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 Malaysia: Malaysian Urged To Master English Or Lose Out In Global Competition

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Number of posts : 332
Registration date : 2008-01-28

PostSubject: Malaysia: Malaysian Urged To Master English Or Lose Out In Global Competition   Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:02 pm

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: Malaysians need to master the English language or risk becoming less competitive in the world, a government official said Tuesday (15 Apr).

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said Malaysians' proficiency in English _ a legacy of British colonial rule _ once used to be an asset to the nation, particularly in attracting foreign investors.

But he said Malaysians' command of English is diminishing in rural areas and government-funded schools, and it could hurt the country.

"The stark reality is that English is the primary language of commerce and science the world over today," Najib was quoted as saying by the national news agency, Bernama.

In 1980, Malaysia changed the language of instruction in government schools from English to Bahasa Malaysia. But after producing a generation of students who could barely speak English, the medium of instruction for math and sciences was switched back to English in May 2002.

Students complain, however, that their teachers are not proficient in English and still fall back on Bahasa while teaching. The standard of English among government school pupils remains low.

Najib urged teachers and parents to ensure that Malaysian children learn English and use it as much as possible in their daily lives.

"Of course there are certain groups who would say that as Malaysians, Bahasa Malaysia should be our main language, and that it should be the language that is championed by all," Najib said.

He said Bahasa Malaysia will always be the national language and have "an exalted place in all our hearts," but said English would prepare Malaysians to face the challenges of the future.
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