The PPSMI Issue

The market will punish us. Accordingly I find it difficult to support the government's decision to revert teaching science and maths in Bahasa Melayu.

I was talking to two serving ADUNs from Pahang. They are from MCA. Both are university graduates. One of the issues we talked about is the teaching and learning of science and maths in English. In Malay it is called PPSMI. I told them, the subjects will be taught in Malay again. Mana boleh they said. It must be retained as of now. As of now, means, they are taught in English.

These are Malaysian Chinese speaking on the subject. I know both went through primary Chinese schools. I don't think their loyalty to whatever Chinese cultural cause is lesser than those who espoused the same vehemently. Yet, they regard a reversal to the teaching of the two subjects in Malay disturbing and ominous.

I do not think it is the teaching in Malay per se that bothers them. The Chinese seem to have been very adaptive to their social environment. Even when the medium of instruction has become almost entirely in Bahasa Melayu, it has not stopped the Chinese students from doing very well. Some even scored better in Bahasa Melayu than Malay students.

What borders them is the economics of mastering a language that allows the Chinese boys to compete will be taken away. Mastery over the universal language of commerce opens more doors for students. They understood the economics of learning English. The Chinese have benefited from learning English. Multinationals prefer domiciling in countries where the standard of English is high. It follows therefore that, a country with a workforce with a high standard of English language is preferred. The Chinese don't want to lose out economically. Mastering the English language places the students on a higher premium.