November 12th, 2014

Kuatkuasakan dasar asimilasi

KEDUDUKAN bahasa sebagai perantara komunikasi ma­­nusia adalah terpenting. Setiap kaum dan juga negara perlu mempunyai bahasa tertentu sebagai pengantara komunikasi. Malaysia juga memiliki bahasa kebangsaan yakni boleh diertikan dengan lebih mudah sebagai ‘bahasa negara’.

Oleh kerana secara aturan sejarah tanah air bersama juga kekuatan dan kekuasaan politik serta kedudukan majoriti maka bahasa Melayu menjadi bahasa negara yang digagaskan dengan tegas dalam perundangan seperti peruntukan yang hakiki dicatat menerusi Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Ini tercatat atas perkiraan janji yang dibuat semasa pergabungan azam antara tiga kaum utama negara ini bagi menuntut kemerdekaan.

Perjanjian yang disebut sebagai kontrak sosial atau juga pakatan murni ini, maka nilai bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa utama dimeterai sebagai terpenting dan dimasukkan dalam Perlembagaan di bawah Perkara 152.

Dengan jelas Perkara 152 menyebutkan bahawa bahasa kebangsaan ialah bahasa Melayu dan hendaklah ditulis dalam apa-apa tulisan sebagaimana yang diperuntukkan dengan undang-undang oleh Parlimen.

Maka sekaligus kedudukan bahasa Melayu menjadi bahasa perlembagaan yakni bahasa yang dilindungi secara undang-undang. Harus juga dipertahan dan diperkembangkan.

Bahkan dengan peruntukan sebegini maka ia secara langsung menjadi bahasa berdarjat tinggi di negara ini. Ia adalah bahasa yang didahului dari segala bahasa yang ada dalam negara.

Maka seharusnya semua pihak bukan sahaja perlu memahami bahawa memartabatkan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa bersifat kaum atau bangsa tetapi ia adalah bahasa negara dan bahasa yang dikanunkan taraf kedudukannya bahkan ia juga menjadi bahasa yang dilindungi secara khusus oleh undang-undang negara.

Inilah bezanya kedudukan bahasa Melayu dalam aspek jati diri negara berbanding bahasa lainnya termasuk bahasa Inggeris.

Untuk itu kupasan kajian yang diketuai oleh Prof. Dr. Teo Kok Seong yang juga merupakan pengkaji di Institut Alam dan Tamadun Melayu dengan kajiannya yang meliputi seramai 14,000 responden yang terdiri dari kalangan pelatih Program Latihan Khidmat Negara (PLKN) di 79 buah kem di seluruh negara, dengan hasil kajian menunjukkan 604 peserta dari kaum Cina dan India yang tentunya adalah dari kalangan belia tidak memahami bahasa Melayu dalam komunikasi mereka tidak boleh dipandang sepi.

Secara nyata ia menunjukkan dengan jelas betapa usaha yang tegas perlu dilakukan negara bagi memantapkan elemen kebangsaan kepada warganegara kita.

Bahkan hasil kajian ini dengan secara tersiratnya menunjukkan kepincangan telah berlaku hasil dari pentadbiran dan dasar sedia ada. Pastinya jika sudah dikenalpasti wujudnya masalah maka pembetulan perlu dilakukan.

Kerajaan tidak harus membiarkan masalah keciciran penguasaan bahasa Melayu dalam kalangan rakyat negara ini berlaku. Faktor penyumbang kepada berlakunya keciciran ini perlu dikenalpasti agar pembetulan dapat dijalankan.

Kewujudan sekolah berasaskan kaum Cina dan India dengan mengutamakan bahasa ibunda mereka dalam pengajaran subjek di kelas adalah dilihat sebagai ancaman kepada pengukuhan bahasa Melayu yang juga bahasa kebangsaan untuk dipupuk seawal usia kanak-kanak dalam agenda penyatuan nasional.

Masalah politik perkauman diamalkan oleh parti-parti politik kaum Cina dan India termasuk juga dalam komponen parti pemerintah telah membawa kepada pengukuhan dasar pecah dan perintah berasaskan kaum di sektor pendidikan negara hinggakan berlakunya keciciran dalam kalangan remaja dan belia kaum cina termasuk India dalam menguasai bahasa Melayu secara fasih termasuk pandai membaca dan berkomunikasi dengan kefahaman minda yang jelas akan maklumat yang disampaikan dalam bahasa Melayu.

