Posted in HIPOKRIT

Pakatan ‘agree to disagree’ (again?) this time on PPSMI

Tell me, can the tripartite Pakatan electoral pact agree on any contentious issue?

After their landmark indecision on hudud, the three partners are now saying different things each about the teaching of Math and Science in English (PPSMI).

PAS and PKR have gone on record as opposing PPSMI whereas DAP has issued a press release saying the Education Ministry must allow individual schools a free option in the matter.

Party information chief Tony Pua even went to the extent of stating that “a determined majority of parents have expressed a preference” for English. Clearly the ‘majority’ claimed by Pua is just the headcount within the DAP sphere.

Thus it is imperative that PAS and PKR publicly clarify their stand on DAP’s straying from the policy agreed by its two partners.

DAP disdains national language

In its press statement on Oct 30, DAP said the government must not hold back “advanced students” for the sake of those who may lag behind.

Blogger Mohd Shubhi reads the DAP statement as implying that Bahasa Melayu is the language for stupid folks whereas English is for clever people.

The DAP position, according to Shubhi’s interpretation, holds that those who want to retain BM as the medium of instruction comprise parents whose children are dumb. “Those who want English ostensibly have smart kids.”

“I can see now,” he wrote in, “why many Chinese the likes of Tony Pua consider speaking in Malay to be a low-caste practice. Hence it’s unsurprising that so many among them splutter when speaking BM as it merely reflects their genuine feelings of disdain.” (my translation)

Bangsar M’sia scoffs at BM

I took part in the mammoth anti-PPSMI rally as I’ve been against it from Day 1. You can read my article ‘Maths and science: The case for BM’ (March 12, 2009) here.

Recently I came across several letters to the editor by Feizrul Nor Nurbi on the topic. Since he makes a lot of sense, I’m reproducing portions of his arguments below.

Replying to readers’ comments, Feizrul observes that some of the PPSMI supporters are instilling a notion that BM is an “inadequate, weak language – something that deserves no respect and appreciation”.

In ‘PPSMI – not the Magic Bullet(FMT, Nov 1), Feizrul writes:

“The explicit and implicit notion that ridicules Bahasa Melayu as the Bahasa Kebangsaan really astounds me. There were those willing to discard BM altogether, arguing the language has nothing to contribute in this globalised era, while some have shown an alarming outright disgust at the language altogether!”

He is describing the attitude problem of the Bangsar Malaysia crowd and wants to know what it is they think makes them so Malaysian [First].

“Again, the gist of their argument is that not speaking in BM does not make them less Malaysian. Well fellow Malaysians – what does make you Malaysian? It is the roti canai and teh tarik you have every morning? That income tax you pay?”

M’sian 1st putting their kids first

FMT had also published another of Feizrul’s letter a day earlier where he warned that the government succumbing to optional PPSMI “will open the proverbial floodgates of never-ending demands from irrational parents”.

In his letter ‘English for all – not for select few‘ (Oct 31), Feizrul notes: “The reality is, in Malaysia, education has degenerated into a class war – the battle between the haves and the have-nots.”

The ‘haves’ that Feizrul mentions could easily be those living in Damansara Utama and Subang Jaya whose political representation is the DAP Hasnah Yeops.

Feizrul makes the point that the demands by affluent parents in urban areas comes at the expense of the weaker learners. There is always a limit to resources stretched between competing groups (e.g. the cost of training teachers to teach Math and Science in English vs providing electricity and classrooms to rural schools).

If the education authorities allow this going of separate ways as agitated for, what is to stop the indulged parents from asking for more and more options being made available to their ‘smarter’ children?

Feizrul gives the examples of Advance Math/Physics for the ‘haves’ and Basic Math/Physics for the ‘have-nots’ in schools.

We’re talking about 7 year olds

The favourite refrain of the Malaysian Firsters is about how English is the premier language of science and technology.

Nobody’s disputing its stature but the fact remains children in primary school are not Boeing engineers requiring university-level Maths.

