National laureate Professor Dr Siti Zainon Ismail (right) and Gerakan Mansuhkan PPSMI chairman Professor Datuk Wan Ramli Wan Daud (centre) protesting against the proposed reimplementation for teaching of Science and Mathematics in English, in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Also present are Islamic Youth Movement Malaysia president Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz (front row, second from left) and representatives of non-governmental organisations. PIC BY EIZAIRI SHAMSUDIN (New Straits Times).
KUALA LUMPUR: The direction of the education system should be in tandem with the qualities outlined in Vision 2020 by emphasising on local cultures to shape the identity of the country.
Former Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka director-general Professor Datuk Dr Awang Sariyan said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed’s Vision 2020, introduced in 1991, had the ingredients of a wholesome vision.
He said Dr Mahathir, who is acting education minister, had wanted to shape the future through local cultures back then.
“Dr Mahathir must have remembered that his Vision 2020 introduced policies that included the Look East Policy, which would have enabled us to become successful in our own mould.
“He (Dr Mahathir) was impressed by the Japanese. They have been successful despite using their own language (for education),” he said.
Dr Awang said this at the Islamic Youth Movement Malaysia’s (Abim) press conference to protest against the proposed reimplementation for teaching of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) in schools.
Abim president Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said Dr Mahathir should not have made any decision by himself.
“It is no longer like the old days when the government makes decisions without getting a consensus (from others).”
He said the government should have focused on other pressing issues.
National laureate Professor Dr Siti Zainon Ismail recalled the time when she met Dr Mahathir when he visited the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka office.
“He told me that his Bahasa Melayu wasn’t very formal because it has a strong Malay dialect, but I feel that local dialects should be preserved, while the formal Malay language can be introduced in an education setting,” she said.
Dr Siti urged academicians and cultural experts not to be afraid to express their opinions about PPSMI.