Anwar: Mastery of BM, English compulsory for students to build national pride

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Malaysians and higher learning institutions in the country must ensure their students master the national language.

According to Anwar, mastery of Bahasa Melayu (BM) not only builds national pride but also a nation’s identity, adding that doing so will also indirectly lead to mastering the English language, which he said is equally important in this day and age.

“If we have sound policies in all universities that mastering BM is crucial and this is accepted as a clause, including for local students, it’ll strengthen your national pride and make you learn some history but once you have mastered it you can study and do whatever you want,” he was reported as saying by Malay Mail.

The prime minister said this during a dialogue session with officials from the Higher Education Ministry as well as representatives from universities and local colleges at the World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur on Friday (Jan 5).

“If this is accepted, then it’s logical to then focus this year on doing this where mastering BM is important so that indirectly then you will start mastering the English language. I feel today must be the day we start this, right away. And when I say now, I mean by next week.

“I want our professors to identify good books for their students to read so their mastery and knowledge of English is top notch.”

Citing Thailand as an example, Anwar said the youths speak fluent Thai but have now transitioned into speaking impeccable English, noting that their universities insist on having their students master the English language as well.

Anwar further assured Malaysians that the people’s proficiency in BM will not suffer if their English is good.

He acknowledged that many people have the impression that promoting English is at the expense of the national language.

“This is not a zero-sum game. Promoting English at the expense of BM and promoting BM at the expense of English are outdated views,” he told the audience.

“In education, especially in higher education, many universities around the world emphasise on the mastery of more than one language, so this is one of the important things (that we must look into.”

Anwar was attending a programme called “Wacana Strategi Kementerian Pendidikan Tinggi” organised by the Higher Education Ministry on setting the right landscape for 2024 and the direction the higher learning institutions will need to take.

The event was also attended by Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir. – Jan 5, 2024


Main pic credit: Bernama

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