KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Apdal said he was not aware of the Education Ministry’s statement that the use of English as a medium of instruction in national schools was a violation.
“I never realised that,” he said at the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Organisation (Upko) Malaysia Day forum yesterday.
Shafie said three quarters of the conversations in Parliament, for example, are conducted in English.
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 to clarify if it is a violation to use English as medium of instruction in national schools in the country.
Shafie made the remarks when Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau, who is also the acting president of Upko, raised the issue at the forum.
Madius stressed that the Education Ministry’s statement 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.
Madius said Upko wants some schools in Sabah to be completely English medium schools.
The Education Ministry, in a written parliamentary reply to Batang Sadong MP Nancy Shukri, said 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.