Aah, the wonders of the internet, less than 24 hours after Idris Jala made a very brave policy statement of the BN Government ...English mastery not needed to achieve Vision 2020, he is today flayed left right and center by the Mothers and Fathers Action Group(PAGE), businessman and politicians:
PAGE, politicians tear down Idris Jala’s dismissal of English
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal and Boo Su-Lyn September 30, 2010(MI)
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 — The country’s most vocal pro-English-language lobby group today tore into Datuk Seri Idris Jala’s suggestion that there was no need to master the language to become a high-income nation by the year 2020.
The Cabinet minister said yesterday that Malaysia would be able to achieve a high-income economy status with the national language, citing Korea and Japan as countries that became high-income nations without mastering the English language.
PAGE chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim maintained today that mastering English was crucial in transforming Malaysia into a knowledge economy, pointing out that Bahasa Malaysia was not by any means an international language.
“Bahasa Malaysia, with all due respect, is not an international language. The only other country which uses Bahasa is Indonesia and they are hardly a high-income nation.
“The mastery of the English language is important for the knowledge behind English. No matter how much money we make, the work force must have the right skills and mindsets,” she said.
Noor Azimah hit out at Idris for being “politically correct” with his remarks yesterday.
“I think this is something which is out of Idris’ jurisdiction, and is something which is the most politically-correct thing to say at this point of time. Idris is regurgitating the government’s stand to abolish the teachings of science and mathematics in English.
“What makes the private sector are the people behind it who are driving it, and inefficiency in mastering English can affect the private sector,” she told The Malaysian Insider.
PAGE has urged the private sector to push for the reinstatement of the policy to teach science and mathematics in English, saying that it is crucial for the success of the government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).
Noor Azimah reiterated her stand that since the private sector was to drive the ETP, a skilled workforce was needed and the only way around it was to master the English language.
“In the first place, Idris Jala is where he is today because of his knowledge of the English language. If you were to look at all the bigwigs who turned up at the recent ETP open day, all of them are fluent speakers of the English language. Nazir Razak was educated in Britain. Even his children are getting their education there. Why aren’t they educated in Korea or Japan?” said the PAGE chairman.
The ETP is one of the Najib administration’s initiatives aimed at roughly tripling gross national income in the next 10 years and is based on a slew of private sector-driven projects that would require private funds to the tune of US$266 billion (RM822 billion).
Idris, who is the Performance Management & Delivery Unit (Pemandu) CEO, also said yesterday that a top-notch quality of education was enough to boost the nation’s economy towards achieving Vision 2020.
“If you look at Sabah and Sarawak, they have enjoyed 10 years of additional English education over Peninsular Malaysia. Now they are more employable than Peninsular Malaysians who have not mastered English,” said Noor Azimah.
Others echoing PAGE’s views have also slammed Idris for his remarks.
UDA Holdings Bhd chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed disagreed with Idris’ views, dismissing it as the remarks of a minister who “has yet to learn the ropes” of doing his job.
Nur Jazlan stressed that English was a “language of wealth”, stating that even countries like China have begun embracing the English language.
“With the advent of the Internet, English has now become more important as the language of information dissemination on a global scale. It’s a language of wealth. Even China is embracing English, what are we doing? I disagree with Idris, everyone wants to learn English,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
The Umno Pulai MP claimed that Idris was “talking about the past” when he used Japan and Korea as role models, saying that times have now changed and the English language has become more important.
“He (Idris) should not talk about the past. Thirty or 40 years ago English was not as widely used as now. Times have changed, and so should we. We have to move with the times, adapt and become competitive, or risk being left out,” Nur Jazlan added.
DAP Socialist Youth chief Anthony Loke lambasted Idris’s statement as “unrealistic”, pointing out that Malaysia’s top leaders had received their education in countries like the United Kingdom and the United States.
“It is so unrealistic to say that English is not important to the country’s development,” said Loke.
“The fact is that our top leaders were all educated in the western world, even Najib. Most of our ministers, and top civil servants were sent to the UK and the US to learn. That had helped develop the country in the past 50 years,” he added.
Loke also noted that Malaysia — a country dependent on foreign technology input — could not be compared with Korea and Japan as they possessed their own technology expertise.
“We cannot compare with Korea and Japan they had the technological know-how to progress. But we depend on the technology of the world. No one is coming to Malaysia to learn from our technology,” he said.
Loke pointed out that former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had introduced the policy of teaching science and mathematics in English to sharpen the country’s knowledge in those areas.
He also cited Malaysia’s trade-dependent and open economy as other factors that underscored the importance of mastering English.
“Ours is a very open economy and trade-dependent. So it makes English even more important for our country as English is the language of trade,” he said, adding that the country’s dependence on the services and tourism sector mandated a fluency in the English language.
read the rest of the MI report here.
I think Idris Jala is way out of his league here. Way to go PAGE patriots and supportive politicians and businessmen too! Yes, bring back the Teaching of Maths and Science in English next year.
What say you Dato' Najib?