjects (maybe remove subjects that are not important like Kajian Tempatan or Kemahiran Hidup to accommodate this inclusion).

    Our future generations (especially the talented and smart ones) will not be in Malaysia if their parents have a choice. Most of them would be heading down south soon to Singapore. What a waste!!!

  72. #72 by tsn on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 8:26 pm


    Before one speaks up his/her mind, it is better to bulge up one’s mind first. To accuse vernacular school as the root of poor English is rather uncalled for. With English schools bashed to junk yards in 1970, schools are no longer a holy temple to learn English. Today a student’s English standard is almost entirely ascertained by family background. It is immaterial the type of school you are attending. If you are a lucky bloke from English speaking family, with exposure from very young age, naturally you would have a better English standard compare to your peers who are not so fortunate. Of course exceptions do exist, there are students who against all odds to excel in English.

    So next time if you happen to come across a student with good English, besides knowing the school he/she is attending, be prepared to go a step forward to check up his/her family background; English speaking? Parents’ education level?

  73. #73 by OrangRojak on Friday, 10 July 2009 - 11:21 pm

    Kathy Says: The government should reintroduce English medium schools (mission schools)
    Surely not ‘mission schools’? Since they’re a tool for christian evangelism, I would imagine the Malaysian government would sooner declare a ‘beer, bacon sandwich and naturists’ public holiday!

    I struggle to convince myself that anything other than Bahasa Malaysia should be the medium of instruction in National schools. Are we sure the problems with the National schools have been correctly attributed? As a foreigner it strikes me that almost everything in Malaysia is ‘broken’ through incompetence and extreme self-interest. Even apparently successful private enterprises often seem to me to be nearing the end of a ‘lucky run’ having made their short-term fortunes at the expense of long-term problems in the society they operate in.

    I’m not so sure that the problems with the education system can so easily be laid at Bahasa Malaysia’s door. I would have thought a greater reason for failing education standards would have been half a nation unable to have pride in their homeland because their homeland doesn’t want them, and retarded critical thinking skills through pervasive suppression of criticism. I don’t believe there’s any such thing as the ‘wrong’ language.

  74. #74 by Loh on Saturday, 11 July 2009 - 3:59 am

    ///I would have thought a greater reason for failing education standards would have been half a nation unable to have pride in their homeland because their homeland doesn’t want them, and retarded critical thinking skills through pervasive suppression of criticism.///– OrangRojak

    That is right but quite mildly put. The trained and better educated half of the population has rightly concluded that they are not welcomed in their homeland and have chosen greener pasture. The endangered species get the privilege to guard the crucial learning institutions, and they proved to be better than their students, generation after generation.

    Education has always been looked upon to be the most important means to uplift the standards of living. Unfortunately for fear of competition, trained manpower of the wrong race has been prevented from taking their rightful place in the society. Over time, education institutions are treated as employment agencies, just like the government services. Since these institutions do not care about the outcome of their actions and input, the products, the standard of education in Malaysia naturally suffer.

    Since the teachers are not equipped to teach, they would not want the students to veer beyond the textbooks. But curiously, we get straight A students so numerous that the government has a problem, it seems to choose base on merit in scholarship awards.

  75. #75 by House Victim on Saturday, 11 July 2009 - 5:53 pm

    This is the answer of What goes Behind this PPSMI stuff!!

    But what could that “huge Budget” be? How much it will require to Translate Sufficient Books and Information in the World to provide Bahasa Malaysians to be at least an Average informed people in the Word?

    By the way, is Bahasa accepted in the UN community?

  76. #76 by House Victim on Saturday, 11 July 2009 - 6:08 pm

    This is what is behind the PPSMI probe. How Big can a Budget to provide enough Translation to let Bahasa Malaysians be Average informed of the World?

    Had other fundamental improvement of Living been provided with sufficient budgets?

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