I and others have made the same point before, or as Feizrul puts it across just as well:

“While I certainly agree on the matter of English references available, it strikes me as odd that a school-goer from the age of 7 would ever need to depend on these cited abundant references. Do Standard One students need to study the Mathematical journals and papers written my MIT professors for them to learn addition, subtraction, division and multiplication? …

“Does teaching the basics in English add extra value to the whole experience? My answer is a wholehearted ‘No’. Basics are basics, you can learn them in any language, 1 + 1 will always result in 2 …”

PPSMI not majority choice

In my own article in 2009, I wrote that “Close to 70 percent [of the pioneer UPSR batch] were not confident enough to sit the exam in English.”

Feizrul similarly highlights that more than two-thirds of the kids rejected English in answering their papers.

“Back in 2008, when the UPSR results were announced and the Ministry of Education elatedly stated 31% of candidates answered the Science paper in English – did any of the PPSMI-proponents stop and think of the remaining 69%? Was there any study done to understand why this majority elected to answer in their mother-tongue? …

Feizrul believes that in the eagerness of the [Bangsar Malaysia] parents to provide the best for their children, “they have knowingly or unknowingly trampled on the futures of the 69%”. (See his letter ‘PPSMI – Quality vs Language’ in Malaysia Today, Nov 1)

He is quite correct that only one side of the campaign is prominently aired in the media and these are the views of the PPSMI proponents who themselves speak English at home [as well as declare that English is their mother tongue].

“These people, who have been making such hue and cry regarding the policy revocation,” says Feizrul, “are those who are able to prepare their children adequately”.

He asks them to “spare a thought to those parents unable to present similar preparations to their children”.

M’sian outlook confined to Bangsar

Feizrul reminds the pro-PPSMI group that there are other Malaysians “living below the poverty line, those from the kampungs, those families who have never spoken a word of English in their entire life”, and urges them to “stop being selfish.”

“And to expect their children to attend their first day of school and learn not one, but three subjects in English? It is just plain and simple murder!” (see PPSMI – An Opposing View’, Oct 19)

While Feizrul is only highlighting the obvious, his appeal evidently fell on deaf ears judging from the hostile responses he received.

The Malaysian Firsters do not even possess an awareness of how others perceive their posturing, just as they lack connection to the world outside Bangsar Sentral and the perimeters of DAPland.

They’re thumping their chest, loudly, that they represent Bangsa Malaysia. Pakatan supporters proclaim how wonderful it is that their Chinese evangelist politicians willingly wear tudung but they are blind to the plight of Malays who will suffer from PSSMI.

This irony is of course lost on the navel-gazing Firsters.

Mutakhir (Nov 3): OK for Pakatan to disagree on PPSMI says Guan Eng 


Maths and science: The case for BM


I have no Faceook or Twitter.

18 thoughts on “Pakatan ‘agree to disagree’ (again?) this time on PPSMI

  1. 1) Umno/BN started all this, no?

    2) Can’t we allow some schools from urban to have PPSMI, if there is demand, increase the number of PPSMI type school, and vice versa.

    I personally prefer to have verious language school in primary level, while PPSMI and BM at secondary level.

    How we expect others to appreciate our language when we ourselve have no confidence toward this language? Some said PPSMI is the way forward but at the same time question why Chinese don’t grasp Bahasa Kebangsaan bla bla bla, a bunch of joker.

  2. Helen Ang – Please do not treat PPSMI as a joke .The future of Malaysian children is at stake.

  3. Helen, The hypotheses is ‘children who study Math & Sc in english from small (from the onset of learning) will be able to excel in these 2 critical subjects later on in their learning stages (secondary, univ or higher). Based on my own experience and experinces of my colleagues, this hypotheses is correct. I do not know whether we are representative of the general public’s learning behavior.
    Of course when you get to the varsity level, everything you require to complete your work is in english. Terkial-kial nak translate semua bahan rujukan into english …. everything kena kerja 2 kali.
    So, yes, the rural kids pun one day mesti pergi univ so make them work early in life …. It is so very true that its easier for kids rather than young adults to learn a new language. This is not a claim but a well documented study.
    Melentur buluh thingy ….

