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Muslim NGOs split over English

PETALING JAYA, 6 Mar 2009: Malay Muslim non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are divided over the English for Teaching Mathematics and Science (ETeMS) policy.

For example, Pewaris Permuafakatan Islam and the Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) have expressed support for the policy’s continuation, while the Malaysian Muslim Youth Movement (Abim) has called for a review.


Noor Nirwandy
“When the angkasawan was training overseas, did he speak in bahasa Negeri (Sembilan)? When our students study medicine in the UK, do they study in bahasa Kelantan?” Rahimuddin Md Harun, Pewaris’s second deputy chairperson, said in a telephone interview.

“If English is the predominant language of academia, then we have to accept this,” he added.

PPIM project director Noor Nirwandy said Malaysia still doesn’t have a “strong body of literature in science and mathematics written in Bahasa Malaysia.”

He noted that the fear of rural students being unable to cope with the learning of subjects in English is real.

“But this only means that the government has to find a way to equip students in rural areas with the capacity to learn and communicate in English,” he told The Nut Graph.

He said although Bahasa Malaysia needs to be respected as the national language, compromises should be made to inculcate a culture of knowledge-seeking among the young.

Abim, however, has said learning science and mathematics would be easier if Bahasa Malaysia was the medium of instruction.

“We have to accept that the implementation of this policy during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration was hasty, without proper and comprehensive research,” Abim secretary-general Khairul Arifin Mohd Munir said on the organisation’s website.

Yesterday, former Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad admitted that there were weaknesses in the policy’s implementation.

Musa, who was the Education Minister when the government began implementing the policy six years ago, said although its intention was good, the policy failed to achieve its objectives.

Several different groups, including literary figures and opposition political parties, have banded together under the Abolish PPSMI (the Malay-language acronym for ETeMS) Coalition, otherwise known by its Malay acronym of GMP.


GMP comprises 50 organisations against the teaching of maths and science in English

GMP is planning to hold a 100,000-strong public rally tomorrow in front of Istana Negara to hand over a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to abolish the policy, even though the police has sternly warned against the gathering.

GMP chairperson Datuk Hassan Ahmad told Malaysiakini on 21 Jan that GMP’s struggle was not merely a Malay struggle.

“If it were like Hindraf, I would not be involved,” he said.

See also:

Scaling the language barrier

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7 Responses to “Muslim NGOs split over English”

  1. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear People,

    I welcome the far sightedness of some of these Malay Muslim NGOs who understand that the language of science and technology is English.

    I do not glorify or worship the English language. I am not an anglophile. However we need to understand that the millions of scientific books and journals are written in English. So you either have to translate these zillions of books into Malay – or you simply teach maths and science in English. Which is more practical?

    That’s the reality of the transfer of technology that you have to face.

    Best Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  2. Jason says:

    On the one hand we have the Abolish PPSMI, whose main goal is to stop young people learning in English. They don’t care about the future of our young people, they’re just supposedly concerned about losing culture and religion. It’s Bahasa all the way or the highway.

    On the other hand we have Pewaris and PPIM, they care about our young people, culture and religion. They’re not arguing to keep Bahasa out and bring in English. The issue with them isn’t which is the better language. It’s ensuring that our young people can compete, communicate and share ideas with the wider global village AND at the same time keep their identity.

    Sometimes I feel that we’re trying to ensure that the young don’t get too educated, lest they see through the deception. Especially when they start learning alternative histories, read independent English blogs and renowned foreign English newspapers and magazines. See, 50 years ago it was really easy to manipulate and control the people. Today it’s getting a lot harder, somebody is losing control.

    P.S. I wonder if all our sultans speak fluent English, I’m willing to go all in that they do. Including all our “Bangsawans” in this country that send their kids to Oxford.

  3. Maozi says:

    From what I heard from Chinese school teachers, what is scary about this issue is the government will have every excuse to send Chinese-illiterate teachers to Chinese schools to teach, and thus further sideline the already endangered mother tongue education.

