PAGE says likely to continue PPSMI struggle

By Clara Chooi
November 05, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 — The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) will likely pursue its cause to retain PPSMI in schools despite expressing “deep appreciation” to the government for allowing those already enjoying the policy to continue.

PAGE chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim told The Malaysian Insider she was “pleasantly surprised” by yesterday’s announcement by Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin but admitted the decision still fell short of the group’s demands.

“We are in a difficult situation now… we do deeply appreciate what the government has agreed to and we sincerely thank them.

“But at the same time, we want this (PPSMI) policy for our future generation, to go beyond 2020, until we are all dead and gone. We want this opportunity given to all,” she said when contacted last night.

PAGE had earlier warned the Barisan Nasional (BN) government of a voter backlash if it refused to consider retaining PPSMI (the teaching of science and mathematics in English) in schools.

Muhyiddin announced yesterday those students who have already been using the PPSMI policy may continue with it until they complete their secondary education.

But the deputy prime minister stressed that it did not mean the government was making a U-turn in its decision to scrap the policy.

He explained the decision meant that students between Year Three and Form Five next year would be allowed the option of learning science and mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia, English or both languages, as allowed under PPSMI, until they complete their primary and secondary education.

But this year’s Year One students, the first batch to undergo MBMMBI (Upholding the Malay Language and Strengthening Command of English), would have to continue learning the two subjects in Bahasa Malaysia when they enter Year Two next year, he said.

MBMMBI was mooted in July 2009 to replace PPSMI and came into effect in January this year for Year One students. PPSMI was introduced in 2003 by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Noor Azimah questioned the sudden decision, pointing out that until Thursday, Muhyiddin had appeared bent on pressing on with the government’s original decision to scrap PPSMI completely next year.

“We were pleasantly surprised. Perhaps it was because PAGE has been lobbying hard for this… or perhaps it is because Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad stepped into the picture,” she said.

Dr Mahathir has been against the Najib administration’s decision to abolish PPSMI in July 2009.

Responding to Muhyiddin’s announcement yesterday, Dr Mahathir asked for a referendum to decide if English should be used to teach science and mathematics.

Noor Azimah told The Malaysian Insider that the immediate response from parents in PAGE indicated that while many were happy with the government’s decision, they still insisted on continuing with their pro-PPSMI struggle.

“It is not a fight… it is a struggle, a cause for our future generation,” she said.

  1. #1 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 5 November 2011 - 10:24 am

    yes continue with struggle – for generations for its difficult to see how UMNo will last for generations when their infighting – with one side pushing for reform and reinvention, and other side vehemently opposing it and doing the opposite – will, by sheer resultant incoherence and inconsistencies of policies platform, garner more and more dissatisfactions from the diferent sectors of the rakyat to build steadily an avalanche of voter backlash to be expressed , if not in the coming the GE, then the next…

  2. #2 by tsng on Saturday, 5 November 2011 - 10:28 am

    Uncle Lim,
    I appreciate DAP support in our struggle to have PPSMI reinstated as an OPTION. However I like clearly state my disgust with PR for not being able to come out to support PPSMI as an OPTION. We do not oppose all those who want to study math&science in their mother tongue. Why are can’t we have PPSMI? I view PR silence in disgust because PR is playing the same cheap politics on the level similar to that Muhyiddin is playing – to garner support of those ‘ultra-linguistic-nationalist’ – categorically those who oppose PPSMI as an OPTION. Let me stress as an OPTION. PR silence on such an important issue can be describe as irresponsible. If BN finally do relent and give us PPSMI as an option and PR start to fan ultra-linguistic sentiment again, I am afraid many who are pro ppsmi who until now are still angry with the BN government would vote for BN, including DAP’s strong hold. Let me say this, DAP stand on agreeing to disagree with the PR coalition on this issue is not acceptable. Agreeing to disagree to me meant that those who wants math&science in Malay, Chinese and Tamil gets what they want including those who wants it in English.

  3. #3 by monsterball on Saturday, 5 November 2011 - 10:47 am

    They cannot make a firm commitment.
    They will compromise to make sure all are happy for the time being.
    Even Mahathir knew what was spoken by Muhyiddin was vague and uncommitted to last.
    He knew smart Malaysians will not change their votes to support BN…that way.
    DPM need to try harder.
    Meanwhile….PM ….no comment.
    He is talking to God in Mecca…at our expense.

