The topic of embracing English in Malaysia has always been the centre of heated debates because many Malaysians would like to preserve their mother tongue instead of learning a “foreigner’s language”.
However, we already know that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has always pushed the public to learn the language by supporting the teaching of science and mathematics in English back during his first tenure as Prime Minister because he believes that it will prepare us to be globally competitive.
Recently, he solidified his stance on English again as he urged Malaysians to look past their nationalistic pride and asked them to willingly accept science and mathematics being taught in the English language. The 94-year-old prime minister was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying,
“A nation where the people are adamant to preserve their mother tongue – if they lack the knowledge, then the country will not progress.”
Tun M’s reason for pushing Malaysians to learn English is that science, mathematics, information technology (IT) and artificial intelligence (AI) were “pioneered and explored” in countries where English is more commonly used.
He reckoned that those who are not fluent in English will face obstacles when trying to learn the knowledge or when translating it into the national language. He has a point because often times, important knowledge can get lost in translation.
On that note, the government is currently discussing at length whether to reintroduce the Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics (PPSMI) in English. Tun M then finally said,
“On the reintroducing of PPSMI, the Education Ministry is studying in-depth on the matter by preparing a new system to include the teaching of IT.”
Well, those are some strong arguments made by the seventh prime minister of Malaysia. What’s your take on the issue? Let us know in the comments below!
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