KUCHING: Any educational institution that is set up to provide quality education to the people should be applauded, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
He was responding to a recent remark by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)’s educationist Prof Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong who claimed that the Sarawak government’s initiative to set up international schools is against the law.
“I am surprised that an educationist like Teo would run down the effort of the state government in providing good education to Sarawakians and deem it as going against the law.
“If he feels that it is wrong for the state to establish international schools just because the medium of instruction is in English, then he should call for closure of all private schools or universities or vernacular schools,” he told New Sarawak Tribune when contacted on Sunday (Sept 27).
Abdul Karim who is also the Youth and Sports Minister further described Teo’s argument as “totally ridiculous and not acceptable now” as English is the international language of trade and communication.
“He should have praised the effort of the state government in trying to enhance proficiency of English among Sarawakians as well as not putting aside learning of Bahasa Malaysia,” he added.
On Saturday (Sept 26), an online news portal reported that Teo claimed education came under the purview of the federal government and thus, by allowing state-owned international schools, it would go against the Education Act, which requires all government schools to use Bahasa Melayu as a medium of instruction.
He said the Sarawak government should instead import British teachers and improve English proficiency through English language subject itself.