We would like to address the argument for MBMMBI by Mohd Solihan Badri from the Corporate Communications Unit of the Education Ministry ("Plan will boost BM, English" -- NST, Oct 11).
The problem is the deterioration of English language and not Bahasa Malaysia (BM).
The language to propel us forward in terms of science and technology is English. The main medium of instruction in national schools will still be BM.
At present, the syllabus provides that 60 per cent of subject hours in primary schools and 53 per cent in secondary schools (science stream) retain BM as the medium of instruction.
BM is also the official language for assembly and correspondence.
The option to uphold PPSMI is protected under Article 152 of the Federal Constitution, which ensures the freedom to teach and learn in other languages, including English.
In addition, the Education Act 1996 supports that "pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents".
The Education Act 1996 also states that "and whereas the purpose of education is to enable the Malaysian society to have a command of knowledge, skills and values necessary in a world that is highly competitive and globalised, arising from the impact of rapid development in science, technology and information".
If we want to achieve a skilled workforce to fill 3.3 million jobs that will be created as the government restructures the economy under the ETP, then we need to be serious about the prescription for the education system.
As it stands, the system is not fulfilling the needs of the nation as the knowledge, abilities and language skills of most graduates leave much to be desired.
There has yet to be any effort to address the inadequacies of the education system.
The assertion that students can understand their teachers better in their own language in this context is rather warped.
If this is true, then Chinese and Indian students in national schools would be underperformers. This is obviously not the case.
We have yet to see the outline and be convinced that the MBMMBI policy will improve and increase students' mastery of and competence in English.
The letter from Solihan does not prove that MBMMBI is superior than PPSMI in improving the competency of learning and using English language in line with achieving a competitive and globalised workforce.
Therefore, we urge the government to seriously consider PPSMI as an option for the schools that want it.
(the letter to NST was signed off as) DATIN NOOR AZIMAH ABDUL RAHIM, Page, Kuala Lumpur