KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 – Lack of verbal exposure, whether at home or in school, is the reason why some non-Malay students are not able to master the Malay language. Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng said it was not because the Malay language taught in Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (SJK) was weak so much so it needed to be reviewed, but felt it was the lack of exposure to the language as one of the cause for the non-Malays’ failure in mastering the language.
“When they mix with school mates they tend to speak in Chinese. “They also interact the same way with parents and relatives at home. This, however, does not mean they do not understand the Malay language,” he said when contacted by The Rakyat Post. Considering that it wasn’t the norm for them to use Malay in their daily conversation, Khoo said it was thus unfair to blame the students as it was not like they refused to master it.
Even so, these non-Malay students still pass the subject in their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), despite the lack of usage of the language in public. He said this showed that they understood the national language but the lack of ability to speak it was the crippling factor. Taking the English language for example, he said, not everybody could master the language even though it was the language to converse internationally, but they understood what was being said.
Yesterday, Institute of the Malay World and Civilisation of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) lecturer Prof Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong was reported to have said that 604 of the 14,000 participants of the National Service Training Programme could not speak Malay even though some of them had passed the subject in the SPM examination.