Politik kaum dalam soal pendidikan sekolah hingga boleh membinasakan teras utama membina bangsa Malaysia harus dihentikan. Inilah sebab agaknya Thailand, Indonesia dan juga Singapura langsung tidak sama sekali percaya akan konsep integrasi tetapi lebih kuat mengamalkan konsep asimilasi kenegaraan kepada semua warga negara mereka kerana percaya bahawa jika elemen teras negara dapat dikecualikan dari pengamalan di sesetengah tempat dan keadaan, maka ia akan menjadi punca kepada perpecahan masyarakat di masa hadapan.

Tidak terlewat bagi kerajaan untuk bertindak meMalaysiakan semua sekolah dan diserapkan dengan nilai teras negara seperti yang terpupuk dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Jika ini masih terabai, maka akan wujud seolah-olah autonomi kepada kaum-kaum tertentu dengan penguasaan di wilayah tertentu yang tidak memerlukan penguasaan bahasa Melayu secara total dalam kehidupan.

Lihat sahaja bandar raya besar seperti di Pulau Pinang umpamanya, mungkin di sesetengah kawasan bandarnya langsung bahasa Melayu tidak perlu dituturkan kerana kawasan kediaman dan juga kawasan komersial ditambah nilai pula dengan kewujudan sekolah yang langsung tidak memerlukan seseorang itu perlu berbahasa Melayu untuk berinteraksi dalam kehidupan.

Penulis percaya ada kawasan di negara ini yang dikuasai sepenuhnya oleh bukan penutur bahasa Melayu yang sekaligus menyebabkan generasi mereka juga tidak memerlukan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa komunikasi dalam hidup seharian.

Akhirnya Malaysia akan berakhir dengan perpecahan disebabkan oleh dasar integrasi yang tidak berjaya mengintegrasi sistem sekolah yang berjaya memperkukuhkan bahasa negara iaitu bahasa Melayu dalam sistem pengajaran dan pembelajaran secara berkesan.

Berkembang biaknya kumpulan kaum yang berminda sempit memikirkan soal bahasa ibunda masing-masing tanpa langsung memikirkan soal kedudukan dan hak serta status bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa yang dikanunkan haknya dalam Perlembagaan akan menyebabkan pula berlakunya sosialisasi yang pincang.

Menebalnya perkauman akibat salah faham akan maklumat kerana tidak faham bahasa Melayu yang juga bahasa kepimpinan dan bahasa komunikasi arus perdana negara akan menjadikan sukar maklumat disampaikan.

Maka penyelewengan fakta akan berlaku. Mudahlah anasir subversif politik masuk dan meracuni kaum yang tidak faham bahasa Melayu itu.

Dapatan kajian oleh para ahli akademik tidak harus dipandang sepi. Kerajaan perlu bertindak melakukan pembetulan dan tindakan sebelum wujudnya lebih ramai generasi yang gagal menguasai elemen teras negara terutamanya dalam soal kefasihan berbahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa negara.

MD. SHUKRI SHUIB ialah Pensyarah Kanan Kajian Politik dan Antarabangsa Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) . - Utusan Malaysia Rencana 12 November 2014 2:15 AM

Work is a happy word

"JOURNALISTS have the best job in the world. You get paid to cause trouble. That's cool," says  Jim VandeHei of POLITICO, which has been hailed for its coverage of national politics and Washington governance.

His remark was met by a ripple of laughter from the Edward R. Murrow international journalists gathered at the U.S. State Department, where we were having a discussion with a three-man panel consisting VandeHei, New York Times' Sheryl Stolberg and retired ABC News broadcast journalist Ann Compton.

It was an absorbing session, with journalists from all over the world voicing their frustrations about the challenges they experienced in their own country or asking questions about the way the American press system worked.

Being the Twitter and Instagram age, a good amount of time was spent discussing how social media has drastically changed the way people consume and share news.

Personally, one of my biggest takeaways from that session and the many other sessions since, is the incredible passion these people have for journalism.

VandeHei's remark closely echoes that of veteran American journalist Bob Woodward, currently associate editor of The Washington Post.

"Journalists have the best job in the world. We get into people's lives when they're interesting and get the hell out when they're not," says Woodward, who together with colleague Carl Bernstein, broke the Watergate story that brought down President Richard Nixon's administration in the '70s.

We had also met up with The Washington Post's Walter Pincus, who at 82 years old (yes, my jaw dropped too), is still going strong as a journalist covering issues of national security.

Listening to him speak about journalism, I too felt this welling sense of pride in my job, a feeling that had numbed into the background during the day to day grind.

