KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians, especially those from rural areas, can now learn English for free under the Finance Ministry's Bahasa Inggeris 1Malaysia (BI1M) programme.
The programme is tailored to help Malaysians improve their communications skills in English.
Finance Ministry director Dr Aminuddin Hassim said the idea for BI1M came from the roadshows the ministry conducted throughout the country, where it was observed that the progress of some Malaysian entrepreneurs was hampered by their lack of English proficiency.
“Some people still can't enjoy the development (in many fields) due to their lack of English skills,” Aminuddin told the press at the launch of the BI1M programme yesterday.
By improving their English communication skills, he said more Malaysians could become entrepreneurs with better marketing skills.
“We want to encourage Malaysians to have a better grasp of English so that they can contribute to the economy of their families and the country.
“They can sell their products (better) if they can communicate with tourists and customers in English,” he said, adding that these entrepreneurs could also share ideas and discover innovations by other people.
He said that the programme, which would go on for five months in its first run, would be conducted with the help of Science of Life Studies 24/7 (Sols 24/7) Malaysia, Malaysian facilitators and teachers.
“When we designed this programme, we knew that we needed to involve the community,” he said, adding that many retired English teachers had volunteered for BI1M.
For the first run, he said 17 locations around the country have been chosen as the centres for the English classes, which would be free for all from the community.
"The classes are located at Urban Transformation Centres and Rural Transformation Centres so that they will be easily accessible," he said, adding that the ministry expected over 3,000 people to benefit from the first run of the programme.