  4. #4 by Jong on Saturday, 5 November 2011 - 11:34 am

    A pyrrhic victory it is for parents! If PAGE continues to ‘deeply apprciate’ tho shortchanged, and allow this arrogant fool Muhyijaddin to further mess up the country’s education system which already is, we can well forget English in all our classrooms!

    Was watching local tv news channel some weeks back when the newscaster announced the demise of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, then continued to mention that
    “…a new heir(pronounced ‘HARE’) will be chosen by the ailing King”!!

    Yeah, keep the rural poor forever poor in their tempurung, their fragile pea brain should not be further stressed into learning English which is too difficult for them, as long as they are able to read Utusan and Berita Harian, it’s good enough?
    Meanwhile children of umno leaders/ministers will continue to attend international schools.

  5. #5 by rockdaboat on Saturday, 5 November 2011 - 12:15 pm

    I thought the arrogant Moo just nailed the coffin two days ago?

    He must have put in the wrong corpse!

  6. #6 by rockdaboat on Saturday, 5 November 2011 - 12:16 pm

    Malaysian education policy is a real big joke.

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 5 November 2011 - 12:24 pm

    ///I like clearly state my disgust with PR for not being able to come out to support PPSMI as an OPTION./// #2 by tsng

    What is there to be disgusted? It is reality that politicians -whether on BN or PR’s side- want votes to come to power or stay in power and to get votes they have to accommodate the different segments/constituencies’ whose majority sentiments are principally driven by primordial sentiments of and competition between race religion and creed. PR (esp PAS and PKR) would not openly state the position against (say) PPSMI or Hudud. DAP’s argument against Hudud on grounds that it is not part of Common Policy Platform ( Buku Jingga) will be matched by PAS/PKR argument that PPSMI is not part of Common Policy Platform ( Buku Jingga). The country is going to the dogs because politicians [at the moment principally BN since they’re in power though PR (esp PKR/PAS) doesn’t show that have prospects to much better even if given a chance] don’t lead by actions and policies to teach the people to think at higher organisation of thought and action but instead pander to – often exacerbate- their basic instincts and sentiments to get votes for power. The only measuring cast of difference is that PR could point to BN’s corruption but bear in mind the accuser is also not in power yet to be able to prove it is above it.

  8. #8 by k1980 on Saturday, 5 November 2011 - 12:26 pm

    Looks like Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim won’t be appointed as a senator in the future.

    After amateur tennis ball picker Nallakarrapan, I would expect Saifool Bookhari, Ummi Hafifa, Azizan the former driver of Anwar, Riduan Tee, cintanegara, chengho, the papagommorrah blog owner, the BN-friendly unelectable office-bearers in Parti Cinta Masia, KITA, ect to be appointed senators in the coming weeks.

  9. #9 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 5 November 2011 - 12:41 pm

    Of course it I true that politicians need votes of their constituencies and they cannot- in terms of what they say they will do- go too far ahead of the sentiments of their constituents’ sentiments and backwardness or else they will lose their votes. However having said that it is still necessary for politicians to nudge, cajole guide point and lead inch by inc if not foot by foot the right way for their constituents’ thinking to follow the right path based on principles of what is just and right for all so that the country has a chance to break out if not now then in the future from the groove of narrow racial and religious parochialism into the higher sunlit lands of both material mental and emotional development to stand proud & earn respect amongst family of nations. Instead of doing this they prefer to pander and accommodate their constituents’ primordial sentiments of and competition between race religion and creed, double talk to different audiences, and even throw money, to maximize popularity. This is a serious dereliction and failure of leadership and a lack of understand the meaning of responsibility of leadership. Sorry for having to say this.

  10. #10 by monsterball on Saturday, 5 November 2011 - 12:43 pm

    All the BN clowns are assembled to stand for elections ….when they cannot stand on their own two feet without clutches.
    Come one…come all…kopitiam fellas are ready…with the support of young voters.
    How wonderful life will be…without BN politicians and their puppets talking nonsense.
    And since nonsensical stuffs are what they are good at…we must face them with the same tactic..from the shores…from land…from air.
    We will churchilled them…. till 13th GE.