    1. Puan Sharifah – With due respect, I disagree with an hypothesis that ‘children who study M& S in English from small (from the onset of learning) will be able to excel in these 2 critical subjects later on in their learning stages (secondary, univ or higher).’ As you, I use my experience in outlining my disagreement. I obtained my primary and secondary studies in science stream taught in aliran Melayu in Kuala Terengganu. I was not taught in proper Bahasa Malaysia but of Terengganu dialect, mostly. During those formative years, I spoke Melayu Terengganu generally and in English only during lessons. After Form 5, like hundreds of thousands other Malaysians, I was sent abroad to read in university and I was told to study architecture, which is a discipline culminating advanced M&S with Arts. Difficulty was more in adjusting to the lifestyle than to the language. Transition to learning in English went alright mainly because I understood and not memorised the basis of M&S. I think all agree that 2+2 in any language is still 4. I graduated with Cum Laude and went to graduate in Master. Mine is not a unique but common story throughout Malaysia. In my opinion, method of teaching (i.e. teach pupils so they understand and not memorise) is primary to the language of teaching. I had worked in UK and now working in Australia where I have met with specialists, scientists and engineers whose command of English is horrible yet leaders in their chosen fields. Kefahaman kunci kejayaan, not language.

  4. having a second language is good.
    learning maths and science in english is also good.
    but again, the need of the many outweighs the need of one.
    being a democracy country and if facts showed that more people apt to PPSMI so be it and if not, then be it too.
    again, the main points are:
    1. where are the facts coming from. reliable or not. at least showed them to public.
    2. not to politicized the PPSMI issue. you don’t vote or vote who or whatever you want based on PPSMI issues
    3. standardization, ie, whether yes or no. not by saying today let’s go PPSMI and tomorrow lets abandon it. this is mere bullshit. not only waste of resources and time if flip flopping, but it showed that PPSMI becoming point 2.

  5. Hoy, ppsmi is a joke…it was a concession to integrate the vernacular schools but su qiu and your likes treated as a political ploy…i do not find studying in maths ans science in BM hindeting…bahasa is foremost thr national language and must be uphold.

    Only idiots would seriosly believe that science and matha is solely to learned in english.smell the coffee…..water is H2O and 1 plus 1 is two regardless what language it is in dumb ass.

    Helen,saya kagumi semangat kamu mempertahankan BM, teruskannya.

  6. HuaYong,

    You are joker that does not look at the big picture.

    In reality, the Chinese lose out in the long term because of demographic trend and their handicap in english,BM and even madarin.

    Tell me, how can your Chinese students cope with Mandarin in primary and move on to learn ENglish iand BM at secondary.Please note, the drop out rate of Chinese students are the same as national schools, but quantitatively,more proportion of Chinese students drop out compared to the national schools, according tp report 100 000 Chiense students never finished SPM,and between the last census and in 2011, the Chinese population only increased by 600k compared to the 3 million Malays…..because they ,these soc called talented trilingual Chinese student cannot handle the pressure of BM and even English not to mention Mandarin..its like going to class in Spanish with you only knwoing how to say hello..yes or no..or give direction.Because the Chinese vernacular system is incomplete and not wholesome, these students cant even go to vocational or technical tertiary education..again thanks to poorr grasp in English let alone BM..these are your so called talents repairimg fridges, sell fake DVDs and become massage parlouts bouncers.And we all know vernacular schools especially the chinese tend to overlook the weaker students who are marginalised and have the teachers in their classes directed to teach the top class that produce nerds who with poor social skills.

    The Chinese community may survive this by having ‘Madarin speaking only’ requirements at job ads, and giving out contracts exclusively to Chinese companies, but this will nto be sustainable, the malays and bumis are a large middle income group and will be affluent enough to be independent of chinese economic sphere,look at PNB, solid RM150billion trust fund of Malay savings(no loans,soilid liquidity).bumi savings that made the Chinese entreprenurs tremble when it seek to take over SP Setia,and soon the Malays will realize that they no longer need to call the chinese air cond shop or buy furniture from a chinese shop,we will have enough technicians and technicians fro GIAT MARA…..and my chinese acquanitance once a furniture shop at a chinese area and the shop will close in a month.who needs who?Who make sthe economy running?

    Whose children will be in jeopardy if PPSMI will be implemented..the chinese wont benefit at all unfortunately,same as before,same story!!

    To sum up PPSMI is not required, as Muhyuddin and the MoE says, the English Language subject should be strengthened at all school levels. Maths and Science is Maths and Science reardless of the language…the first astronaut wes put into space using scientific research in Russian, we want to debate to use Russian to learnRocket Science? No!!! Do we need French to know 1+1 is 2…of course not.

