KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 ― Education Minister Maszlee Malik today suggested watching Malay films, including those by the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee, as a way for Chinese pupils to pick up and improve their Bahasa Malaysia.
Maszlee said popular Malay films, like P. Ramlee's, with appeal to all races can be used as reference for students to master their command of the national language.
He proposed the country's Chinese schools make the idea part of its BM programme.
“Schools can do viewings of P. Ramlee's films,” Maszlee said when opening the SJKC forum on BM improvement here.
“That's a good way to learn the language,” he added.
Poor BM proficiency among Malaysia’s minorities, particularly the ethnic Chinese, has been a longstanding thorny issue and is often used by Umno and affiliated Malay hardline groups as basis to oppose vernacular education.
The same groups also claimed the community's poor command of the language was a sign of their disloyalty. Chinese-based political parties from both the ruling coalition and the Opposition have dismissed the accusation as baseless and inflammatory.
The newly elected Pakatan Harapan government has made BM a key aspect of its education policies, saying it is crucial for integration.
Maszlee personally promised to improve the standard of the language among minorities.
The minister said today's national forum, organised by his ministry as part of initiatives to improve BM in vernacular schools, can be a crucial platform to provide policy inputs.
“The forum is meant for us to sit together and find solutions, which I am confident we can,” he said.