have at 2 p.m. today sent an email to the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi detailing six steps for the Cabinet tomorrow to defuse the
controversy over the use of English to teach maths and science in Chinese and
Tamil primary schools to ensure that it will not be the cause for the repeat of
the 43rd National Day discord and division for this year’s National
email to Abdullah reads:
refer to your statement this morning that the
cabinet will discuss the proposal to use Engish in the teaching of
Science and Mathematics in all schools, including the vernacular schools.
will be celebrating the 45th
National Day at the end of the month, which should be the occasion to tell the
world that Malaysia has matured as a democratic plural nation ready to take our
rightful place in the international comity of nations as well as to be an
important player in the era of
globalization, liberalization and information and communications technology.
is important therefore that the Cabinet tomorrow should take bold steps to
ensure that the 45th National Day does not become a repeat of the 43rd
National Day two years ago, when the country was plunged into division and
discord because of certain irresponsible elements who tried to exploit the Suqiu
Election Appeals – when these Appeals had received the endorsement of the
Barisan Nasional parties before the 1999 general election.
the 45th National Day Celebrations on August 31, 2002 send out the
clear and unmistakable message that Malaysians, regardless of their race,
religion or political beliefs, have more in common than in conflict, and that
unity in diversity must remain the watchword in Malaysian nation-building.
there is a distinct danger that the 45th National Day may be a repeat
of the 43rd National Day, a blot in the history of National Days in
the country, in the way the proposal to use English to teach science and
mathematics in the different streams of primary schools had been manipulated and
Cabinet tomorrow should defuse the issue by ensuring
at least the following:
the issue of the use of English to teach mathematics and science
will never be allowed to be the cause for a repeat of the 43rd
National Day discord and division, setting back the cause of national unity.
democratic consultation and national consensus as the basis for effecting policy
changes in the national education system with the Education Minister and other
top government leaders meeting with all political parties, educational groups
and concerned Malaysians on the educational soundness of the proposal and to
hear alternative views;
that there is no disagreement
whether among political parties in government and opposition, or in the
Malaysian civil society, including Chinese and Tamil educational bodies, on the
urgent need for a special programme to check the decline in the standard of
English in schools and universities, and that
the Government should be seeking a national consensus instead of trying
to force a political showdown on the issue.
of focusing solely on the proposal to use
English to teach mathematics and science from Std. One as the only means
to raise English proficiency in the primary schools, the government and nation
should think of more effective ways to raise the standard of English
in national, Chinese and Tamil primary schools to meet the challenges of
globalization, liberalization and ICT.
that it is not feasible or practical to
enforce one proposal uniformly for all the different primary school streams
because of the vast differences in the backgrounds and circumstances, as for
instance, English had been taught as a subject from
year one in all national
primary schools but only from year
three of Chinese and Tamil schools for the past two decades – students in
national primary schools get 16 hours of English lesson per month from Year One
to Year Six, Chinese and Tamil primary school pupils start English classes at
Year Three with three hours a month and six hours and 15 minutes a month from
Year Four to Six.
release of the Abdul Rafei Committee on the use of English to teach mathematics
and science in schools and all other government reports, studies and
recommendations in the past two decades on the enhancement of English
proficiency in schools, universities and the country.
had yesterday sent an email requesting a meeting with YAB with DAP leaders on
this issue to find ways of reaching a national consensus to raise English
proficiency in schools and universities, and it is hoped that such a meeting
could be arranged as soon as possible.”