KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 ― An academic has accused former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad of degrading the special position of Bahasa Melayu by introducing the Policy of Teaching Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) back in 2003.
Universiti Sains Malaysia's (USM) Comparative literature expert, Professor Datuk Seri Dr Md Salleh Yaapar also labelled Dr Mahathir's action as a hurried move and accused him of betraying the will of the Malay Kings and violating the Federal Constitution.
“Dr Mahathir also betrayed the National Education Policy because he caused chaos in the country's education system. From then on (2003), Bahasa Melayu could only be used to teach subjects deemed less important like arts, literature and religious education.
“Owing to that in schools and universities today, there exists a language apartheid phenomenon where the English language is hailed and at the same time, Bahasa Melayu is degraded and insulted,” the Malay daily Utusan Malaysia quoted him saying.
Md Salleh reportedly made the remarks when tabling his work paper at the Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka (DBP) yesterday.
PPSMI was discontinued in 2012, but the Education Ministry has made it mandatory for students sitting for the Form Five SPM examination to pass the English-language subject beginning 2016.