Stay objective over new DLP guidelines, Fadhlina urges

PETALING JAYA: Everyone must remain objective over the recently introduced Dual Language Programme (DLP) guidelines, says Fadhlina Sidek.

The Education Minister said that the implementation must adhere to the "Upholding Malay Language and Strengthening Command of English (MBMMBI)" policy, and work towards achieving the nation's goals.

"We should not compromise students' right to learn Mathematics and Science in Malay, and for those in vernacular schools, to learn in their mother tongue," she said on Wednesday (June 19).

Fadhlina mentioned that the newly introduced guidelines, which aimed to improve the programme, have received mixed reactions.

"Some claim the move is a step backwards, while others believe it is a 'corrective measure', a leap forward for more sustainable DLP implementation," she said.

She expressed concern over the lack of mastery in Bahasa Malaysia (BM) among students, including those in schools implementing the DLP, despite a slight improvement (2.5%) in BM's Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) scores.

"This has significant repercussions because BM is an SPM must-pass subject," she added.

Fadhlina also noted that the MBMMBI policy clearly indicates the need to uphold BM's position as the national language, as stipulated in the Federal Constitution, and to strengthen students' command of English.

She acknowledged the concerns of Malay groups —comprising nationalists, national laureates, language activists, writers, academics, and advocates — against the programme, given that proficiency in BM among some Malaysians remains low.

"The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, has commented that efforts to raise English language proficiency among Malaysians should not come at the expense of BM," she said.

The Education Ministry, she asserted, will not bow to pressure from any group or individuals "who only want things according to their preferences".

"When a policy is crafted, it must be inclusive, for the greater good. It should not be exclusive in the interest of certain groups or individuals only," she said.

Fadhlina added that the DLP is not the only programme to improve English proficiency among students.

"We also have the Professional Upskilling for English Language Teachers (Pro-ELT) and the Highly Immersive Programme (HIP), which involves teachers and students in all schools," she said.

"The ministry has also included the initiative to uphold the position of BM and strengthen English as one of the six key initiatives to reform Malaysian education strategically.

"This should be seen as a serious intent to improve the standard of English among teachers and students," she added.

Recently, some schools and parent groups had spoken out against the ministry's directive mandating that, if they want to run the DLP, at least one class at each level must teach science and mathematics in BM or the mother tongue.

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