Malay as National Language to Enhance VS Divide Ethnic Social Integration

By:

Dr Tan Ai Mei

Affiliations:

CSO Education Cluster

Policy Code:

3f Education

Problem Statement:

There should not be coercion by MOE to use the standard of Malay practiced in SK
Kebangsaan schools to be used in vernacular schools. The coercive approach used in the
SJK Malay language curriculum implementation has created greater trust deficit among
minority ethnic groups. It does not promote social integration.
The Malay language barrier faced by minority group parents who cannot master the Malay
language has resulted in a sizeable number of their children facing harassment and abuse
in SMK schools especially those from the lower middle and B40 groups. This further
deepens the misunderstanding, isolation and fear among the different ethnic groups.
The flip-flop in naming the language between Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Malaysia has not
benefitted social integration nor has it enhanced the economic competitiveness of the
majority ethnic group. It raises doubt whether the language has been used as a tool to further political mileage of the ruling party. On the contrary, the mastery of merely ONE language leads to the lack of socio and economic competitiveness of the graduates of the majority ethnic group in both local and international job market.

Value(s) and Belief(s):

It is pertinent for Malaysians to be bi- and/or multi-lingual competent in order to be adaptable in the era of globalisation and be competitive in the job market.
A distinction has to made between the learning of Malay as an academic subject versus Malay with emphasis on proficiency as a communicative language to promote social integration at the primary school level.

Proposal of Solution:

1. Enhance and simplify the teaching and wide use of Malay language in vernacular schools through interesting methods and activities. Develop love for the acquisition of the language and appreciation of the culture contained within.
2. Politicians have to be trustworthy instead of misleading the majority ethnic group using the supremacy of one language for political mileage and control.
3. There needs to be a genuine debate on the right and equality bestowed on all Malaysians regardless of ethnicity as well as the status of Malay as national language as contained in Chapter 1,4, 8 and 11 in the Constitution. This includes evaluating the relevance of an education system, which insists on the use of Malay as the language medium as recommended in the Razak and Rahman Talib Report.

Additional Information:

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