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Saudara Pengarang,

Akhir-akhir ini, terbuka kembali bicara tentang sekolah satu aliran memandangkan isu kerapuhan perpaduan kaum timbul dek pelbagai peristiwa yang memporak-perandakan keutuhan integrasi nasional. Penulis berdiri di antara setuju dan tidak setuju dengan sekolah satu aliran dan memohon izin untuk melontarkan pendapat yang berbeza.

Pertamanya, isu kerapuhan perpaduan kaum wujud kerana manusia mempunyai perbezaan pendapat dan pandangan mengikut keperluan dan darjat kehidupan. Perpaduan satu kaum sahaja pun sukar dicapai, inikan pula perpaduan pelbagai kaum. Kejayaan kita hidup dalam keadaan aman dan damai lebih daripada 60 tahun merupakan keunikan Malaysia dan kita harus meraikan keharmonian ini.

Kedua, perpaduan kaum merupakan satu perjalanan yang tidak mudah. Malah usaha berterusan harus dilakukan setiap hari, setiap saat, bukannya hanya setiap tahun pada Hari Kebangsaan atau Hari Malaysia atau apabila berlaku insiden yang memisahkan kita. Malaysia juga memerlukan inisiatif yang mungkin kecil tetapi mampu menyatu padukan rakyat. Besar kemungkinan tidak memerlukan usaha yang begitu sukar dan payah seperti menyatukan semua aliran sekolah.

Tidak dinafikan bahawa sistem pendidikan merupakan tunjang utama negara. Namun, tiada salah dan keburukannya jika sekolah pelbagai aliran masih diteruskan. Akan tetapi, jangan dibataskan satu kaum sahaja yang boleh menggunakan kemudahan sekolah-sekolah ini. [Continue Reading…]

Aidilfitri tahun ini….

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri kepada semua sahabat beragama Islam. Bagi penulis, agama Islam ialah agama yang mendidik sifat penyayang, persefahaman dan keamanan. Umat Islam membentuk lebih daripada 65% populasi Malaysia dan sudah pasti Hari Raya Aidilfitri disambut lebih meriah daripada perayaan yang lain. Malah, kekuatan dan keimanan umat Islam yang berjaya berpuasa sepanjang bulan Ramadhan, menjadikan kehadiran Syawal itu bertambah nikmat.

Namun tahun ini, insiden Plaza Low Yat baru-baru ini mungkin menjadikan suasana Hari Raya tahun ini sedikit tegang. Hal yang disyaki sebagai satu kes pencurian kecil dapat meletuskan perbalahan, mengguris hati kita dan mencetuskan huru-hara.

Pengajaran

Insiden Plaza Low Yat dapat dijadikan satu pengajaran kepada kita semua. Pertama, rakyat Malaysia terlalu mudah mempercayai kata-kata di media sosial, terutamanya yang berbaurkan perkauman dan membangkitkan emosi. Pada persepsi umum, jika banyak orang mengatakan sesuatu perkara dan menaruh benci, maka sudah tentu perkara itu dikira betul dan boleh dipercayai.

Hakikatnya, sesuatu yang sentiasa diperkata-katakan itu tidak semestinya sahih dan benar. Jika penjelasan Ketua Polis Negara yang terpampang di dada akhbar pun boleh disangkal oleh peguambela kepada pemuda yang disyaki mencuri, dapatkah kita mempercayai segala kata-kata dan laporan berita tanpa menyaksikan keadaan sebenar? Oleh itu, pengajaran utama kepada kita semua adalah untuk menentukan kesahihan sesuatu berita sebelum dikongsikan di media sosial atau dibataskan sebagai muzakarah sahaja.

Kebebasan bersuara, berhimpun dan berpersatuan diperuntukkan dalam Perkara 10 Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan kita haruslah bijak menggunakan kebebasan ini terutamanya dalam media sosial. Penulis ingin memetik pandangan mantan Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr. Mahathir yang berkata bahawa banyak perkara dapat diselesaikan melalui perundingan. Perbincangan yang ditimbulkan melalui media sosial merupakan satu platform yang cukup baik untuk menajamkan minda dan meluahkan pandangan.

