KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today urged Putrajaya to allow Mathematics and Science to be taught in English despite agreeing with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who said all-English schools would violate the National Education Act 1996.
The former prime minister, who introduced the now-scrapped Policy of Teaching Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI), said this was necessary as progress in the two subjects often outpaced translation efforts.
“I wouldn’t agree to reintroduce English schools, but I do believe that if we teach science and maths in English, as well as make English a compulsory subject, that would be sufficient as it won’t breach our national policy to promote Bahasa Kebangsaan,” he said referring to the Malay language.
“Other subjects can be taught in Bahasa Kebangsaan, but since Math and Science are a different kind of subject, because changes in the information and findings in science especially, happens everyday.
He said the two differed from subjects such as History and Geography, where the information was comparatively static.
“Well, people do complain to me that the quality of Malaysian graduates are not so good and when they work with the government, they cannot interact with people, especially when you work with foreign affairs,” Dr Mahathir added.
Two days ago, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin said that reverting to using English medium as the medium of communication in national schools would breach the National Education Act.
Utusan Malaysia reported Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, as saying that such “polemic” should not be raised after 57 years of independence.
“Why must we change the direction since we have produced many experts with the current system?
“If in Japan, China, Finland, South Korea and Indonesia can use their own language, and we use English, where is our honour then?” he reportedly said in reply to Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming who had interjected his ministerial winding up speech in the Dewan Rakyat, when debating the 11th Malaysia Plan.