KUCHING, Jan 31: The announcement to use English for Science and Mathematics by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as acting Education Minister is for the good of Malaysia, opined political observer Datuk Peter Minos.
“He is to be saluted for bringing back English for the teaching of Maths and Science. This matters a lot for the nation and its future.
“We all know that Tun Mahathir is very pro-English all this while. He brought English last round when he was prime minister but some people unwisely threw it out. Now he got the chance to bring it back for the second round. Jolly good. Let us hope nobody kicks out English out anymore,” Minos said here today.
Minos reiterated that Dr Mahathir must be applauded by Malaysians because he was the one at federal level who dared to do it.
“Others may just talk about the importance of English but have no guts to implement it for fear of backlash from the many anti-English groups in the country. There is no need to repeat but suffice to say that English is now the most important global language of science, technology, commerce and industry, law and diplomacy, IT and cyber, arts and culture, ideas and knowledge and so on.
“Without English it is very hard and difficult for any individual and a nation to advance and progress in our current world of liberalisation and globalisation. So important is English that many nations and individuals in this world pay heavily to learn and master it,” said Minos.
Minos pointed out that any Malaysian who is anti-English for whatever reason was either naive, ignorant, or stupid.
“Of course we are never ready for the return of English. Rural kids are not ready for it, neither are the teachers. But we must start somewhere. By and by, we will get the technical problems solved.
“Just ask: were we in the 50s and 60s ready for the use of English as a medium of instruction? We were not, but we started off with English. Through time, we did know both spoken and written English. Now that there is the political will, we start from there and by and by, English will come back and Malaysians, say by 2030, will be speaking and writing in English pretty well. No more flip flop, please,” he urged.
Minos asserted that by bringing back English, it did not mean that Malaysians forgot or abandoned Bahasa Malaysia (BM).
“We do need BM as a language for domestic communication and for national unity. Yes, BM is very much needed along with English. But ignoring and neglecting English and only focusing on BM, as previously done, was not wise and not smart. Better and wiser like now where both English and BM go together hand in hand,” he said.
He also hoped that by by 2030 when Malaysians could speak and write in both English and BM pretty well they could say “thanks” to Tun Mahathir.
“Much better still if Mandarin is added in, on top of knowing our own ethnic languages. It is smartness and wisdom if we are multi-lingual and thus multi-cultured and learned,” said Minos.
Minos was commenting on news report which quoted Acting Education Minister Tun Dr Mahathir English as saying that English will once again be used to teach Mathematics and Science.
“It is very important that we give time for English, particularly in learning Science and Math. Geography and History can come in any language but Math and Science are not indigenous fields of knowledge (to us). It comes from abroad.
“And most of it comes to us in English, therefore we are going to use English in the teaching of Science and Math,” Dr Mahathir said during a special meeting with Education Ministry management officials on Thursday.
Previously, the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English was introduced in phases, beginning with Year One, Form One and Lower Six students in 2003 under Dr Mahathir’s first tenure as prime minister. It was abolished in 2013. —DayakDaily