  11. #11 by tak tahan on Saturday, 5 November 2011 - 12:59 pm

    /However having said that it is still necessary for politicians to nudge, cajole guide point and lead inch by inc if not foot by foot the right way for their constituents’ thinking to follow the right path based on principles of what is just and right for all so that the country has a chance to break out if not now then in the future from the groove of narrow racial and religious parochialism into the higher sunlit lands of both material mental and emotional development to stand proud & earn respect amongst family of nations./

    Yes,Jeffrey,you’re right.Hopefully the majority Malays will also wise up and willing to take the changes necessarily for the nation to progress.

  12. #12 by Jong on Saturday, 5 November 2011 - 2:09 pm

    Mine too, under moderation since 11.34am! Sigh.

  13. #13 by isahbiazhar on Saturday, 5 November 2011 - 4:58 pm

    The only way to solve this problem is to vote out the present government and the new government will have to continue with English as the main medium of instruction and giving greater emphasis to Bahasa making it compulsory for students to pass at every level to be promoted.This system will produce good writers in Malay for the country which had failed to produce writers in Bahasa Melayu though the medium has been in Malay for the past 54 years!

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 5 November 2011 - 7:10 pm

    What is MCA trying to do in backing Putrajaya in scrapping PPSMI (teaching and learning of mathematics and science in English) but suggested that English be turned into a compulsory pass subject like Bahasa Malaysia in the SPM examination? (see TheMalaysianInsider) The simple reasoning behind this suggestion must be that students will gain competence in English when they are forced to study it since its compulsory subject. English like any language is learnt through currency of usage and not forcing students to pass it as compulsory subject. YB our children are subject to the pressure and torture of politicisation of education. For Ketuanan agenda they need to dignify the nationl language, a compulsory subject; and just so they can properly indoctrinated so as not to question the version of history required by the poiwers-that-be they have to also compulsorily pass history – and now same pressure to do so for English, just so to acknowledge its importance and yet at same time not seen as making national language loses an iota of its overarching importance, with sugestions and solutions of compromise faraway from reality and making the whole education instruction process a chore and pressure cooker killing all natural interest to learn. When is all this going to end?

  15. #15 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 6 November 2011 - 7:27 am

    This public debate of Mahathir’s PPSMI versus Muhyiddin’s MBMMBI gets confused, loses focus and goes nowhere because both are half measures seeking to satisfy and accommodate political than educational objectives. PPSMI assumes that a language like English can be learnt through mathematical and scientific formulas – which is firstly questionable and, secondly, it ignores the reality that those who are proficient to teach science and mathematics may not be proficient in English themselves much less to teach English whilst those are otherwise may know nuts about science and maths! Because of this questionable premise, the opponents of PPSMI have an argument to abolish it and to come out with an alternative that is equally unrealistic ie bringing professionals in to teach English or making English compulsory subject. At the heart of issue is currency of usage, and heart of debate, symbolism: more currency of English usage has been construed as less importance being placed on national language that defines national identity based on Malayness that compromises Ketuanan, more important, than either educational needs of our children or the economic competitiveness of the country.

  16. #16 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 6 November 2011 - 7:42 am

    MCA’s proposal – to make English compulsory & introduce Literature- in tandem with abolishment of lPPSMI is unrealistic. Improving English is by making its usage more in schools, not forcing students to study because its compulsory subject. Unless more English is used and improved how can we expect them understand English literature by the greatest of English literary icons from Shakespeare Chaucer Milton to more contemporay John Keats, William Worthsworth & Blake??? Unless they mean Aesop’s Fables will be introduced as English Literature?? On the other side of political divide, Selayang PKR MP William Leong said,
    “The education system should make room for English-medium schools just as it has for Mandarin and Tamil schools” (so that parents can choose) – The MalaysianInsider 5-11-2011. This is equally unrealistic because parents will all choose English medium schools and the dignity of our National language will be argued as being diminished by Ketuanan politicians. One notes that includes not just UMNO’s but also PKR’s & PAS’s politicians of Malay ethnicity. It is noteworthy that PKR’s position need to be articulated on side line by one like Leong and not the PKR’s chief, Anwar Ibrahim who is worried he may lose support of Malay votes if he says it!

  17. #17 by monsterball on Sunday, 6 November 2011 - 1:25 pm

    Once in awhile…all comments are approved.
    It depends on the Moderator’s moods.
    Jeffery seems to have all the luck.

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