“Could proliferation of race politics be the reason why Malaysia has to scout for Singaporean English teachers?”

A POLITICAL observer has deduced that the Education Ministry is reluctant to employ Malaysians to teach English simply because English teachers will almost “wholly be made up of Malaysians of Chinese and Indian descent”.

Social media influencer Lim Hwah Beng who has been acknowledged by Facebook as a top rising creator recently reckoned that employing local non-Malays could therefore be deemed a sensitive issue.

“We cannot be seen to be favouring Malaysian non-Malays, can we? They aren’t supposed to even be here in the first place, are they?” he penned a reaction to the statement by Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that Singapore teachers may be sent to teach English and other subjects in Malaysia.

“That’s why it is pragmatic to employ only foreign (Singaporean) teachers; never mind if they, too, will similarly and primarily be of Chinese or Indian descent.”

Lim himself was commenting on a statement by “Iron Lady” and former international trade and industry minister (1987-2008) Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz who felt that it would be more practical to hire “retired teachers in Malaysia with English teaching experience and proficiency” to do the job.

“Employing foreign non-Malays will not be so sensitive because they are foreigners and hence will have to go back to where they came from after their jobs are done,” asserted the digital creator who has received his fair share of shelling from detractors for some of his “racist and Islamophobia-ist” stance.

“Don’t talk to me about logic. We are talking illogical emotions, period. We are talking about numbers here, OK? So, what if it all doesn’t make sense?”

For deeper context, Anwar had in his meeting with his newly-minted Singaporean counterpart Lawrence Wong yesterday (June 13) requested Singapore to consider sending their teachers to teach English and other subjects, especially in certain regions or areas in the country.

The 51-year-old Wong who was sworn in as the island republic’s fourth PM on May 15 was on his maiden working visit to Malaysia after assuming the post.

Meanwhile, Rafidah, 80, has mooted the idea of Putrajaya getting local retired teachers with English teaching proficiency and pay them higher salaries equivalent to Singaporean standards (three-and-a-half times more) to teach the subject.

The former Wanita UMNO chief went on to suggest that the teachers’ training and school syllabus should also be revised to include English language proficiency.

“To make it painless, no need to make English a subject as part of overall examinations but just one subject by itself as a language,” added Rafidah in a FB post. – June 14, 2024

Main image credit: Anwar Ibrahim Facebook

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