Teresa Kok: Malaysia must invest in teaching foreign languages

SEPUTEH MP Teresa Kok Suh Sim has called for increased efforts to encourage students to learn additional foreign languages.

She emphasised the importance of multilingualism in facilitating communication and trade, pointing to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s mission to bring in foreign investors.

“With Malaysia strategically having one of the world’s busiest ports in the world along the Straits of Malacca, it becomes imperative that our workforce master other foreign languages apart from English to be well-equipped, like many of our neighbours,” she said in a statement.

Moreover, her statement comes in light of Anwar’s successful efforts to attract foreign investments, totalling over RM200 bil from his 17 working trips to countries such as the UAE, US and China since taking office in November 2022.

Kok stressed the necessity for the Malaysian workforce to master languages other than English, particularly in a country with one of the world’s busiest ports.

“Investments of this magnitude certainly need local manpower to be able to facilitate and ease communications between parties.

“Malaysia must do more to invest in encouraging students, youth and young adults to learn additional foreign languages—particularly ones that will help them with their careers and future working endeavours—while at the same time being masters in the national language of Bahasa Malaysia.”

Furthermore, she lamented her concerns about the lack of options for learning alternative foreign languages in Malaysian primary and secondary schools as well as higher education institutions.

“At the university level, the likelihood of learning another foreign language is confined to the departments of linguistics only,” she further added. – Nov 1, 2023


Main photo credit: The Malaysian Reserve

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