All this talk is starting to piss me off. Why? Apparently many Malaysians are freaking ignorant & plain DUMB. I sent a letter to the Star explaining my stand on this issue, so I'll put it here (I don't know if it'll be published but frankly, enough is enough):
"Hi I'm writing in response to the letter by CONCERNED CITIZEN on 18 June in the Star "What about English in Accountancy". My sister studied in form 6 arts stream, now she's studying accounting at a private university; although her major subjects were taught in Malay at form 6, she had no problem switching to English at the university level. This brings me to my point that the root of the problem is many young Malaysians these days aren't speaking enough English, hence the worry that they can't cope with the change in medium language.
I believe that there are a few ways to go about this:
1. Make English a compulsory subject to pass at SPM. So it's estimated that 120000 candidates will fail SPM if this is made a policy. Enforcing this policy will ensure that less than 120000 candidates will fail SPM. If it is made compulsory, then the teachers & the students have NO CHOICE but to improve.
2. I do think it is important to keep teaching Science & Maths in English. I'm now studying at a public university & the level of English proficiency there is EMBARRASSING. Either the students didn't put enough effort to be fluent in the language or they are too comfortable with their mother tongue. I see many students struggling to do well; understanding the question becomes a challenge. Sure there are some who do fine despite poor English fluency but they are the minority. We also know that many graduates fail to get a job because they stumble in the interview. This is something we have to correct & soon.
3. I know this will be answered with anger but I believe vernacular schools HAVE TO GO. Their very presence is SEGREGATION & it's impossible to unite young Malaysians from different backgrounds when this segregation starts early. In university, the Chinese mingle with the Chinese, the Indians with the Indians & so forth. Racism is evident in the way we pick our project team mates, the way we chat about issues etc.
It's time to get things straight: get over our ignorance & accept that English is an important tool to succeed out there. We can teach Bahasa Malaysia & mother tongues as an additional language (we already have Bahasa Cina & Bahasa Tamil as SPM subjects), convert vernacular schools to national schools because National Service (PLKN) & tertiary education cannot ensure unity among Malaysian youth, & this is something we need to focus on."
What are the important points to consider when going through this issue?
1. Unity - we have to admit that right now Malaysia is a divided one; even people in my generation who are supposed to have "moved on" from racism are still being discriminatory & delusional about other races. We need to break this segregation & it has to start early so that Malaysian youth will grow up knowing what being a Malaysian REALLY means & to truly BECOME the 1Malaysia concept (which is a BS concept if we're still gonna see each other as Chinese, Indian, Malay etc)
2. Culture - before vernacular schools were introduced, mother tongue languages were taught in schools as a subject. Why can't we use that now? As I've mentioned, vernacular schools is segregation in practice. Even Chinese from Chinese vernacular schools have a chip on their shoulder when they confront Chinese from national schools. Why the huge FUSS about preserving their culture? I understand the whole pride & culture combo but when you risk putting your children through UNNECESSARY challenges in education, it's really not something worth fighting for.
3. Language - let's face it: no one writes financial/legal documents in Mandarin or Tamil or Malay unless you're in China/India/Malaysia. Subjects such as science & math are already so established in English, it would be a fool who would insist different. What would learning these subjects require? UNDERSTANDING. You can only understand what you can read. If you can't read & understand your books (the concepts, the laws, etc), then you learn NOTHING. There's no way that Malay will somehow be the lingua franca of the world; same goes to Mandarin & Tamil. Try to understand that to go forward, you have to know the rules of the game & follow that.
I bet some people will not like what I wrote but that's my opinion on things. If I have children, I rather them be bananas & do well in the future. I welcome comments & criticism.