Thursday, 2 June 2011

The reinstatement of PPSMI will make the Sekolah Kebangsaan a better alternative than the Vernacular Schools

The great  debate about how badly polarised we are as a multiracial nation is still continuing and for all practical purposes many have come up with the idea of a Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua system which will ensure that our children will not be segregated when they are still young. 

Segregating our young from primary school is a sure fire way to ensure polarisation when they are adults, because people who grow up without knowing each others' culture and religion even the official language Bahasa Melayu are cursed to grow up feeling alien to each other.

I like to quote from Dr. Farish Noor:
"The fact that there remain Malaysians who are nominal citizens, who don’t even speak a word of the national language, is a glaring anomaly that would not be tolerated anywhere else.

Even in countries like Australia, New Zealand or Canada, migrants are expected to learn the language of the nation in order to be part of it. And as the linguist’s joke goes: even if we hate and curse each other, let us curse each other in the same language at least!
The problem for Malaysia, however, is that for a long time linguistic diversity has been elevated to the status of a near-sacred taboo that cannot be touched. 

To even question the need for vernacular education leads one to being accused of political incorrectness of the highest order.

Conversely, there are also those who insist that the national language ought to be claimed as the language of one, and only one community, and referred to as Bahasa Melayu instead. 

But this denies the reality that it is the national language — Bahasa Malaysia — and ought to be claimed by all Malaysian citizens, regardless of their ethnic origins.
Unless and until the policy-makers have the political will to impress upon the nation the fact that Bahasa Malaysia is the language of all Malaysians, and that we need to have one education system that accommodates, represents and includes all communities, we will remain a nation divided into linguistic ghettos of our own making.
That path leads not to peace, but only mutual ignorance of each other; and the fact that we — as a nation — will sink or swim together, even if we cannot communicate with our neighbours next door." Source here.

Many especially the Chinese from political parties to their NGOs has spoken up for vernacular schools even the Prime Minister has spoken but to me it will not help with Malaysia's unity if our young study in different schools and never meet each other until they are adults by which time it would be close to impossible to change the way we look at each other through racially prejudiced eyes. The sense of trust and common bonding will not be there if at all.

Here is another article by a lawyer presumably due to its long winded write, but the article actually boils down to the core matter of defending the vernacular school for its supposedly higher quality education and treating the Sekolah Kebangsaan education with contempt with no statistics to prove that the vernacular schools are of better quality.

Read: Vernacular education in Malaysia — Zhi Wei Lee (

I have an alternate view of  Zhi Wei Lee's essay though, I think his is a good challenge  for the Kementerian Pelajaran to show that the Sekolah Kebangsaan are equal if not better than the vernacular schools. Good grades are not everything.

It must be remembered however that unlike vernacular schools with its inherent biased emphasis on teaching/exam oriented subjects, the Sekolah Kebangsaan has come up with a balanced approach i.e emphasis on  Studies plus  Sports plus Co Curriculum, so that it will produce students who are more balanced and equipped to face the adult world and help in nation building.

To make the Sekolah Kebangsaan more attractive to all Malaysians I believe it is best that the BN Gomen make another thorough review of the cancellation of the teaching of Maths and Science in English (PPSMI) and revert to what would be the final puzzle to Malaysia's holistic education need without of course compromising on the official position of our  Bahasa Melayu. 

Gomen no need to worry about making a flip flop decision on the PPSMI as this is one flip flop which the majority rakyat will support. Once the Sekolah Kebangsaan position is strengthened by the PPSMI, the transition to a Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua system will be met with a lot less resistance. Thank You.


Anonymous said...

You wrote: "I have an alternate view [of] Wei Lee's essay though".

The full name of the loyarburok writer is Lee Zhi Wei. His family name is 'Lee' (a common surname -- Lee Kuan Yew, Lee Lam Thye, Lee San Choon) and his personal name is Zhi Wei. Not Wei Lee as you've written.

Please refer,

May I surmise from the fact that you were unable distinguish a Chinese personal name from surname is an indication of the condition which you have here yourself described as "people who grow up without knowing each others' culture ... are cursed to grow up feeling alien to each other".

I should think that if you were a little better acquainted with Chinese culture, you would have known that the surname inversion was merely being fashionable on the part of the lawyer-writer. Forgive me and please correct me if I'm wrong.

eddy said...

Point taken and Thanks for pointing out the name error Anon 02:23. I have corrected it in my post.