A Call for English medium schools. In Johor, close to Singapore…

2015: The Sultan of Johore, “Our education makes us ‘5Malaysia’.”



The Sultan of Johor and the Raja Permaisuri are ardent supporters and advocates of the establishment of EMS. Johoreans are known to send busloads of children across the causeway to take advantage of the school system there.



EIGHT out of 10 Johoreans want the return of English-medium schools in the state, a recent survey showed.

The survey by Singapore’s Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS) showed the support (82%) for English-medium schools cuts across all races in the state.


The study was conducted by Merdeka Center in May and June, comprising 2,011 respondents aged 18 years and over who live in Johor and interviewed by telephone.

Those interviewed included 1,104 (55%) Malay respondents, 758 (38%) Chinese and 149 (7%) Indian.


24 November 2017



Nazri, what’s your problem with English?

Published:     Modified:

COMMENT | It seems that Culture and Tourism Minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz is not a very popular figure in Sarawak. He has ruffled the feathers of many Sarawakians of late.

For Sarawakians, adopting English as an official language in the state is one Adenan legacy that they will cherish. I can still recall the widespread support for the chief minister, including from opposition figures, on this decision.

To Wee and many Sarawakians, Nazri’s ‘condemnation’ of the English language is akin to a serious rebuttal against Adenan’s strong advocate for the use of English.

This is what I can make of Wee’s outburst against the federal minister. I share his sentiments.

Here, I wish to remind Nazri of these words of my late chief minister in 2015: “I do not know who made the decision not to use English in the past, but it has adversely affected other people now.”

To Adenan and Sarawakians, not using English in the past was a mistake. Now, that has to be corrected.

Totally absurd

I must also seriously ask Nazri this question: what is your problem with English?

I find the minister’s statement calling on Malaysians to halt the widespread advancement of English in the country very uncomfortable, worrisome and totally absurd.

Why on earth should anyone, let alone a minister, request others to stop learning a language of international importance? Shouldn’t we all be encouraging each other to learn or master as many languages as possible?

Is the minister not aware of recent reports claiming that graduates in Malaysia are finding it hard to gain employment because of their poor command of English? Doesn’t this prove the need to be proficient in the language?

And yes, Nazri should also find out why Johor ruler, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, has been actively promoting an education system modelled after Singapore’s English medium school system.

Perhaps the minister should also ask himself whether he would be able to get through his law exams if he were not proficient in English.

Or why should he learn English in the first place? After learning and mastering English, is he now a threat to Bahasa Malaysia?

Only Nazri himself has the answer to that.

FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at sirsiah@gmail.com

Read more at https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/403141#T5OUTSfMqRwVc1FA.99



English-medium schools: An alternative stream in the national curriculum


By G25

The discussion on English-medium schools (EMS) is back by popular demand among Johoreans, according to a Yusof Ishak Institute of Singapore (ISEAS) survey. Johor wants what Singapore has: graduates who are more competent in English, and more internationally employable. Indeed, EMS appears to be associated with quality education, and Singapore has benefited tremendously by sticking to that policy.

EMS will be the pinnacle of liberalisation in education for the national school system. The market demands for it, and parents who wish to have their children enrolled at such schools can do so without having to fork out huge amounts of money. This would provide a level playing field and equitability between the private and national school systems in Malaysia.

G25 supports the establishment of the EMS as an alternative stream under the national school system. English is a language for acquiring knowledge. We are in support of initiatives that will help in the growth of the economy and improve the well-being of Malaysians.

Competency in English is necessary in this age of digitalisation and high-tech industries as the country moves towards the need for a skills-intensive, higher productivity workforce. High-tech industries and a digital economy are essential for achieving the government’s objective of increasing wage levels for the bottom 40% of the population, and thereby reducing income inequality.

Malaysia is a trading nation. Having a workforce with a high proficiency in English is a sure way to increase our global competitiveness and enable us to take advantage of the global economy and bring foreign investments into the country.

To push for the country’s economic growth, Malaysia needs to reclaim and re-establish itself as a bilingual country with Bahasa Malaysia as the national language and English as a strong second language, as it was meant to be.

This can be achieved based on evidence from the best education systems in the world. Finland prides itself as a bilingual country where Finnish and Swedish are its official languages. Its national curriculum supports the learning of its two official languages and a third language.


Improvements and achievements to transform the Malaysian education system in order to achieve the quality education it so desires lies within the governance of the system. We must ensure that only the best and suitable people remain in the administration of the education system, and that things are not done in a half-baked manner through the cascading system which has been proven to break down.

We need to learn from past mistakes and ensure that the implementation of English-medium schools follows a model with a proven track record.

G25 is a movement of eminent Malay moderates.

The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

55% sample size of Malays in Johor survey ‘correct’

THE ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute survey among 55% of Malay respondents in Johor where the majority want a return of English-medium schools was an accurate reflection of the state’s population, a spokesman from the Singapore-based centre said.

“The total population of Johor is about 3.2 million, of which about 1.7 million is ethnic Malay.

“The sample size of ethnic Malays for this survey is 1,104 out of 2,011, or 55%, corresponding with the actual population figure,” said Teo Hwee Leng, the institute’s public affairs manager in response to criticism that its methodology and percentage of Malay respondents were inaccurate.

The survey released last week was criticised by the Movement to Abolish the Teaching of Science and Maths in English (GMP).

Its adviser, Dr Shaharir Mohamad Zain, said the study did not reflect the views of Johor folk as only 55% of Malay respondents were interviewed.

“Why only 55% of Malay respondents? It should be at least 60% Malays,” he said.

GMP is against any effort to replace Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of education in schools as it believes it must supersede other languages in the national education system.


Countries that adopt English medium not successful, says BN MP

Published:     Modified:

PARLIAMENT | Rompin MP Hasan Arifin has dismissed the notion for the country to restore English as the medium of learning in schools.

This is because the majority of countries that adopted an English-medium education system were not successful, he said, during the Budget 2018 debate in Dewan Rakyat.

“I see a connection in critical thinking and English. We have seen surveys in Singapore which called for the English-medium education system to be restored.

“The success of a country is not because of a language, but the development of a good system,” argued the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson.

“Now, tell me, has any country in Asia that had adopted the English-medium (been) successful in its development?

“If you talk about Singapore, it is not a country, but a city-state,” he said.

He gave examples of countries in Asia like Japan, Taiwan, China, and Korea that did not use English as a medium in education but are successful.

He also said that the US used English as an education medium, and it also has an attractive education system because they have many different languages and imported professors into the country.

“Show us, which country uses English as a medium that is successful in developing the country?

“Why are we so obsessed with restoring a language (medium) that does not show their success in developing their country?” he asked.
Read more at https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/403084#QFjCggbcSeFiBqui.99

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