KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has said that he is not aware of the Education Ministry’s comments on the use of English as a medium of instruction at national school was a violation.
“I never realised that,” he said at the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Organisation (Upko) Malaysia Day forum yesterday.
Shafie stated that three quarters of the conversation at parliament, for example, are carried out in the English language. He also mentioned that his granddaughter speaks to him in English.
Similarly, he said that while Bahasa Melayu is the national language of Malaysia, most proceedings in the courts are still conducted in English.
He added that he will ask the minister concerned for clarification if it was a violation to use English as medium of instruction at national schools in the country.
Shafie was replying to Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau, who is also the acting president of Upko, when he raised the the issue at the forum.
Wilfred stressed that the Education Ministry’s reply that it was unlawful to teach in English was a serious statement.
“We cannot allow that to happen. If it is unlawful to study in English, how can our youths compete and attain jobs in the private sector which require them to be proficient in English,” he said.
Wilfred also said that Upko wants some schools in Sabah to be English medium schools.
The Education Ministry, in a written parliamentary reply to Batang Sadong MP, Nancy Shukri, said that it was against the use of English as the medium of instruction in national schools because it violates Article 152(1) of the Federal Constitution, the National Language Act 1963/67 and contravenes the letter and spirit of the Education Act 1996.