KUCHING: In her royal address during the Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta) International Conference 2019 here yesterday, Raja Puan Besar Perak Raja Nazhatul Shima Almarhum Sultan Idris urged everyone involved with education in the country to look beyond micro-economic and ideological formulations.

She was representing her sister Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah, the consort of Sultan of Johor and Melta’s royal patron, who was unable to join in the conference due to Johor’s preparation for her 60th birthday celebration today.

Asked to explain what she meant at a press conference after the conference, Raja Nazhatul Shima said, “The community should not be rigid and must go beyond everything else. Otherwise they will just follow others, going slow and not moving forward.”

Melta president Prof Dr Ganakumaran Subramanian further clarified that the community seemed to be caught up with small things all the time.

“It creates controversies and tensions in the country rather than looking at the larger goal and where the nation needs to go as an educated society,” he said.

Asked whether Melta was relevant because of the language flip-flops and resistance by states in Peninsular Malaysia, Ganakumaran said these were only making the organisation stronger.

“But yes, the shifting from one policy to another does confuse our teachers widely and perhaps the parents because their children have to follow one system and then another one.

“This is where we are most needed and where we can support the teachers in the areas they lack.

“The Education Ministry can come up with structured training programmes but we, as a professional non-governmental organisation, can properly address the needs of teachers from the ground.”