by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Vice-Chairman and MP for Kepong 
on 1.7.2002
in Kuala Lumpur

We urge the Special Committee for the introduction of English Mathematics and Science to reconsider the effects of immediate comprehensive implementation including teaching without textbooks

Recently, after the Cabinet has decided to implement the teaching of Maths and Science simultaneously from primary one to all secondary schools, we have taken part in the debate on the topic. This decision affects about 5.6 million students in over 8,000 schools. Does the Education Ministry insist on simultaneous implementation in primary Chinese schools where the standard of Maths and Science is not bad?

We propose that the Education Ministry select a few representative schools for a trial, to ascertain the workable formula for teaching English Maths and Science. Then, it can use the formula for widespread step-by-step implementation.


Now, in the midst of the debate on the issue, the Director of the DBP, Datuk Abdul Aziz Deraman, has revealed that it has listed at least 22 titles of books on Maths and Science that may be translated and published. However, it has yet to receive directive from the Ministry. 

To cope with the modern world, we have to change our methods of teaching Maths and Science and to use more English, without sacrificing mother-tongue education. But, without textbooks and trained teachers, how do we have wholesale implementation? (The Ministry has said that it is training teachers for the purpose.)

The Ministry must tell the public how long would DBP take to come out with the required textbooks on Maths and Science. How fast can it produce over 22 titles without affecting the quality? The Malaysian National Institute of Translation has to find enough translators to do the job.

The Government ought to make sure that there will not be any delay or irregularity in the translation, publication and distribution of these textbooks. Clearly, DBP may appoint other publishers. The system is complicated.

We believe that the Special Committee must formulate a credible strategy, implementing the Cabinet decision on English Maths and Science and the increasing use of the language step-by-step. Any haphazard wholesale implementation spells trouble.