‘What meaning does your citizenship hold when you can’t even master BM?’

Prof Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seng, a Bahasa Melayu professor says ethnic relations are now at a challenging stage. The challenges are primarily posed by the non-Malay youths who often question Malay traditions and refuse to accept Malay traditions.
IPOH: The deterioration of the level of unity and ethnic relations in Malaysia can be attributed to the country’s multi-stream education system.

Prof Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seng, a Bahasa Melayu professor who is also a Principal Fellow of the Institute of Ethnic Studies in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), said this is because various issues pertaining to the special rights of the Malays, which are enshrined in the Constitution, are being questioned by the youths of other ethnic groups

He said this stemmed from the education system, specifically the availability of multi-stream schools which allow for ethnic segregation at a very young age.

“Ethnic relations are now at a challenging stage. The challenges are primarily posed by the non-Malay youths who often question Malay traditions and refuse to accept Malay traditions as being among the key components of national development.

“The level of ethnic relations in Malaysia is akin to the phrase, ‘Kenal Cina’. What the phrase means is that the relationship is superficial and only at surface-level; this ties back to our education system,” he said while presenting his working paper on Malay traditions and the Constitution on the final day of the Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah Muzakarah 2018 at the Aman Jaya Convention Centre here today.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Principal Fellow of the Institute of Ethnic Studies Prof Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seng (left) listens during a session at the Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah Mahmood Muzakarah 2018 in Ipoh. Pic by MUHAIZAN YAHYA.

He said the act of allowing ethnic segregation at ages as young as five, from pre-school level to primary schools, which have three streams, will make it difficult for students to mingle when they eventually meet at secondary school-level.

“This (poor ethnic relations) must be addressed and it must head towards a single stream education system, as practised in neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

“We have to dismantle the education system so that it becomes a single stream. Anywhere in the world, a single stream education system is used to unite the youths and create a nation with a single identity,” he said.

He said, what is even more disheartening is that, even in a country with a multitude of education systems, there is still a section of society who fail to possess a decent command of Bahasa Melayu despite it being the national language and effectively, the backbone of the nation.

“This is not right. As a citizen who cannot even master one’s own national language, what meaning does your citizenship hold? This is a very serious national matter but it is not raised by politicians for several reasons.

By SHAARANI ISMAIL and MUHAMMAD APENDY ISSAHAK.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2018/02/339580/what-meaning-does-your-citizenship-hold-when-you-cant-even-master-bm

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