Namun, seperti dalam seminar atau mana-mana persidangan yang diadakan, panel penceramah selalunya dibimbing oleh seorang penyederhana atau moderator. Dalam ruangan media sosial pula, tuan punya status atau pandangan itulah yang harus menjadi moderator untuk mengawal situasi apabila komen-komen yang tertimbul tidak relevan atau mula menjadi rancak dengan niat yang tidak baik. Dalam forum atas talian pun begitu. Ada moderator yang ditanggungjawabkan untuk menjalankan tugas mereka. Jika kami berjaya menjadi moderator kendiri untuk segala hujah dalam media sosial dan bijak bertindak apabila berlaku perbualan yang tidak diingini, maka tidak akan timbul soal kawalan sosial media oleh kerajaan.

Kedua, penulis merasakan bahawa kes yang disyaki pencurian di Low Yat itu cumalah percikan yang amat sedikit tetapi apabila dicampur dengan cerita-cerita perkauman dan dibantu media sosial serta pengendali yang tidak bertanggungjawab, api itu dapat membakar hati setiap rakyat Malaysia. Ibarat menuang minyak ke api, seorang pengendali blog turut disyaki merosakkan keadaan dengan menulis blog yang tidak tepat untuk membangkitkan kemarahan segelintir rakyat.

Malah, selepas kejadian di Plaza Low Yat, liar pula disebarkan melalui pesanan telefon palsu bahawa kawasan sekitar Bukit Bintang, yang merupakan tumpuan pelancong itu, tidak lagi selamat dikunjungi. Penulis berkerja di Yayasan Usman Awang yang berpremis di Kompleks Sun dan masih selamat ke pejabat setiap hari. Jelaslah bahawa perpaduan kaum negara kita begitu rapuh, jiwa rakyat cukup mudah diracuni ketakutan dan keadaan begini tidak sihat untuk pembangunan negara yang sedang berkemudi ke arah negara maju.

Soalnya di sini, apakah langkah kerajaan seterusnya untuk menangani kes-kes sebegini agar tidak berlaku lagi? Apakah rakyat Malaysia turut bertanggungjawab dalam insiden ini? Mereka yang menyebarkan berita palsu, yang difikirkan mungkin benar dan menarik, melalui media sosial, jarang sekali memohon maaf atas kesilapan diri. Kalau mahu menarik balik hujah mereka melalui media sosial dan menanggung malu, jauh sekali.

Dato’ Seri Nazir Razak menyarankan rasisme sebagai satu jenayah. Walaupun penulis tidak bersetuju dengan cadangan itu, penulis berasa ada perlunya untuk kita semua sama-sama belajar dan bertambah matang selepas insiden Plaza Low Yat ini. Jika generasi muda tidak pernah merasa keperitan insiden Mei 13 yang menjadi tamparan hebat, cukuplah insiden Plaza Low Yat yang kecil ini mengingatkan kita akan kepentingan perpaduan negara dan kematangan fikiran.

Kita ambil yang jernih, buang yang keruh. Kita ingat-ingatlah pengajaran yang disajikan oleh insiden Plaza Low Yat ini, dan lupakanlah warna dan perbezaan antara kita.

Maaf Zahir dan Batin

Maaf-bermaafan merupakan budaya Timur dan adat umat Islam yang turut menular dalam kehidupan seharian rakyat Malaysia. Penulis merasakan bahawa insiden Plaza Low Yat mungkin tidak berlaku jika yang disyaki dan yang mensyaki itu saling maaf-bermaafan. Pemuda-pemuda yang dipukul oleh sekumpulan belia pada malam selepas insiden Plaza Low Yat pun tidak menaruh dendam. Patutlah juga mereka yang memukul itu diberi peluang memohon maaf atas kejadian tersebut.

Aidilfitri tahun ini, marilah kita kunjung-mengunjungi sahabat-sahabat yang beragama Islam. Jika tiada kawan Melayu, kunjungi sajalah jiran yang menyambut Aidilfitri. Setahu penulis, rumah mereka sentiasa terbuka kerana kaum Melayu memang terkenal dengan sifat ramah dan mesra.

Dalam penulisan pandangan ini, jika penulis menyinggung perasaan mana-mana pihak yang sudah pasti tidak disengajakan, penulis menyusun sepuluh jari memohon maaf. Maaf zahir dan batin dan semoga Aidilfitri tahun ini disambut meriah. Benarkan penulis mengungkapkan dua bait puisi Usman Awang sebagai penutup kata.

Malu aku seorang pemuda
kalau hidup belum berjasa
hanya cakap atau kata-kata
aku pemuda harapan bangsa

…..

Sedar dan insaflah saudara
mari bersama menyembahkan bakti
untuk bangsa dan negara
hingga tercipta merdeka abadi.

