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Thursday October 10, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday October 10, 2013 MYT 7:25:01 AM
by martin carvalho AND p. aruna
KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad warned that Malays will be left behind if the Government continues to neglect the teaching of science and mathematics in English.
“It is sad for me, and I do not agree with the Government (on its policy on English). I don’t like to see a Malay who is lacking in knowledge,” he said when addressing participants at the National ICT Association’s (Pikom) Leaders Summit here yesterday.
He said he had brought the matter up with the Government on the importance of English as the language of knowledge but his call fell on deaf ears.
“Do you go to school to acquire knowledge or to learn a language?
“The emphasis today is more on learning how to speak a particular language and I think this is a mistake,” said Mahathir, who added that the Malays would be left behind if English continues to be neglected.
“You may be able to speak fluently in Malay but you will not be able to talk science,” he said, adding that there were limited scientific books and materials translated into Malay.
“Every day, new discoveries are made and scientific papers published in English but not translated into Malay.”
He lamented that the decision to revert to Bahasa Malaysia was politically motivated following protests from Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka in 2008 but it failed to translate into support at the recent polls.
Addressing graduates at the Asian University Presidents Forum on Monday, Dr Mahathir expressed concern that the poor command of the language amongst students would adversely affect their future.
MCA vice-president Gan Ping Sieu also shared Dr Mahathir’s sentiments, saying that while it is the duty of Malaysians to uphold Bahasa Malaysia, the medium of instruction in universities should remain in English.
“The reality is, English has become the global communication tool for commerce and professions.
“It will be suicidal for us to live in self-denial, in the name of strengthening Bahasa Malaysia, to detach ourselves from the international language in our own institutions of higher education,” said Gan.
Both were referring to Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s recent call to institutions of higher learning to strengthen the use of Bahasa Malaysia in their campuses.
Tags / Keywords:
Education, Mahathir Mohamad, English
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