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YOURSAY | PM, master English for global stage, not shy away from it

YOURSAY | ‘Don’t know how to dance but blame the floor for being uneven.’

G25: English language goes beyond speaking at international stage

Fuminghot: Just because Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and most of the ministers cannot speak English, they want to use Bahasa Malaysia at the international level.

Other Asean countries did not have the British as colonial masters. Ours started as a British education system and still, there are people who cannot speak English.

This is a case of you don't know how to dance but blame the floor for being uneven.

English is an international language for communication. There are more advantages if you learn English. So do not become a ‘katak bawah tempurong’ (frog under a coconut husk).

Clever Voter: The motive to pursue such an ill-conceived idea is not towards enhancing the competitiveness but more convenience to locals whose working language in English is below acceptable standards.

While some have overcome the initial difficulties, the majority across all ethnic groups are no longer proficient in both oral and written English.

Within the region, all governments have spent billions to get their people to acquire proficiency in English, and here we see the reverse.

We have become a laughing stock within Asean, and such retreat is no more than the feeling of inadequacy and inferiority in using English.

Mat M Din: The Malay language has been acknowledged and placed on a high and honourable pedestal. It is being widely used in administration, judiciary and in Parliament with great success and pride.

It has performed its role as a national language perfectly well without blemish. It has successfully fulfilled its national role and has evolved as one of the languages recognised worldwide.

It is now the turn of the people who use the language to find ways and means that can enable them to be placed on the same high and honourable pedestal as their language.

How to reach that stage and the necessary measures that have to be taken to achieve it? The most practical and effective way is for Malaysians to be proficient in the fields of science and technology.

This requires extensive use of English as most books on the said subjects are available in English, very few are written in Malay. Therefore, knowledge of English is very important and has to be taught early at a young age, at primary level.

It is, therefore, suggested that to achieve fast results, schools and all institutes of high learning need to switch the medium of instruction from Malay to English at the earliest possible moment.

In this regard, Malaysia is able to recruit the best and well-trained teachers from English-speaking countries, thereby improving the quality of its education; the current quality of its education level is deplorable. It saves time and money to train local teachers.

In the end, all Malaysians will be fully proficient in Malay and English and able to raise the growth of their economy to a higher level.

JBond: Even China is pushing their children to learn English despite their language being one of the six in the UN. Why?

Because they know the value of the language in advancing their society.

BrownOtter3205: Please invest time and effort to master the English language, if it's not written, at least spoken.

Stand as equal among the international community at the UN with your ability to speak English fluently.

Then, choose to present your speech in Bahasa Malaysia at the global stage, Malaysia will be respected.

Maya: Whatever language one uses, the most important issue is to get the message across clearly.

The next very important aspect is debating issues at international meetings. If one is not fluent in any of the six UN languages officially used and translated in real time, then it is useless.

Any translated handout provided, which is the best that is allowed, will just end up as recycled paper or if in soft copy, will be deleted.

If we plan to progress and get above the critical thinking mentality and want to be heard, then English is the only way.

Solo: This reminds me of former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s UN speech in 2016. It was not good and probably cost us some reputational damage.

If you really cannot speak fluent English, stick to Bahasa Malaysia. Let the interpreter do the translation.

Otherwise, learn English for international studies or business. It is okay to have local slang in our English, it makes the speech more interesting to a global audience.

Pensieve: When speaking/reading/writing in Bahasa Malaysia, the richness of our nation is expressed and I feel so connected to my beloved Malaysia, past and present.

With English, I connect immediately to people from many lands and learn of brave new ideas from all over the world as I am also a global citizen.

Neither is my mother tongue, but now I am a translator (from BM to English).

Ismail Sabri, the Malaysian education system advocates life-long learning. Set an example and get competent trainers/teachers who can quickly teach ministers to speak English confidently on the international stage whenever they need to.

Our children learn best by watching the actions of adults.

Apa Ini: You lose nothing in being able to speak in the other's language but you lose everything if the other person doesn't understand your language.

It's that simple, Mr PM.


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