KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 ― A federal minister from Sabah has backed a colleague's proposal to re-establish English-medium government schools in the state.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau also suggested the federal government run pilot projects by making English the main medium in existing schools.
“I support the proposal. If the proposal is brought to the Cabinet level, I will definitely support it as well,” Madius was quoted as saying by the Borneo Post.
The idea was previously proposed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who is the MP for Kota Belud.
Citing Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) as an example, Madius said the university's move to make English the medium of instruction has raised the confidence of its students.
The ability of UTP students to execute industrial work overseas in countries such as Japan and United States proved the policy's effectiveness, he added.
Madius noted that China has also embraced English to adapt to the internationalisation of its industry.
“What’s important to me is that the proposal (re-establish English-medium government schools) will boost the students’ confidence, especially in gaining knowledge,” he said.
Abdul Rahman proposed to reinstate English-medium government schools in Sabah shortly after the Sarawak government, as part of its election pledge, moved to do the same.
The minister said the re-establishment of English-medium government schools in Sabah was seen as a proactive measure to produce more human capital.
“Mastery of English is one way for (human capital) to be more productive and competitive. By mastering the language, Sabah will be able to speed up pursuit of reducing the development gap between the state and those states in the peninsular,” he said.