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Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 13th July 2009 at 12.30 pm: 

Cabinet’s decision on PPSMI last Wednesday is as disastrous as the Cabinet decision in 2002 to rush headlong into implementing PPSMI from Std. One for all national, Chinese and Tamil primary schools without any preparation or research whatsoever

The Cabinet decision last Wednesday on PPSMI (Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik – teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English) is as disastrous as the Cabinet decision in 2002 to rush headlong into implementing PPSMI from Std. One for all national, Chinese and Tamil primary schools without any preparation or research whatsoever.

Now, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in justifying the Cabinet’s latest decision on PPSMI has made the shocking revelation that before the PPSMI was launched six years ago, there had been neither discussion or approval by the Cabinet nor discussion with the parents.

Several current Ministers were in the 2002 Mahathir Cabinet, including the present Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, DPM Muhyiddin himself, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Information, Communication and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim, and they as well as the leaderships of Umno, MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and other Barisan Nasional component parties should all explain how they could permit such a far-reaching decision affecting the future generation of Malaysians to be taken in so haphazard and irresponsible a manner!

I agree that the Cabinet decision on PPSMI last Wednesday came as “a bombshell to many, especially those in the urban areas”.

Just before Najib’s Cabinet reshuffle on April 10, the then Education Minister Hishamuddin was expected to have proposed the reversion to mother tongue for mathematics and science only at primary level, while retaining PPSMI at the secondary level.

As many had said, the complete reversal of PPSMI at both primary and secondary levels “has come as a real surprise”, as it is sheer political expediency which makes no educational sense whatsoever.

For instance, last Wednesday’s Cabinet decision means that Malaysia will have the most crazy educational system, where students in Form 4 in 2012 will have to switch to Bahasa Malaysia for mathematics and science in the last two years of secondary education, after nine years of learning these two subjects in English – again to switch back to English for pre-university and tertiary education!

Ministers who want millions of Malaysian students to go through the crazy system of nine years of mathematics and science in English from Std. 1 to Form 3, followed by two years in Bahasa Malaysia in Forms 4 and 5, and switch back again to English for pre-university and tertiary education must have their heads examined as to whether they are fit to be in Cabinet in the first place!

This is why MCA and Gerakan Ministers like Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon are trying to wriggle out of the crazy decision, by agreeing in the Chinese media that mathematics and science should continue to be taught in English in Forms 3 and 5 after 2012.

Unfortunately, this was not the decision taken by the Cabinet, of which both of them are part!

Why then did Ong and Koh agree to the Cabinet decision last Wednesday that mathematics and science should revert back to Bahasa Malaysia from English for Forms 4 and 5 from 2012, as clearly explained by the Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom in post-Cabinet meetings and interviews?

When can Malaysian trust MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP as well as Umno Ministers not to make foolish and crazy decisions sacrificing the interests of future generations of Malaysians?

The Cabinet on Wednesday should undo the various disasters of its decision on PPSMI last week, including:

  • Endorsing the call of Parents Action Group for Education (Page) that schools should be given the option to teach science and mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia or English or in one’s mother tongue;

  • Revert to the use of English as medium of instruction for mathematics and science in secondary schools;

  • A flexible education approach that takes into account the urban-rural gap as well as the weaknesses of students, particularly in rural areas in proficiency in English, mathematics and science; and

  • The important principle that advanced students should not be held back because of students who lagged behind academically.

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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