MORE than 35,000 students in Sabah attended vernacular schools last year and 43% of them were bumiputra, so it is not logical to close vernacular schools, said an Umno delegate from Sabah.
According to Datuk Taufiq Abu Bakar Titingan, out of 35,162 students studying in Chinese vernacular schools in Sabah last year, 15,120 were bumiputra.
“There is one Chinese school in Tawau where 84% of the students are bumiputra.
He said the Government should do more to improve the quality of the national language in vernacular schools.
Tawfiq, who is from Tawau, said rather than close down such schools, the quality of Bahasa Malaysia had to be strengthened there “as the younger generation, regardless of their race and religion, need to be well versed in the language”.
“In fact, close to 85% of the bumiputra students are studying in Chinese schools in my constituency, so there is no need to close down these schools," he said during the debate on the Umno president’s policy speech yesterday.
Tawfiq hoped the Government would consider sending more teachers to vernacular schools to help students converse better in Bahasa Malaysia.
He recalled a function he attended where the guest of honour was a politician whose command of Bahasa Malaysia was poor.
“He was giving a speech but some of the words were pronounced wrongly and the people were laughing at him.
“We don’t want our young children to speak poor Bahasa Malaysia. We want everyone to speak well,” said Tawfiq.