    As for BM, it is foremeost the national language that cannot be disputed..all government institutions MUST use the national language and I support it as it is crucial for the development of nationalidentity and nationalism.To hell with teh anglophiles, you have no desire to work with teh mainstream force of this country anyway.

    Go on to your vague journey for a promised land in the West..London burns, European countries bankrupted and the AMerican society is crumbling/..things that you promised will happen in Malaysia many years didnt happen…Greek went bankrupt before Malaysia….

  7. We ask for PPSMI as an OPTION along side PPSMM, PPSMC and PPSMT – to be that is agreeing to disagree. I will not vote for any party who disagree with PPSMI as an OPTION. The key word here is OPTION. Those who wants to study math & science in their own mother tongue please do so.

  8. Sadly Helen Ang still lives in a fantasy island, unexposed to the world moving at the fast pace that puts Malaysia further and further behind every day. Tun may be ‘corrupt’, but he is generally recognized as someone who at least has some vision. The rest of the bunch of Malaysian leaders seriously lack in long term vision, everyone just see the short-term gain or the numbers rigth in front. You see, visionary sees things 10, 20, 50 years later.

  9. Why can’t we allow high achieving students to continue with the PPSMI ? I have no objection that those who have difficulties with English as the medium of instruction to switch to BM but let the others who are doing fine to finish till SPM. After all the objective of PPSMI is to prepare and produce students who can compete globally in the fields of technology and science.Don’t let this matter become a racial issue. Let’s think for the sake of the future generations.Do we want world class scientists, inventors,economists and other professionals ? Then i appeal that high achieving students for Maths and Science of UPSR and PMR (2011) be given the chance to continue with PPSMI. 1 Malaysia!

  10. Excuse me for your half-baked ideas and blatantly failed research ideas.

    The chinese vernacular system if not good may be even better than the Malaysian education system as they employ China’s educational methods. Which is the better asian country now, huh? We all used to laugh at things Made in China, but i guess, they are laughing all the way to their banks.

    Even though the chinese may learn 3 different languages and may not be the best in everything but at least it’s enough for us to survive in any environment come what may.

    And what does the job issues have to do with ppsmi? It’s the government policies that has to change for the private sectors??? Besides, most of the older folks who are heads of these businesses of course have not much lingual experties.

    HOWEVER, we are now talking about the future generations. Policies can change , environment can change. But Education is the vital issue here.

    Malaysia has nothing. Not much research, not much pioneers in the world industries. It’s like taking a crutch away from a lame man who is beginning to walk. We are already handicapped if everything is learnt in BM . Until Malaysia can be independent and is a pioneer in science and maths then BM can be used. I have no prejudice towards that language.

    We are learning English BUT NOT their policies or political ideas and stance . Learning english does not mean bankruptcy of a nation. Likewise, learning mandarin, japanese or korean won’t make Malaysia rich. It’s what you learn from those languages which is our choice, and the government’s choices. If it could, Malaysia would be stronger economically if we learn languages from the uprising asian countries now but that is quite impossible.

    English is first and foremost the most accessible lingua franca of the world in Malaysia and thus PPSMI should be continued. If students want to learn other foreign languages, why not? But Bahasa Malaysia for now, would not be the language of knowledge.

    Don’t let muhyddin rob the student’s future. Bak kata pepatah, ibarat telur sesangkak, pecah sebiji, pecah semua

  11. Adelaide,

    Please cite the source of 100,000, and back up your claim “but quantitatively, more proportion of Chinese students drop out compared to the national schools”

    I agree when you articulate the weakness of vernacular school, partly is because the VS system need revamp, but mainly due to the government discrimination policy. I also agree with your assertion that “the malays and bumis are a large middle income group and will be affluent enough to be independent of chinese economic sphere….” I hope there is more Malay that think like you instead of telling us the Malay need helps. Australia (tell me if i am wrong) can’t access Utusan online?

    I am against PPSMI before it was implemented, but now I prefer it to be an option to those who want it, the flip flop is ridiculous.

    Again, no disagreement on BM, I am just curious why Mahathir and some Malay include the SSS horde believe in PPSMI, the impression I have is they lack confidence toward BM as language of Maths and Science. In fact I learn M&S in BM and I don’t see any problem with that.

