Page wants Putrajaya to make stand on English

By Clara Chooi | May 27, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — Pro-English language lobby group Page today pleaded with the Najib administration to stop delaying its decision on re-introducing PPSMI (Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English) as an option in schools.

Page chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim revealed to The Malaysian Insider today that the group had been invited for a discussion with the Education Ministry on April 29, but said the meeting was mysteriously cancelled at the last minute.

She said both parties were to discuss the possibility and mechanics of reverting to PPSMI in some schools or sticking to the government’s newly proposed MBMMBI policy, the Malay acronym for “Upholding the Malay language and strengthening the command of English”.

Since the cancellation, she said, the ministry has been silent and parents were left in the dark over the issue.

“I received an email on Thursday (April 28), notifying us that the meeting for the following day with the ministry was cancelled indefinitely. Since then, nothing has materialised and we are quite disappointed. I do hope that the prime minister will keep his word,” she said.

Noor Azimah was referring to a statement by Datuk Seri Najib Razak that the government would engage with parents to seek their views before making a final decision on the matter.

Prior to the Sarawak polls on April 16, Najib had also announced he would consider using dual languages as the medium of instruction for Mathematics and Science in schools. PPSMI was first introduced in 2003 but the Education Ministry decided last year to stop it by 2012 after consulting with teachers and parents around the country.

In the uproar that followed after PPSMI was abolished, Putrajaya introduced MBMMBI, which will see the teaching of Mathematics and Science revert to Bahasa Malaysia from 2012 while more contact hours for English would be offered in order to improve students’ skills in the language.

But Noor Azimah argued today that the new policy would ultimately reduce English exposure time from 41 per cent under PPSMI to only 20 per cent.

“Like what Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said, we are losing our skills in scientific English. The English that we are learning now is purely conversational while the teaching medium for Mathematics and Science goes back to BM, which has no commercial value,” she said.

She added that Page had nothing against MBMMBI but stressed that both policies should go hand in hand.

“Let the parents decide what they want… if a large number demands English, then let that school use PPSMI. If a large number prefers BM, then use BM.

“I do appreciate that some schools perform better in English while some do better in BM. But we must also take note that those who learn in BM all the way later have problems when they enter the sixth form.

“What we want is a seamless transition and English, we must admit, is not a foreign language to us but a second language or even first language to a large part of the population,” she said.

The Malaysian Insider reported today that the Najib administration had deferred its decision on the matter as several Cabinet ministers feared any further change in policy would be viewed as an embarrassing flip-flop.

Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s rule was marked by several policy U-turns that led to him being mocked by predecessor Dr Mahathir and other critics.

  1. #1 by dcasey on Saturday, 28 May 2011 - 1:42 pm

    Hahahahahah…I almost fell off my chair choking with laughter when I read the second last paragraph of this article which quoted the Malaysian Insider as saying “that the Najib administration had deferred its decision on the matter as several Cabinet ministers feared any further change in policy would be viewed as an embarrassing flip-flop”. To me this statement is really insulting the intelligence of the Malaysian Rakyat generally and PAGE members specifically. To every Malaysian, it is no secret that the country is severely lacking talent, especially in the area of science and technology. Everyone knows the pressing need to address the issue PPSMI. So if these ministers fear this issue will result as an embarrasing flip-flop to the ruling govt of the day, then the flip-flop in the NEM (when it is open to the whole wide world to see) is not embarrasing?? No?? I’d like to hear the feed back from these so-called ministers on this point. Hello??? Don’t just fart, say something!

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