(Dipetik dari puisi Mari Berbakti oleh Tongkat Warrant, 13 Mei 1949)

SELAMAT Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all my Muslim brothers and sisters. For me, Islam is a great religion of love, understanding and peace. Over 65% of the Malaysian population are Muslims and definitely the Aidilfitri celebration will always be merrier than other festive seasons. Moreover, the victory in fasting the whole of Ramadan makes Syawal even more meaningful.

This year, however, the incident in Low Yat Plaza may somewhat dampen the festive spirit. But it serves as a great lesson for all of us.

First of all, we know that Malaysians believe postings on social media too easily, especially those with racial sentiments that arouse our emotions. It is a general perception that if a topic is being discussed repeatedly at large and when hatred is sown, then the issue could be considered true and real.

Sometimes, topics discussed on social media are neither true nor correct. Even the explanation by the Inspector General of Police, which was widely published in the media, can be refuted by the counsel to the young man suspected of the theft. How then can we truly believe all the words and news reports without being an eye witness to the real situation?

Thus, the main lesson for us is to determine the authenticity of any news before sharing them in social media, otherwise restrict them for discussion only.

Freedom of expression, assembly and the right to form associations is provided for in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, and we must wisely make full use of this freedom, especially in social media. Discussion through social media is a healthy platform to sharpen our minds and express views. However, just like any seminar or conference will have a moderator to guide the discussions, I feel that the owner of the post or sharing on social media should also stand as a moderator to control the situation before things get out of hand.

Many online forums have just that – moderators to guide a forum for discussion. If we can be self-moderated in the space of social media and act wisely upon unwanted conversations, there should not arise the question of whether social media should be curbed and controlled.

Secondly, I feel that the suspected theft case in Low Yat was merely a very little spark that, when mixed with stories of racism, cheating and aided by news spread widely through social media and so swiftly, ignited a huge burn in the hearts of people. To add fuel to the fire, a blogger was suspected to have written a blog that misled and caused the subsequent events, leading to a car being badly damaged and injuries to a few innocent people.

After that, there was also a viral spread of messages that the surrounding areas of Bukit Bintang, a tourist hotspot, were no longer safe to visit. I work at Yayasan Usman Awang where our office is at the Sun Complex and I find no threat going to and from work every day. It is very clear that unity in our country is so fragile, our people are easily poisoned by fear and this situation is not healthy for development, especially when we are on the final lap to achieve the status of a developed country.

What will the Government do next to deal with such cases so that it does not happen again? Are we Malaysians also responsible for this incident? Those who spread inaccurate news, which was thought to be true and interesting, through the social media, rarely apologise for their mistakes.

It is rare to see someone withdraw their wrong arguments through social media and face up bravely to a shameful situation. Many chose to hide behind their computers and keyboard and stay as shadowless warriors that way.

Datuk Seri Nazir Razak suggested making racism a crime. Although I do not personally agree with the proposal, I feel there is a need for all of us to learn and increase our level of maturity after this incident at Low Yat Plaza. If we, the younger generation, have never felt the pain of the May 13 incident, let this Low Yat Plaza fracas be a gentle reminder of the importance of national unity and maturity of minds.

Let bygones be bygones. As the Malays say, “ambil yang jernih, buang yang keruh”. We keep that in mind, and the lessons learnt from this incident, and forget the differences among us.

To apologise and to forgive is our culture. I feel that the Low Yat Plaza fracas would not have happened if the theft suspect and the shop salesmen could forgive and forget. The young men who were beaten on the night after the fracas did not hold grudges against the youths who beat them. I feel that the youths responsible for the fight should also be given a chance to apologise.

For this year’s Aidilfitri, let us visit our Muslim friends to celebrate the occasion. If you do not have a Muslim friend, just walk over to a Malay neighbour to wish them Selamat Hari Raya. As far as I know, Malays are known to be always warm, welcoming and friendly.

CHEW HOONG LING
Chief Executive Officer, Yayasan Usman Awang

(Published in Letters, The Star, July 17, 2015)

Saudara Pengarang,

Sudah sekian lama penulis tidak membeli akhbar Utusan Malaysia kerana seringkali membaca berita dalam talian. Jika ingin membeli akhbar itu pun, penulis sentiasa memilih untuk membeli naskah hari Isnin yang memuatkan sisipan Utusan Melayu versi Jawi yang diedarkan percuma. Walaupun tidak diberi status bumiputera dan bukanlah anak Melayu, penulis suka menggunakan sisipan itu sebagai latihan membaca Jawi agar kebolehan itu kekal dan tidak hilang.

