The protest by Malay groups protesting against the use of English to teach Maths and Science in schools has made Malaysia a top news item. Today, the protest was among the headlines of the BBC news. It was also a major news item in many international newspapers. As expected, the protest were led by several prominent nationalists but the participation of top PAS leaders such as its president Hadi Awang and other MPs have raised many eye-brows. Didn't the pro-Pakatan Rakyat supporters say they are now liberal and reasonable politicians?
The crowd was massive with estimates ranging from 8,000 in Malaysiakini to 2,000 in Malaysian Insider. It would appear that this protest has been organised ahead of the Umno general assembly, in a move to embarass the party. It was clear the organisers wanted to show they were real champions of the Malays. The groups have a right to protest but they should not be allowed to intimidate or exert undue pressure on the government. No decision has been made but the fact is that most students prefer to answer the questions in English. That is a fact.
The results have showed that the use of English has not affected their performances in these two subjects, again, that is a fact. English is a global language. It is also the language of the Internet. We do not need to go through the merits of using English. Enough has been said. The reality is that the standard of English among our children has dropped drastically. They cannot cope with the language in universities. Many fail to get past interviews because of their poor command of the language.
Well, what is the stand of the non-Malay MPs from PKR on this issue? So, do we give in to the Malay and Chinese extremists? At the end of the day, communalism is still the order of the day in Malaysian politics but the moderates must speak up. The advocates of English must also speak up. This is not about politics. This is about the future of our children, haven't we done enough damage to our kids in schools?