Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Putrajaya can still sabotage Adenan’s English language move

BY DESMOND DAVIDSON

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s decision to make English the second language in the state is popular but Putrajaya can put an end to such a move by invoking the national language policy. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 28, 2015.

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s decision to make English the second language in the state is popular but Putrajaya can put an end to such a move by invoking the national language policy. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 28, 2015.
While many Sarawak folk support the decision of Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem to make English the second language in the state, some have questioned its feasibility given that education is under the purview of the federal government.
Ordinary Sarawak folk and politicians alike have also asked what steps Adenan was taking to implement the decision.
Among the many messages on social media on the Sarawak chief minister’s decision, one Facebook posting by Nyoheu Regem Ferdinand said: “Without changes in the education system, the use of English for inter-governmental communication will not benefit society in any way.
“How will our SMK (secondary school) educated civil servants cope?”
He also described Adenan’s action as “no big deal”.
The view is echoed by Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian.
“It’s good to say English would be the main language of communication, but what are the steps the state government is taking to achieve that.
“It’s no use for us to harp on this point when at the end of the day, we cannot implement it nor can we get it changed,” said the opposition assemblyman.
Other social media users expressed scorn for Malay rights group Perkasa and former minister Tan Sri Rais Yatim over their criticism of Adenan’s decision.
Rozalina Zakaria-Rossel posted on Facebook: “To the ignorant, please go back to school and brush up on your history”, in an apparent reference to Perkasa which reportedly called Adenan’s decision an “insult to the Federal Constitution”.
Another Facebook user, Geronimo Miller, similarly asked Adenan’s critics to brush up on their national history.
“What a shame!!! In case you have very short memory, Sarawak (and Sabah) are equal partners of Malaysia and MA63 (the Malaysia Agreement of 1963) specifically mentioned that English, is an official language shall be used indefinitely there.
“So before you do your homework diligently, just shut up before you guys continue to make a mockery of yourselves. What a pity, myopic morons like you are even allowed to make stupid statements!!!!”
Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian wants to know what concrete steps the state will take to achieve the English as second language policy. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 28, 2015.Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian wants to know what concrete steps the state will take to achieve the English as second language policy. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 28, 2015.He said critics like Rais and Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali could be “dinosaurs that belong to the Stone Age” if they refused to evolve.
Baru, the Ba Kelalan rep, meanwhile, has several suggestions for Adenan to consider to improve the proficiency of English in the civil service and in general.
One was to recruit foreign English teachers, such as volunteers in the teachers’ exchange programme of the 1960s, the Peace Corp.
Baru said Putrajaya, if it was not spiteful towards Sarawak’s English language policy, could arrange for some of the teachers sent to Malaysia under the Fulbright programme to be posted in the state.
He also suggested the re-engagement of retired but “still active” English teachers.
On improving the English proficiency of civil servants in Sarawak, Baru said the state could conduct classes, workshops for those who have a poor command of the language.
He said since Adenan could not expect Putrajaya to fund these, the chief minister could use some of the more than RM20 billion in the state’s financial reserve, the Consolidated Fund, on the initiatives.
“If we wait for the federal government (for funds)... no way, if he (Adenan) fights like this.
“They might want to flex their muscle and teach Sarawak a lesson.”
Reminding Adenan to “walk the talk”, Baru added: “He must take steps if he wants to achieve it.”
The opposition leader also sees other hurdles Putrajaya can put in the way of Adenan’s decision, such as invoking the national language policy and asking federal government agencies in Sarawak not to entertain any correspondence in English.
“All I can suggest is for Adenan to be tough and boot out those heads of department if they show no respect for our laws.
“I hope Sarawakians appreciate the fact that our new chief minister is very brave in that he is willing to openly associate himself with Sarawak rights issues which the opposition has often raised in the past.”
Baru, however, cautioned Adenan that his efforts might incur a backlash from Putrajaya, reminding him of the fate of former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan and his Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) government, which fell through a series of political manoeuvring which led Umno coming to the state and the issuing of MyKad to illegal immigrants. – November 28, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/putrajaya-can-still-sabotage-sarawaks-english-language-move#sthash.jWKGk7wD.dpuf

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