KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem has termed the education policy some 30 years ago as “stupid”.
He opined that it was unintelligent to neglect the English Language and over emphasise Bahasa Malaysia.
Instead, he said “we should have emphasised both English and Bahasa Malaysia.”
“Back then, it was decided that correspondence with the government if not in Bahasa Malaysia would not be entertained. How could you have a policy like that?
“That is why so many graduates these days could not get a job because they cannot speak proper English,” he said when closing a seminar on the history of Sarawak entitled ‘A Journey To Merdeka: Sarawak in Malaysia’ here yesterday.
Citing Singapore as an example, Adenan said the main language there is English while importance is equally given to Mandarin and the Malay language.
“We have to do international trade, and all contracts will be in English. Let’s be practical, and that’s why I say Sarawak must promote English together with Bahasa (Malaysia) at the same time.”
He doubted if Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) could translate all the scientific papers and articles produced on a daily basis, pointing out that hundreds and thousands of books on science and mathematics are in English.
“Are we going to translate all of them? Why do we have to do it twice when you can do it once?”
He said industrialisation and rural development would be the key focus to move Sarawak forward.
He appealed to young Sarawakians to opt for technical education, given that industrialisation would create more technical jobs.
The on-going industrial development in Samalaju and Bintulu would create not just more technical jobs but also attract foreign investments, he added.
“We provide cheap electricity because of Murum and Bakun dams. When we attract foreign investments, technical skills will be required.”
He mentioned that 80 per cent of students at a technical school in Mukah secured jobs even before they completed their studies.
“They do not need to look for jobs,” he said, adding that there is always demand for skilled workers. – Borneo Post