DAP ever-prepared to meet with Mahathir or Abdullah on educationally-sound efforts to raise proficiency in English, mathematics and science of Malaysian students


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Saturday): It would be most unfortunate if the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and UMNO leaders learn about the views of the Chinese community from the Utusan Malaysia instead of from the Chinese-based Barisan Nasional parties, the Chinese community or the Chinese mass media. 

Yesterday,Mahathir said that the government believes that many among the Chinese community support its plan to introduce the teaching of mathematics and science in English but they prefer to remain silent. 

He said it was obvious that many of the Chinese parents wanted their children to master the English language and referred to a report in Utusan Malaysia yesterday about over 7,000  Chinese students from Johore who continued their middle secondary education in Singapore annually so that they could study in English.  He said  that there are other Chinese who disagree but those who agree do not say anything. 

I do not know when Utusan Malaysia became the most authoritative source on the wishes and feelings of the Chinese community but it is sad that Mahathir seems to put more trust and reliance on the Utusan Malaysia than on the Chinese-based Barisan Nasional parties, the Chinese community or the Chinese press on what the Malaysian Chinese want. 

The overwhelming majority of Malaysians, regardless of party affiliation, race, religion, language or culture fully support government efforts to raise the proficiency of English, mathematics and science in schools and universities, but this does not mean support for using English to teach mathematics and science in primary schools from Std. One. 

The Utusan Malaysia report on the 7,000 Chinese students from Johore continuing their middle secondary education in Singapore speaks volumes about the lack of confidence of Malaysians in the Malaysian educational system but it does not mean support for the use of English to teach mathematics and science in primary schools from Std. One unless Utusan Malaysia and Mahathir are seriously considering the restoration of full English-medium schools where all subjects are taught in English from Std. One. 

Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that the government is ready to make adjustments to the implementation of the use of English for science and mathematics in schools so long as the objective of improving the standard of English remains.

DAP is ever-prepared to meet with Mahathir or Abdullah on educationally-sound efforts to check the decline and  raise proficiency in English, mathematics and science of Malaysian students, which is the common aspiration of all Malaysians.

(24/8/2002)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman