Rompin MP Hasan Arifin has dismissed the notion for the country to restore English as the medium of learning in schools.
This is because the majority of countries that adopted an English-medium education system were not successful, he said, during the Budget 2018 debate in Dewan Rakyat.
“I see a connection in critical thinking and English. We have seen surveys in Singapore which called for the English-medium education system to be restored.
“The success of a country is not because of a language, but the development of a good system,” argued the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson.
“Now, tell me, has any country in Asia that had adopted the English-medium (been) successful in its development?
“If you talk about Singapore, it is not a country, but a city-state,” he said.
He gave examples of countries in Asia like Japan, Taiwan, China, and Korea that did not use English as a medium in education but are successful.
Hasan further pointed out that the majority of countries around the world are successful and did not rely on English as a medium of education in schools.
He also said that the US used English as an education medium, and it also has an attractive education system because they have many different languages and imported professors into the country.
“Show us, which country uses English as a medium that is successful in developing the country?
“Why are we so obsessed with restoring a language (medium) that does not show their success in developing their country?” he asked.
A survey published by Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute which found a majority of Johoreans, or 82 percent of the 2,011 respondents, supported bringing back English-medium schools.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan also expressed his support for English-medium schools for similar reasons, saying that such schools were needed to improve the graduates’ command of the language and their competitiveness in the future job market.
Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar had noted that English proficiency among the people was deteriorating and called for action to be taken to halt the slide.
Meanwhile, Gerakan Youth chief Andy Yong said that Hasan’s given examples to make his point were absurd.
“He must understand that globally, English is the language of information technology. It is the language of conversation and business and command of the language is important to study Science, Law and Medicine.
“The lack of fluency in England among the majority of our students can pose a huge hindrance to their future.
“We can judge by comparing those who were born in the 50s or 60s when English was used as the medium of education in our schools. It is absurd to give examples of China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan. These countries have a high quality of education system. Their teachers and students are generally very hardworking. We are still far behind,” he said.
“Ultimately, I agree with Rahman Dahlan, let the stakeholders like the Parent-Teacher Association, students, parents, and teachers decide, not politicians.”