Don’t switch language of instruction back and forth, says lecturer

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KUCHING: Switching the language of instruction from Bahasa Melayu (BM) to the English Language and then back and forth is damaging to the progress of the nation, said National University of Malaysia (UKM) lecturer, Dr Sharifah Munirah Alatas.

“I personally think that leaders should refrain from constantly bothering about whether it should be the English Language or BM. Flip flopping is a waste of time and it is counterproductive.

“If it is going to be in BM, stick with it but we should not ignore and marginalise the English Language as it is necessary as well,” she said.

Munirah added that if it were to be a dual language programme, it should be implemented for the entire country and not just a few states as the flip flopping was going to be too detrimental.

She said this during ‘The Sarawak Initiative Leadership Programme’ webinar entitled ‘Politicisation of Education in Malaysia: Domestic and International Pressures’ via Zoom on Saturday (Sept 25).

Munirah also pointed out that it was not good for policymakers will cherry-pick ideas from a study and implement only the easiest and cheapest ones

“Cherry-picking knowledge produces a less holistic human being. Such a method is extremely wrong as it is an unethical political interference that influences what knowledge the people would have access to and acquire.

“In a country like Malaysia, we have tight political controls which, in the mind of our leaders, are the ways to condition future voters.

“This is a fact not only in Malaysia but also in the developed countries as well. However, it is more intrusive in Malaysia compared to the developed countries.

“In return we produce less holistic human beings whose ramifications can be seen today. How polarised our society has become is not the  result of the last 10 or five years but it is the result of 20 or 30 years of a failing education system,” she said.

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