Yesterday’s demonstration is the latest onslaught by the group trying to force the Government to reverse the policy on teaching of maths and science in English in Malaysian schools – famously known as Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Matematik dan Sains dalam Bahasa Inggeris or PPSMI for short.
I am still puzzled on the current intensity of the protest which I think is six years too late. This kind of protest should have been done six or seven years ago when the policy was about to be implemented. If the protesters are really sincere they should have been demonstrating then not now after something like RM1.2billion have been spent and a cohort of thousands of students have gone through the system. And now when the MoE’s fraternity is getting comfortable and beginning to be at ease with the system, they protest vehemently and violently. Why did not they marched to the Istana Negara then, why did not they formed Gerakan Mansuhkan PPSMI (GMP) then?. Were they so scared of of the Mahathir’s regime, they were willing to sacrifice the future of a few thousands students? Where is the true spirit of “perjuangan”? People who are sincere in their struggle would not mind being gaoled under the ISA or being banished to Timbucktoo! They would be remembered as heroes. I got this feeling that they were actually not sure of the effect of the policy and they are willing to wait and see. I remember reading sporadic protests posted by Prof Sharil (one of the few people who have been consistent in their stand over the years). But they were no attempt to demonstrate or march to the Istana Negara, they were no concerted effort of protestations.
Actually the Government is caught between a rock and a hard place as a result of an ill thought policy formulated before they came to power. Should they decide to reverse the policy, that would strengthen their image as a flip flop Government. Conversely, should they decide to continue, they would be accused of not listening to the rakyat. And the oppositions really love this situation. Either way they can capitalise for their political mileage. Strangely enough, the Prime Minster was quoted in the papers today urging the Ministry of Education to make a quick decision.It gave the impression that the MoE has the power to to make the decision. Which it has not. It was the former Prime Minister who forced the policy through via a cabinet directive and I believe it should be the current Prime Minister who should decide the PPSMI fate, via the cabinet as well. The MoE can only propose possible solutions. It is the cabinet that should make the decision. It is heartening to see the Government has been very open about this and several rounds of round table discussions have been made with the various stakeholders. I wish the same was done before the policy was implemented six years ago.