Bahan bacaan Jawi kurang di pasaran

Baru-baru ini, penulis melawat Pesta Buku Antarabangsa di Pusat Dagangan Dunia Putra dengan harapan dapat membeli sebuah dua buku ringkas yang menggunakan tulisan Jawi. Harapan tidak tercapai apabila penulis cuma dapat mencari senaskah buku yang kiranya agak tebal di reruai Institut Terjemahan dan Buku Malaysia. Lain-lain buku yang menggunakan tulisan Jawi adalah dalam Bahasa Arab atau bahan bacaan agama.

Bacaan mingguan penulis terhenti apabila sisipan Jawi itu tidak lagi dimuatkan bersama Utusan Malaysia. Malah, hendak mencari buku-buku dalam tulisan Jawi juga begitu payah. Penulis seringkali memberi kejutan apabila kawan-kawan mendapati bahawa penulis rupa-rupanya boleh membaca tulisan Jawi.

Maklumlah, kebolehan berbahasa Cina penulis terbatas dan dipaksa ke perpustakaan setiap kali waktu Bahasa Cina diajar di sekolah semasa berada di Tingkatan Satu. Tahun kedua dan seterusnya, penulis diberikan kelas yang tidak menawarkan pembelajaran bahasa ibunda. Waktu dalam perpustakaan yang panjang memberi peluang kepada penulis untuk membaca dan mempelajari ilmu baru. Sebuah buku berkulit merah dengan huruf yang agak besar “Belajar Jawi” menjadi teman selama lapan bulan lamanya.

Buku yang  begitu bagus menjelaskan penggunaan dan penulisan jawi itu sudah tiada di pasaran. Nasib, yang penulis kira bertuah kerana masih dapat melatih pembacaan dengan sisipan Utusan Melayu, tidak menyebelahi pula apabila sisipan itu terhenti penerbitannya.

Semua orang boleh belajar Jawi
Tidak dapat membeli buku yang sesuai, penulis pun membeli buku belajar jawi sekolah rendah dan berjinak kembali dengan tulisan Jawi. Tidak faham kata-kata yang dimaksudkan, penulis tidak segan bertanya di Facebook. Mujurlah rakan-rakan dan guru-guru di sekolah dulu sudi memberi tunjuk ajar. Tidak kurang juga ada yang mengajukan ejekan sinis dan bertanya tujuan sebenar memperlajari tulisan Jawi. Mereka yang mengejek itu, sedihnya, berbangsa Melayu.

Penulis terasa kurang senang bukan kerana diejek tetapi suka menyoal adakah tulisan Jawi itu terbatas kepada golongan Melayu atau yang beragama Islam sahaja? Bukankah tulisan Jawi itu khazanah kebudayaan nasional yang membawa makna yang lebih besar? Apa salahnya jika orang bukan Melayu turut menggunakan tulisan Jawi? Sekurang-kurangnya rakyat Malaysia nanti faham jugalah tulisan-tulisan yang tertera pada kertas belanja yang kita gunakan setiap hari untuk menukar barangan seharian. Ataupun pandai membaca papan tanda yang bertulisan Jawi.

Tulisan Jawi tidak terbatas penggunaannya hanya kepada golongan Melayu dan untuk tujuan agama sahaja. Lihatlah tulisan katakana orang Jepun yang digunakan secara terbuka, diajar di setiap pelosok dunia dan digunakan sebagai bantuan membaca suku kata bahasa lain.

Tulisan Jawi juga merupakan satu seni warisan lama. Warisan yang patut diteruskan kepada generasi muda. Pada pendapat penulis, penghayatan tulisan Jawi berkurangan bukan kerana kehilangan minat atau generasi baru yang tidak mengambil inisiatif mempelajarinya. Minat dan insiatif masih meluap-luap, cuma bahan bacaan dalam tulisan Jawi kurang dan tidak mudah dicari.

Tambahan pula, tulisan Jawi semakin dilihat hanya digunakan untuk mendalami fahaman agama dan diajar bersama mata pelajaran Agama di sekolah. Lama-kelamaan, Jawi dianggap satu alat untuk menguasai subjek agama sahaja. Tidak hairanlah apabila terdapat ahli politik yang menuduh bahawa penggunaan nama jalan dalam tulisan Jawi itu merupakan salah satu cara memperluaskan ajaran agama Islam dan mengatakan budaya itu bertentangan dengan negara sekular!

