It has become the norm as the general election is getting closer, special interest groups have started making demands as if to warn the present government that it would cost them votes if they do not listen and act accordingly. And so you get the establishment of Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) for immigrants in Sabah following political pressure, the lifting of the ban on Hindraf and the inclusion of written commitment on mission schools in the so-called ” National Education Blueprint”.
Then we read of Sarawak State wanting to work out a new (higher) formula for oil royalty from PETRONAS while the Umno-led Sabah has not been that vocal but the opposition parties are telling local voters that the new Coalition government would give a 20% oil royalty to the State from the current 5% if they are voted in.
In short, all are giving this government an implicit warning: give in or be booted out.
So the same with PPSMI. Groups of concerned parents are preparing to march and protest against the abolition of this policy which is seen as contrary to the government’s big talk on transformation. PPSMI or the “Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English” is seen as a tool towards that transformation to make our people more competitive at the global level.
Led by PAGE (Parent Action Group for Education), the push of PPSMI has become more urgent in the run up to the General Election. One of the demands is to let parents have the choice for their children to study under PPSMI and another one is to appoint a professional as the Minister of Education as a precedent has been set in the past.
People morbidly against this present government and are already itching to vote for the Opposition have been commenting on this issue by asking parents to vote against BN (National Front), the coalition in government as they opine that Pakatan Rakyat (PR), the opposition coalition will reintroduce PPSMI! Some parents may emotionally take this carrot and definitely BN is going to lose some votes on this issue.
And yet, had they cared to scrutinise, Pakatan Rakyat led by Anwar Ibrahim, has never expressly stated that they would reinstate PPSMI. This issue is too contentious and PR is not going to expose itself to possible backlash from ultra or conservative Malays bent on the use of national language in the teaching of all school subjects.
Remember the firebrand Anwar Ibrahim when he was in UMNO and ABIM ( Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia ) or Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement , and don’t forget he is a graduate of “Malay Studies”, do you think he would have changed his stripes? I don’t believe so.Whatever this man is doing now is purely for his political expediency.
I am still hopeful that The BN government will do the right thing by giving parents the option of PPSMI for their children because of the glaring advantages for their future in this globalised world.
Surely the current BN leaders appreciate the importance of PPSMI but like those “religious” people who are paranoid and wanting to control even what others should wear and even think, these politicians also unfortunately jump on the bandwagon and feel the need to control how children should be taught ostensibly for national unity and integration. The reasoning for national identity which educated parents don’t buy.