[lg policy] bibitem: Negotiating a language policy: Local needs versus responsibility towards globalization

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 24 19:02:13 UTC 2010

Negotiating a language policy: Local needs versus responsibility
towards globalization

Maya Khemlani David

University of Malaya

Kuala Lumpur

Changes to language policies in a multilingual country often bring
along with it significant consequences to the peoples of the country.
Malaysians experienced such a change in 1982 when Malay replaced
English as the medium of instruction in all schools and universities.
It affected all the major ethnic groups in the country - the
indigenous Malays, and the immigrant communities, i.e., the Chinese
and the Indians. Shortly after independence, there was a national need
to make this change. The Malaysian Government made this policy
decision to make Malay not only the national language but also the
official language such that it permeates the lives of all Malaysians
and brings them together as a nation. This change in language policy
was also part of a wide-ranging set of policies referred to as
affirmative action. When English was replaced by Malay, there was
naturally a de-emphasis on the English language. More recently,
Malaysia has made a strong commitment towards globalization. To be a
global player its citizens ought to have high credentials in an
international language (i.e. English). To enable its people to have a
high proficiency in the language, the leaders of the country have
recently proposed that English be used as a medium of instruction to
teach Science and Mathematics in schools. Now, with the commitment to
globalization, is the country ready for another major disruption in
its learning centers? These changes and its possible effects are

-- http://www.cele.unam.mx/politicaslenguaje/anteriores/I_Simposio/politleng/Maya%20Khemlani%20David.htm
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