KUALA LUMPUR, 16 Feb 2009: Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has questioned the police report lodged by the national writers association, Gapena, on the policy to teach mathematics and science in English.
“We have been implementing the policy since six years ago, even before I was appointed the education minister.
“So we are a bit wary of such action … what is Gapena’s motive in lodging the report now?” he said when met by reporters in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Gapena lodged the police report against the Education Ministry yesterday claiming that the policy contravened the Education Act 1996 which stated that the Malay language should be the medium of instruction in all national education institutions except in national-type schools.
Gapena said the policy also contravened the Article 152(1) and 152(6) of the Federal Constitution on the use of Malay as the national language for all.
He said the government had given the opportunities to all to state their views on the issue but it would be impossible to make changes overnight.
“Several roundtable sessions had been carried out. In the end, the decision will have to be tabled to the cabinet,” he said.
Asked to comment on the statement by the Malaysian National Muslim Students Association that based on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study there had been a drastic drop in students’ performance in the two subjects, Hishammuddin said, the report was not a reflection of the true situation.
“The examination papers for the two subjects are still in bilingual. So there is no reason to say that the policy causes the decline in students’ performance,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gapena’s deputy president Prof Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Bakar rejected Hishammuddin’s statement that Gapena only made police report only after the policy was into its sixth year of implementation.
Abdul Latiff said Gapena had been opposing the policy since its inception.
“We are holding on to our stand and the police report is part of the process to restore the teaching of the two subjects in Malay,” he told reporters here.
He hoped that Hishammuddin would be able to meet Gapena so that both sides could resolve the impasse.
“We are also planning to send a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin in the near future,” he said. — Bernama