Luaskan penggunaan tulisan Jawi

Dalam tahun 1960an, tulisan Jawi diajar di sekolah sebagai mata pelajaran wajib. Mereka yang bukan Melayu turut mempelajarinya. Dalam berita “Wajibkan pembelajaran jawi di sekolah – Kok Seong “, Utusan Malaysia, 18 Januari 2011, Timbalan Pengarah Institut Alam dan Tamadun Melayu (ATMA), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Prof. Dr. Teo Kok Seong berkata tulisan Jawi harus dijadikan sebagai mata pelajaran khusus atau sekurang-kurangnya dimasukkan ketika pembelajaran Bahasa Melayu dan Kesusasteraan Melayu.

Penulis juga ingin mencadangkan agar lebih banyak bahan bacaan Jawi diterbitkan untuk bacaan umum. Untuk menarik minat membaca Jawi, bahan bacaan dalam versi Jawi diberikan diskaun atau ditawarkan dalam harga yang jauh lebih murah berbanding dengan bahan yang sama dalam versi rumi.

Kembalikanlah sisipan Jawi dan bukan sahaja dalam Utusan Malaysia malah akhbar lain. Janganlah terhenti dengan “Jawi mingguan” sahaja. Penulis menyarankan agar Utusan Malaysia mendedikasikan satu muka surat, atau lebih baik satu segmen setiap hari menggunakan tulisan Jawi.

Semoga dengan usaha-usaha begini, khazanah budaya ini dapat terus hidup dan tidak lelap dalam hati kita.

Dear Editors,

Festive season is here again. We will be celebrating Christmas, New Year and then Chinese New Year too. However, it is this very season that always sadden me.

On one hand, I do appreciate the many Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects towards the end of the year. On the other hand, I pity the children from welfare homes and orphanages who are forced to perform in the public in return for donations to their homes.

I thank all corporate which would think of the underprivileged. However, there are companies who donate money in return for something – one thing they always do is to ask children to perform during their annual dinners, celebration dinners and many other events. More insulting to these children was when the public relation officers at times demand the children to make thank you cards for the donation they have made. While these companies save on money to hire professional performers, they do not pass 100% of these savings to the children’s homes. Only part of the savings were given as token of appreciation to the homes as donation. Ask these children if they are happy to perform or are they forced to do so. Most of them will answer the latter. This does not only violate human rights but further hurt the dignity of these children and also shows advocacy to child labour.

I feel that such CSR is not appropriate unless of course if the children are really proud and happy to perform for them. I hope that this festive season will be merry and joyful for all parties involved. For those giving sincerely without expecting anything in return, rest assure the returns will be more abundant in the future. For those who would like to ask children to perform, please do ask these children if they really want to do it.

I REFER to the report “Rohani: Flexi-hours key to getting women back to work” (The Star, July 10).

Women and men need time to juggle the family, especially after welcoming a child to the family.

Working Malaysians are only entitled to maternity leave and not paternity leave.

Perhaps it is time to review the parental leave policy.

Research has shown that women find it difficult to get a similar position and pay cheque after a long absence from the workforce.

In Australia, an employee who works at least 12 months in an organisation may be entitled to up to 52 weeks unpaid parental leave.

The provision also allows the employee to be back at work with the same position or a similar post, and with the nearest in pay and status to her original job prior to taking leave.

Many couples take turns for parental leave. While one works, the other spouse takes care of the children at home.

Secondly, it is now very common to see men taking over the women’s role at home.

Working couples may decide that the husband takes leave for the child, worrying that women may find it more difficult to get back to work after a long period.

In some cases, a husband may choose to take care of a child at home if the wife is making more money than him.

In this case, Malaysians should be allowed the flexibility of paternity leave as well. This will allow continuity of a woman at work.

Some European countries allow the parents to choose from two, three or four years of maternity leave.

However, such a long absence from work may further deter women from re-entering the workforce and losing her competitive edge.

In this case, I suggest women under maternity leave be entitiled for short, flexible-hour courses during maternity leave.

This could help them gain more soft skills while taking time off to take care of their children.

When they get back to work, these additional skills will come in handy to cope with new changes within their organisation.

It is high time to study a better parental policy for Malaysians.

A better parental policy does not only ease women back into the workforce, it also provides better growing time for children.

CHEW HOONG LING
President, Voice of Women
Kuala Lumpur

 

Published: Thursday July 11, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday July 11, 2013 MYT 7:24:02 AM

http://www.thestar.com.my/Opinion/Letters/2013/07/11/Time-for-a-better-paternal-policy.aspx

Dear Editors,

When the country is heading towards national reconciliation and adopts the 1Malaysia way,
we have high hopes and expectations for the new, fresh Cabinet of Malaysia.

