YONG PENG: Students in Chinese vernacular schools must be continuously exposed to the usage of Bahasa Malaysia so that they will not face a shock when they move onto the secondary level at national schools.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong attributed the causes of truancy and dropouts among Chinese students in secondary schools to the difficulties in catching up with lessons due to their poor command of the national language.
“Once we create a suitable environment for the students to be able to speak and write well in Bahasa Malaysia, I believe they will be able to keep up with the class and be inspired to perform well in school,” added the MCA deputy president.
He added that based on statistics from the National Education Blueprint 2013-2015, only 63% of Chinese Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) candidates managed to score credit passes for the subject.
He said that the number was low compared to Malay candidates who obtained 83% but it is because they have been speaking writing in Bahasa Malaysia at home and in their daily life while Indian candidates recorded 57%.
“The 63% is nothing to be proud of and we should bring the percentage to 80% and I believe that the right exposure to the language should start that the SJK(C) level,” he said when launching the national language for new villages programme here on April 10.
Dr Wee, who is also Ayer Hitam MP said that the programme was the first of a series that will be launched in nine new villages nationwide to encourage the students to love the national language.
The programme will subsequently be launched at Kg Baru Kuala Bikam in Perak, Kg Baru Pekan Nenas in Johor, Kg Baru Rasah in Negri Sembilan, Kg Baru Behrang Station in Perak, Kg Baru Plentong in Johor, Kg Baru Chepa in Kelantan, Kg Baru Salak Selatan in Kuala Lumpur, Kg Baru Rangkaian Sg Lembing in Pahang and Kg Baru Machap Umboo in Malacca.
At the event, students as well as villagers took part in drama sketches, karaoke sessions and traditional games – all in Bahasa Malaysia, with prizes to be won.
Meanwhile, Dr Wee’s wife Datin Jessica Lim Hai Ean also handed out RM600 cash contribution to eight students on behalf of Bakti (Welfare Organisation of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers) after the event.