  4. Nadia Ali says:

    Agree with Syed Alwi.

    I feel sorry for the children of GMP.

    The reality is, even now, undergrads who have previously learned science and math in English are struggling with their subjects in university. Inikan pula yang tak pernah belajar langsung.Have pity on your children.

  5. Assalammualaikum dan salam sejahtera;

    Saya berpandangan bahawa ramai pihak telah salah anggap tentang isu PPSMI. Kumpulan yang membantah PPSMI tidak pernah menafikan kepentingan bahasa Inggeris sebagai bahasa yang penting untuk dipelajari. Kita menentang polisi bukan isu kepentingan bahasa Inggeris. Namun yang tersilap di sini ialah pendekatan atas nama kemajuan, pelajaran Sains dan Matematik dikorbankan sedangkan kita tidak pernah mengubah dasar cara / kaedah dan metodologi pengajaran bahasa Inggeris. Kaedah pelajar diajar masih tiada perubahan.

    Kita mengubat sesuatu tanpa tahu apa penyakitnya. Tanpa tahu apa puncanya. Kita selalu tersilap … namun padahnya adalah pada generasi akan datang.

    Saya kini belajar di Glasgow untuk pengajian Master, saya bersyukur saya mempunyai asas bahasa Melayu yang kukuh menyebabkan saya mempunyai kerangka berfikir yang “istimewa” berbanding dengan pelajar lain.

    Saya juga berjumpa dengan pelajar-pelajar kursus Engineering/Kejuruteraan di sini sebagai contohnya tidak mempunyai masalah walaupun mereka merupakan pelajar Melayu. Saya juga berjumpa dengan pelajar German, Korea, Perancis, yang mana bahasa pengajaran mereka ialah bahasa ibunda, mereka masih tiada masalah belajar malah lebih baik dalam pelajaran.

    Cuma satu yang saya tahu, ialah kaedah pembelajaran bahasa Inggeris mereka jauh lebih ke hadapan berbanding kaedah yang kita gunakan.

    Saya juga mendengar komen daripada seorang professor di SOAS London bahawa polisi PPSMI yang dibuat oleh kerajaan ini tidak menguntungkan kerana ia akan mencabut nilai budaya dan nilai jatidiri masyarakat Malaysia.

    Kita pernah kehilangan tulisan jawi … kita juga kini mula hilang jatidiri … kelak anak bangsa kita tidak tahu lagi atau mungkin geli menggunakan bahasa Melayu kerana bahasa itu hanya jadi bahasa pasar, hilang nilai intelektualnya, hilang nilai persuratannya.

    Bagi yang ingin maklumat lanjut sila layari laman web kumpulan prihatin : http://www.prihatin.net/

    Elok juga kepada yang tidak bersetuju menyiasat dahulu mengapa bantahan ini dibuat. Banyak kajian kita telah kemukakan dalam mebantah ini. Elok juga individu seperti Dr Syed Alwi kemukakan kajian empirikal yang menyokong kepentingan dan manfaat polisi PPSMI.

    Saya kesal juga membaca pandangan Pewaris dan PPIM yang secara jelas tidak memahami isu ini secara lebih mendalam.

    Elok juga membaca buku “Kenapa Kami Membantah” tentang isu PPSMI tebitan PTS Sdn Bhd.

    Boleh muat turun melalui: http://www.kongresbahasa.org/?p=199
    atau
    http://www.kongresbahasa.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/ebook-mengapa-kami-bantah.pdf

    Sekian.

    Khairul
    Glasgow, United Kingdom

  6. panjanglai says:

    An easy way out would be to have some selected schools to have maths and science taught in English while the other schools could have the two subjects taught in their mother tongue. This way parents will decide which schools to send their children to. I can bet my bottom dollar this will spell doom for the SRK and SRJK(T) schools as parents will be clamouring for an “English” education for their children. Let parents decide and not politicians or NGOs, most of whom always have their own agenda.

  7. GMP says:

    “Pupus bahasa, pupuslah bangsa”


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