The recent “Chinese tsunami” and call by our very Home Minister for the people who prefer a different voting system to emigrate, were really uncalled for.

Our Malaysian brothers also blogged and started to insist that the BN government “rewards” Malays and Bumiputera, and sidelining the Chinese just because of the General Elections results. This shows that we still do not understand our brothers and sisters of another ethnics, well enough.

While at general look, the General Election results looks like a major swing of the Chinese voters, Barisan Nasional must understand that there are a lot of Chinese voters who supported the BN too. If the BN is being defensive and start to “teach” a certain ethnic group a lesson, Malaysia will drift further apart from unity.

While many do not agree with street rallies by the Pakatan Rakyat nationwide, these bloggers who blogged to insist on racial line, has added salt to the already wounded unity of Malaysia.

We are Malaysians and this is our country. I can only hope that our fellow Malaysian bloggers understand the need for us to move forward as a nation and stay united.

 THE general election has created much racial tension with both sides of the divide bringing up racial sentiments. But the programmes spurred by youths like Kamilah Malaysia and SayaMauPicnic are great initiatives. Youths know better what Malaysians want, not Malays, not Chinese, not Indians. Just Malaysians.

The 1Malaysia slogan for years has not brought about this kind of momentum for unity nationwide. Yet, at a time when we are heading towards racial barriers, these unity programmes have started a process of healing.

In the past it would have been worrying when the cabinet was without Chinese representation but now, the people can readily accept the fact and trust that a Malay or Indian cabinet member will take care of the Chinese as well.

Let’s unite, move on and create a better Malaysia. We are all Malaysians.

Chew Hoong Ling
Petaling Jaya

 

20130513_N60_SUN_SU_13_BW_YOUTH TO THE FOREFRONT

 

 

 

 

20130515_N60_STR_VIE_43_BW_LET~US~TAKE~THE~KAMILAH~MALAYSIA~WAY

I REFER to the current reports on making it compulsory to pass English in SPM. It is welcoming news indeed that we want to raise the standard of English in the country.

And I do agree that making the subject a compulsory pass will force students to improve their command of the language.

The standard of English among the young is really embarrassing. It has reached a stage where they cannot write proper sentences with correct grammar or spell correctly.

I was blessed to be a student at SMK Convent, Teluk Intan, when we were taught by the last batch of English teachers from the British era.

My English teachers, I still remember, sometimes forced us to refer to the dictionary. In fact, my teacher practically memorised the whole dictionary and could point out our mistakes easily.

Another teacher made us sit in pairs during his lessons – one student with a better score in English and the other with a lower score, so that the better student could help the other.

You cannot master a language overnight. It is learnt through reading, listening and speaking frequently.

I have attempted to learn Japanese but I never made much progress as I was not able to find the people to converse with.

While there are many measures taken by the Education Ministry to improve the standard of English, I would like to point out a few weaknesses and in turn provide a few suggestions.

Firstly, if the current English teachers are not trained with proper English, how would they teach correctly? I am in no position to humiliate teachers. There are really good ones, too.

Secondly, “importing” English teachers from overseas will not solve the problem unless we replace the incompetent teachers.

Thirdly, by the time we train up teachers, students may not be able to benefit as soon as we wish to.

There are still many retired teachers from the British times who have a very strong command of English.

I recall a politician suggesting that the ministry consider recruiting them as part-time teachers or tutors.

These teachers could also be English trainers for the current English teachers.

Then there are the efforts by English newspapers like The Star through its Newspaper-in-Education programme to help improve English in schools by providing newspapers as a teaching tool.

The ministry could look into developing language learning as a fun and interactive session.

Reading is also an essential practice for improvement in any language.

Therefore, schools perhaps could allocate time periods for students to read in the library.

Lastly, I’d like to suggest that students should re-sit language papers until they pass. If they fail the language subjects in Form One, they should not attempt to learn the Form Two syllabus until they have passed Form One.

This will ensure that their weakness in the language will not be dragged on from the first year of secondary school until they leave school, which is what is happening now.

I hope these humble suggestions could be taken into consideration and I thank the Education Ministry for its continuous efforts to improve the standard of education in the country.

CHEW HOONG LING
President
Voice of Women Association

 

Published: Thursday March 14, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday April 18, 2013 MYT 12:52:03 AM

http://www.thestar.com.my/Opinion/Letters/2013/03/14/How-to-improve-English-in-schools.aspx