PETALING JAYA: Making a pass in English compulsory for graduation from public universities will ensure that money will not be spent on giving students soft skills after they leave.
Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said most employers faced interviewing prospective workers with poor English oral and written skills.
“This policy is very much welcomed as English proficiency is one of the things we emphasise. This way, money won’t be spent on students after their graduation to give them this soft skill.
“The Government spends a lot of money on students after graduation which could be counted as wasted resources,” he said here on Wednesday.
He was commenting on a statement by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that English would be a must pass subject at all universities so as to produce graduates who could communicate effectively.
Shamsuddin said at present, the employability of fresh graduates from universities was at around 70%.
“But there is still the 30% who are unable to find employment.
“This number could definitely be improved by graduates having better English skills and their employability within Malaysia, Asean and the international market would increase,” he said.
Some institutions have already enforced similar measures with students in Universiti Malaya requiring to complete and pass two English modules in either reading, writing, presentation or communication and speaking.
“Last year, the system was revamped and our grades for the English courses were to be included in the calculation of our cumulative grade point average (CGPA).
“I thought the presentation skills class would be a breeze with a Band Five in my MUET but I was wrong. After one semester, I can say that it has truly helped my course mates and I,” said chemical engineering student Samuel Yeoh Zheng Yi.
Universiti Putra Malaysia student Nur Faezah Muhd Nur Ilham Peter said although all students had to attend English courses, the frequency of classes were based on their MUET results.
Stennia Miga Ak Radim, a third year student in Teaching English as a Second Language, said Universiti Malaysia Sabah offered classes for those with MUET scores below Band Three.
“I’ve noticed that certain courses do not use English while references are mostly written in the language,” she said, adding that some of her friends were having a hard time understanding journals, books and articles.