Foot in the Mouth Disease: The Chronic Case of Nazri Aziz

31 12 2009
Sin Chew Daily sought the opinion of and exploited the statements made by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz on 29 December 2009 that he “is against the proposal for single stream school system as ‘we cannot force other (non-Malay) races to sacrifice their characteristics and become Malays (Malaynised)‘”.

We must make it clear to all parties concerned, including the Minister, that the Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua (SSS) or single-stream school system that we propose does not call for, or has any element of forcing other races “to sacrifice their characteristics and become Malays or Malaynised”.

We are surprised that the Minister chose to state his position of being against the single-stream school system when the Minister of Education-cum-Deputy Prime Minister has not announced the Government’s stand on the matter. In fact, we are astounded that the Minister chose to use words like “force” or “sacrifice their (non-Malays’) characteristics” or “become Malays“. We seriously wonder what he was thinking – if he was thinking – when he said those.  The seriousness becomes acute considering that the Minister is a lawyer.

We also wonder if the Minister had read sufficiently about the single-stream school system, the rationale for proposing such a system, the relationship of the system with Article 152 of the Constitution on the position of Bahasa Malaysia as the National Language. Or, if he has read the details of the SSS Proposal. These are all given in simple language in our FAQs Sheet in this Kempen SSS blog.

SSS is about the use of Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction in schools, in line with Article 152. We believe those who raised the matter and discussed it in Parliament some time back are thinking along the same line as we do.
The vernacular schools should use BM as the medium of instruction. Such schools can continue to exist physically but have BM as the medium of instruction and the same curriculum and syllabus as the national schools. Mandarin and Tamil can be taught in all such schools as “elective subjects” and such schools can be absorbed into the national schools system. It’s utterly irresponsible to talk about “forcing others to give up their own languages.

The objective of single-stream schooling or SSS is to bring about a sense of togetherness, common identity, hopes and aspirations, beginning from the very young. These are extremely important for fostering unity, a sense of belonging, loyalty and patriotism among Malaysians, beginning with children at their formative ages.

The Sin Chew report says that Nazri said the government cannot compel all the races to learn only Bahasa Malaysia, forcing the non-Malays to give up their own languages. This is a totally skewed perception of the single-stream or SSS system. If the words used are not exactly those of the Minister, then it would have been a mischievous and irresponsible reporting and news publication.  Nobody asks – and it is inconceivable that anybody does – ask the Government to “compel all races to learn only BM and forcing the non-Malays to give up their own languages.”