KOTA BAHARU, Nov 2 – MCA will help the government, especially the Education Ministry, to improve the command of Malay language among pupils at all Chinese-type national schools (SJKC) nationwide. Its president, Datuk Seri Dr Liow Tiong Lai, said MCA was truly concerned about the issue and admitted that what were being done were insufficient to ensure that the pupils would have a better level of proficiency in the national language.
“MCA lauds all efforts taken by the government to improve command of Malay language among pupils at SJKC. “We are prepared to help the SJKC to uphold the status of the national language as it is equally important for the pupils to improve their level of proficiency in the language,” he told reporters after opening the 55th annual general meeting of the Malaysian Road Safety Council here Sunday.
Liow said this in response to the recent report which stated that 604 Indian and Chinese participants of the National Service Training Programme (PLKN) could not speak fluently in the Malay language. The matter was disclosed by Institute of the Malay World and Civilisation of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) lecturer Prof Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong following a survey on 14,000 PLKN trainees at 79 camps nationwide in 2010.
Liow, who also admitted that many SJKC students in rural areas were having problems speaking in Malay, said additional classes for the pupils to learn the language should be organised. “In schools, they have to learn three languages, namely Chinese, English and Malay, and that became the main factor for them not having a good command of Malay language at primary school.
“When they enter secondary school, the situation changed and they slowly began to improve their proficiency in the language,” he said. Liow said the special committee chaired by his deputy, Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, had begun its efforts toward achieving the objective with the cooperation from non-governmental organisations. “I’m confident that with the efforts, pupils at SJKC will be able to improve their command of Malay language. There’s more room for improvement,” he added.