To Improve The Standard Of English in Sarawak, The BN Govt Should ………

For illustration only. Private English lessons are costly and priced out of the range of many parents in Sarawak. The DAP wants the State government to do more for the benefit of the people.

By CHONG CHIENG JEN
COMMENT: For Michael Manyin to claim that we in DAP have no suggestion on how to improve the standard of English amongst the young in Sarawak, he must have been sleeping in the State Assembly (DUN) Sarawak in the past two years when I was debating.

We DAP Sarawak have constructive and workable suggestions on how to improve the standard of English amongst our students. The sad fact is that the BN Government has consistently turned a deaf ear to our suggestions.

To reply to Michael, I do not mind repeating DAP Sarawak’s suggestions on how to improve the standard of English which I have mentioned at the DUN several times.

Our Suggestions:

• To improve the standard of English, there is no other way except to revive the English school system in Sarawak. DAP Sarawak has proposed that the State Government allocate funds to set up private schools or to revive the English medium mission schools system.

CHONG CHIENG JEN

• At present, there are only a handful private schools where English is the medium of instruction. As private schools, students have to pay school fees which are not affordable to many low income group.

• If the government were to allocate funds to set up English private schools with no fees payable by the students, that will provide more opportunities to our Sarawakian children to receive English education, especially the lower income families.

• I have also suggested that such English schools be not confined only to the urban region but also suburban and rural areas.

Michael’s claims that education policies are federal matter and that his ministry is only there to complement the federal MoE and thus has no power to formulate policies. This is just another lame excuse by him to run away from his responsibility.

If we can have private sector funding private schools with English as the medium of instruction, why can’t the State government fund more of such private schools?

Furthermore, if the State MOE cannot even formulate a policy on education, then it is actually a department of the Federal MoE, disguised as a State Ministry to give the State BN a “syiok sendiri” feeling.

On Michael’s statement that “if I do not agree with his policy, I should just keep quiet”, my response is “that we DAP is not SUPP”. For SUPP, whatever PBB decides, SUPP will go along even if it does not agree with the PBB decision.

For the DAP, if the policy of the Government is not workable or detrimental to the people, we will raise objections. For the State Government, with billions of reserve funds and a new Ministry of Education set up, to come up with such a ridiculous policy (which even Michael’s own colleague, Abdul Karim, disagrees), it is doing a disservice to our younger generation.

Therefore, it is our duty to voice out and not sit back and keep quiet like those in SUPP or other component parties in BN.

If Michael is minded to do good in education for our future generation, he should implement the revival of the English medium schools or at least get the State Government to fund some private schools teaching in English so that these schools can provide free English education to the students.

As for Pakatan Harapan, it is our policy that if PH captures PUTRAJAYA, then autonomy in education will be given to Sarawak and that our new education policy will be the setting up of English schools to offer to parents a choice to have their children educated either in Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin or English language.

For now, we welcome the BN Sarawak government to adopt our proposed policy of having “Fully Government Funded English schools in Sarawak”.

Even if BN Sarawak is not willing to adopt our suggestion, we are confident that Sarawakians do not need to wait long for such English schools to be set up in Sarawak because the 14th General Elections is near and the likelihood of PH capturing PUTRAJAYA is high.

Chong Chieng Jen is DAP Sarawak Chairman, National Pakatan Harapan Vice President and MP for Bandar Kuching/ADUN for Kota Sentosa