Caught between a rock and a hard place

I just watched Isu Khas on TV1 featuring a forum mediated by Dahlan Maamor. The panel members were Dr. Haili Dolhan, Dr. Zainal Kling, and Hj Fauzi Halim. I have not seen such a programme recently, especially on TV1, which to my knowledge had always been very restrictive and very ‘skema’ as my son called it. I was pleasantly surprised to see a lively discussion between the panel members and the audience. The three representatives from the audience all disagreed with the abolishing of the PPSMI, even one of the callers was against it as well. I pity Dr. Haili because he was hard pressed to defend the decision especially when one of the audience came out with press cuttings that cited the former Education Minister praising the success of PPSMI in raising the standard of English in schools, only eight months ago! Dr. Haili tried hard to explain, but I can sense his uneasiness. He was really caught between a rock and a hard place. He had to explain why last year the Education Ministry was praising the PPSMI as a good initiative in raising the standard of English especially in rural areas, then less than a year later, the same Ministry is saying the initiative is not that good after all. It is not easy to explain the about turn, especially when the audience came well prepared. One of the audience raised the point that most of the polls run by the press and bloggers (Che Det included) showed that 86% of the pollsters disagreed with the abolishing of the PPSMI. Unfortunately none of the panel members managed to or given the chance to properly answer that point. Quoting Justice NH Chan, most of the answers were “obiter dicta” – incidental, not direct to the point. That aside, I am quite pleased that RTM now is more open, maybe I should watch them more often than the overly condescending keliwon TV3.

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