I REFER to the report “Pass English test or no promotion” (The Star, May 20).
Congratulations on your bold move to promote the use of English, especially among the state top officials, Malacca Chief Minister. Like your counterpart in Sarawak, you are able to accept the reality and practicality of English as the international lingua franca and its benefits for the people of Malacca.
And to walk the talk, it is heartening to note that you would like to make English the second language in the state administration.
Truly, I salute you as a visionary leader who has the political will to call upon your high-level civil servants to improve their English proficiency to serve the state more effectively, particularly when communicating and interacting with foreign investors and wooing them to invest in Malacca.
Besides using English as a tool for communication, the state officers can access the world of knowledge through the Internet to get out-of-the-box ideas on how to better improve the social and economic status of the people.
You have taken the necessary step to engage a local university to conduct intensive English courses for your officers, and using the promotion factor as a motivation.
I was actually not surprised that the CM expressed shock when he discovered some of his top state officials were unable to converse in English during a meeting.
Apparently, this has been the scenario in most government departments since Malay replaced English as the medium of instruction in national schools in the mid-1970s.
The Education Ministry had planned to make English a compulsory pass in SPM in 2016, but unfortunately this was postponed last year because the teachers and students were not ready for it to be implemented.
And until now, we still do not know when it will be implemented although it was revealed by the Deputy Education Minister in parliament recently that teachers are still not prepared or qualified enough to teach English. This is despite the upskilling courses that have been conducted for them by foreign English experts since 2012.
I absolutely believe that with English as a compulsory pass for SPM, it will create awareness of the urgency of learning English among secondary school students, which invariably will spill over to college and university students.
Ultimately, the university graduates who serve in any state or federal government departments will be proficient and competent in English so that they can compete with other countries which are also aiming and aspiring to educate their people in English in the ever competitive globalised borderless world.