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.