[lg policy] Malaysia: Sarawak English policy will alienate rural folk, Malay business groups warn Adenan

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sat Nov 21 15:56:57 UTC 2015


Sarawak English policy will alienate rural folk, Malay business groups warn
Adenan


[image: Malay business groups criticised the Sarawak government made a rash
decision when it adopted English as the language of the administration —
Wiki pic]Malay business groups criticised the Sarawak government made a
rash decision when it adopted English as the language of the administration
— Wiki picKUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — The Sarawak government made a rash
decision when it adopted English as the language of the administration,
Malay business groups here said, expressing fear that the policy could end
up widening the state’s social class divide.

The groups — the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM) and the KL Malay
Chamber of Commerce (DPMM) — questioned the rationale behind what they
believe to be an unnecessary move, and warned that it could create
unnecessary discomfort among the rural folk who converse more fluently in
Bahasa Malaysia, the national language.

“Inequality is growing, between the middle income and the lower income
groups. English [proficiency of the latter group] is still either at the
medium or lower level.

“The use of language that is different from their day-to-day conversation
would turn them away,” MTEM CEO Mohd Nizam Mahshar told Malay Mail Online
when contacted.

He also argued that Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s decision appeared
to be without proof of efficacy and suggested that the state first conduct
a study to determine which language is more prominently used by Sarawakians.

“We shouldn’t allow [sentiments] distort what the actual medium of
communication is for the majority.

“Lower medium and low income classes are still the majority even among
urbanites,” he said.

DPMM (KL) honorary secretary Datuk Aslah Abdullah questioned the need to
add another language for official matters when he noted that there was
never any problem before with the use of Bahasa Malaysia.

“There has never been any language barrier. Why try to change? Everyone
already speaks Bahasa Malaysia, from city folk to people in the kampung
(villages),” he told Malay Mail Online.

“Iban and Kadazan people also speak Bahasa Malaysia as well. This decision
will only push more people away,” he added, echoing Mohd Nizam’s remarks.

Adenan had earlier this week told a state civil service gathering that
English is the official language of the administration, along with Bahasa
Malaysia, and that government correspondence can be in both languages.

The first-term chief minister also cited recent reports claiming that
graduates here have been finding it hard to get employment because of their
poor command of English and said this proves his point on the need to be
proficient in the language.

On Thursday, state minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg explained that
Adenan was merely upholding Sarawak’s right under the Malaysia Agreement
1963 to use English as the state’s official language.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said recently that Malaysian
graduates often lose out in the job market as they lack confidence due to
their poor command of the English language.

The Umno president said that despite scoring well in their examinations,
Malaysian graduates still struggled to secure jobs because they fail to
persuade employers that they possess the qualities sought after in the
corporate sector

Parents groups have been lobbying the government to reintroduce the
teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI), a
policy introduced in 2003 but discontinued seven years later.

English-language lobbyist such as the Parents Action Group for Education
(PAGE) continue to push for the return of — or at least the option for
parents to choose — the discontinued policy that they contend was needed to
improve the mastery of English as well as technical subjects.
- See more at:
http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/sarawak-english-policy-will-alienate-rural-folk-malay-business-groups-warn#sthash.8EYWUhfv.dpuf


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