THE Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia has rightly criticised the Education Ministry’s decision to abolish Dual Language Programme classes to address poor Bahasa Malaysia (BM) proficiency.
There must be a rational and balanced approach between the usage of BM and promoting English as a universal language. This is not a zero-sum game.
Elevating English will not diminish the importance of our national language, rather it will enhance our economic and social standing globally.
English is the international language of commerce, science, technology and the internet, with approximately 1.5 billion speakers worldwide, of which less than 400 million use it as their first language. Therefore, its significance as a secondary language holds relevance for Malaysia, where BM is the national language. The reputable English Proficiency Index underscores the connection between English proficiency, innovation and wealth, aligning with our nation’s aspirations to become a high-income country.
Countries with stronger English proficiency tend to enjoy higher income levels, increased innovation and improved quality of life.
Singapore’s remarkable economic success can largely be attributed to its workforce’s proficiency in English.
Consequently, addressing our country’s deficiency in English language skills requires urgent public policy intervention if we are serious about achieving high-income developed status in an increasingly competitive global landscape.