    I don’t know how the West promised land relevant to my comments, I have my education and career in Malaysia and Malaysia alone, what about you?

    Are you sure you grasp my joke?

  12. Pelik betul la.I totally hate this issue.Memang la nampak mcm banyak keuntungan belajar BI dari awal. But is it really worth it when most of Malaysian don’t really know how to speak Bahasa Kebangsaan? Lagi memalukan tengok news reporter tanya in BM oleh dibantai jawab English, perok dan jakun siot… Kukuhkan bahasa Kebangsaan dulu kalau ada hati nak maju. Ni tak, yang dikejar tak dapat, yang dikendong keciciran. In the end siapa yg rugi? Rasanya ramai je budak kampung belajar in BM dulu tapi bole score banyak. Jepun China and most other countries tak der pun nak agung2kan sgt English. and most of their leaders pun cakap English bukan best sangat. Bagus lagi budak2 kita cakap English. Mumbling pun banyak. Betul la tu, orang Malaysia je yang agungkan bahasa orang lain.Bahasa sendiri buang ke laut. my POV, just go with the flow, and we still can survive, let alone our children too. lagipun budak2 sekarang dah bijak. and the gov surely does all pros and cons regarding this issue..

  13. It does not matter which languages the subjects are taught in. Just don’t change your policies every year and risk the education of the youngs… want to BM, then fine, BM all the way… Jangan “now you see it, now you don’t”

  14. well, to think it again wisely, it’s not PPSIM but it’s english. It should start from the languange itself when the kids are stil in standard 1. now i remember why i dont have issues when I went to University and study all the craps in English, because i have good fundamental in english when i was still the teachers is to be brainwashed to teach english fun and great for all the kids. yes, i bet that is the key.

    Yup, Darlyn, not just in M & Sc but English would come in useful too for other fields at uni level. So we learn English lah like the rest of the world. However, the rest of the world does not need to force their little kids to learn M & Sc in English. — Helen

  15. PPSMI datang lagi……..Bersediakah guru-guru kita dengan PPSMI ini? Saya berpengalaman dalam menyelenggara peralatan ICT yang dibekalkan ke sekolah-sekolah…. Pada pengamatan saya, guru-guru perlu lebih bersedia dalam apa jua rancangan yang dipersetujui majoriti. PPSMI dilengkapi dengan peralatan ICT (perisian dan perkakasan) yang dapat membantu guru-guru mengajar dan murid-murid belajar.

    Kepincangan PPSMI di pengaruhi banyak faktor:

    1] Alat bantuan mengajar yang disediakan tidak dapat berfungsi.
    2] Guru-guru tidak betul-betul bersedia untuk mengajar dalam Bahasa Inggeris.
    3] Tahap murid-murid tidak setanding dengan apa yang dijangkakan oleh PPSMI.
    4] Tiada penglibatan ibu bapa dalam menjayakan PPSMI.

    banyak lagi faktor yang boleh disenaraikan…… walau apa pun kita perlu ada SEMANGAT untuk meneruskan apa yang dilihat baik untuk masa depan generasi kita……

    Jangan pandang jauh…jeling saja di Singapura….bagaimana “Singlish” yang dulunya amat mencuit hati bila dilafazkan sekarang boleh dibanggakan pencapaiannya…..sekurang-kurangnya saya berbangga dengan SEMANGAT seluruh Singapura berusaha menyokongnya…..

    Kita di Malaysia…baru sahaja bermula…. tunggu sahaja 10-15 tahun akan datang…. hasilnya pasti jelas….

    Takut Bahasa Melayu atau Bahasa Malaysia pupus? Tidak mungkin…. selagi Malaysia masih mempunyai jati diri kita sendiri….
    JATI DIRI sesuatu yang sukar untuk disemai…..tepuk dada tanya diri sendiri….. Gunakan Bahasa Malaysia dengan betul…. tiada kata ringkas, kurangkan kata pinjaman dari bahasa lain dan terus menjadi pengantara dalam urusan rasmi kerajaan…..

  16. Judging from how I see things now, it’s more viable to advocate Esperanto (a man-made, non-national language) than to carry on with the PPSMI agenda. There’s way too much stress involved in any pursuit for English excellence in the whole of Asia.

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