Smooth transition

By Mastami Mustaza, NST

KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry will address today all issues on the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English policy (PPSMI), which will put to rest all uncertainties, said its minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The deputy prime minister said he would explain in great detail, addressing parents’ worries, including a smooth transition from PPSMI to the successor policy, MBMBI, or Memartabatkan Bahasa Melayu dan memperkasakan Bahasa Inggeris (Uplifting Bahasa Melayu and strengthening English language).

Muhyiddin said this after meeting participants of SMR HR Group’s English teachers project at the Gardens Hotel here.

He said the decision to abolish PPSMI was made in 2009 and that as far as the ministry was concerned, this was final.

In the wake of comments expressed by certain quarters calling for flexibility in the medium of instruction, he said the government would not bow to pressure from “small groups”.

He said the majority of Malaysians understood and accepted why the policy was discarded in favour of one dignifying Bahasa Melayu and strengthening English language use.

“When the abolition of the PPSMI was announced in 2009, there was no negative reaction.

“It was then brought to the cabinet and later, Parliament, and everyone agreed, including the opposition. Now, there are groups opposing it,” he said, adding that his ministry was not in the habit of making hasty decisions or politically motivated ones.

Instead, decisions were made in the best interests of the people and the nation.
Also, the government had collated extensive data on the implementation and progress of PPSMI.

Muhyiddin said there was no more room for negotiation on the subject and described the Parent Action Group for Education (Page) as being “out of date” for refusing to soften its stance.

He said the government acknowledged that English was an important communications tool in a globalised world.

“The question is whether the best way of teaching English was through Science and Mathematics or by bringing in professionals. I think this is the best approach.”

He said in terms of MBMBI, the government’s focus was on improving the learning and teaching of English in schools.

Many initiatives have been made, such as designing a new curriculum and adding new content, improving the support system and infrastructure in schools, with language laboratories to be expanded to all primary and later, secondary schools.

He said even as the debate on PPSMI dragged, this showed how serious the government was on the teaching of English in Malaysia.

To reporters’ questions on the stance of Barisan Nasional component parties, MCA and MIC, supporting PPSMI, Muhyiddin said they had agreed with its abolishment in cabinet.

On the issue pertaining to Section 15(5)(a) of the University and University Colleges Act (UUCA) 1971, Muhyiddin said this was for the Higher Education Ministry to decide, in particular, whether to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s ruling.

However, he said if Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin needed advice, he could bring it to the cabinet meeting today.