As the programme wore on, we travelled to Phoenix, Arizona, where we observed the mid-term elections and attended both Democrat and Republican election night parties, and then to Pensacola, Florida where we spoke to many locals as well as the local authorities.

I have another week left in New York, where my group (Australia, China, Indonesia and Malaysia) will meet up with the other groups after we parted in D.C. for the final leg.

It's been such a pleasure to learn so much more about my trade during this programme, knowing that as we received knowledge, we also provided knowledge to those we spoke to.

Getting a chance to talk to foreign journalists, exchange notes and ideas, discuss press, politics and social issues in our country - these all contributed to the realisation that I, too, really love my job.

During the course of my work, I've gotten to meet all sorts of Malaysians, who have in their own special way, contributed to my perspective and knowledge of my country.

Whether it was conversing with a village chief in a rural constituency during the general election last year, travelling with NGOs to cover massive environmental devastation, or interviewing a CEO about his business plans going forward, I've learned something new every single day since I took up this job four years ago.

But it's something I never really thought about until this trip.

That's why I wrote about it in this column, because I believe we all need to be reminded every so often of the reasons why we do what we do.

So regardless of whatever job you're in, we all need a little motivation and inspiration to straighten those tired shoulders and remember again just why we are the luckiest people in the world.

As usual, a quote to end this piece, so in the immortal words of Confucius, "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life." ISABELLE LAI The STAR Home News Opinion 10 Nov 2014

Good grades alone aren’t enough

A total of 455,839 students are sitting for the SPM this year in 3,655 examination centres across the country.

The examination will end on Dec 4.

These Form Five secondary school students have started their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations beginning this week till the first week of December.

There are no surveys to show that As students lead successful lives.



Major test: Students from Kolej Sultan Abdul Hamid sitting for an SPM paper at the school hall in Alor Setar, Kedah last week.

The SPM examination is a major national examination for secondary school students and the teens are under immense pressure before and during the duration of the examination.The outcome of the SPM examinations paves the way for college and tertiary admissions.

Students who perform well are offered scholarships and grants to pursue disciplines in prestigious foreign institutions.

They are under tremendous pressure from their parents and teachers to score a string of As in their SPM examinations.

So this leads us to the inevitable question: does scoring As in SPM examination lead to success in life?

Many are under the impression that As in the SPM would open the door to a successful and lucrative career path.

Is the SPM examination a good reliable yardstick to measure and assess the intelligence and potential of a student?

Success is a subjective word and there are many doors to achieving success.

To some the SPM is a pathway to better things in life.

To others there are many routes to attaining success.

Those who score a string of As in the SPM examinations comprise only a small number.

The vast majority of students score mediocre results in the SPM examinations.

Some of these students go on to college and technical institutes to learn some technical and vocational skills.

Others join the workforce or venture into business and become successful through hard work, perseverance and self belief.

Getting all As in the SPM examination is not the pre-requisite for a successful career.

Not all who get As in the SPM examintion have become successful.

There are no surveys to show that As students lead successful lives. And there are those who did not do well in the SPM examinations who have realised their dreams.

The SPM examination is not a good indicator to gauge the intelligence of a student because the examination focuses mainly on rote learning and memorisation rather than on critical and creative thinking and learning.

Each of us has to discover and find the route to reap success.

Your future is in your hands. Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

No matter what your results are in the SPM, remember it is not the end of the world. The sun will still rise tomorrow morning. Life goes on!

They are many who did not do well in the SPM examinations but have done well in life.

Some who did not even complete their education have achieved success and prosperity.

Academic intelligence alone does not guarantee success.

Creativity, good communicative skills, talent, passion, hard work, perseverance and a positive attitude are the pre-requisites of success in life.

Quality education, the focus

An effective learning and teaching system goes beyond academic achievements alone.

“The quality of education far outweighs the quantity of schooling. Within this thrust is strongly embedded the competence to communicate in multiple languages and to be internationally relevant and functional.”


Learning materials: Raja Nazhatul Shima with Yap (right) viewing the items available at the booths set up by various exhibitors at the conference.

THE 12th Asia TEFL (Teaching of English as a Foreign Language) International Conference and 23rd Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta) International Conference focused on a theme which resonates with Malaysia’s efforts to embark on policies and strategies of transforming the national education system in line with global trends and demands.

In her speech, Raja Puan Mahkota Perak Raja Nazhatul Shima Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah said the theme of Developing Sustainable Quality in English Language Education: Evolving Policies, Innovating Practices, Transforming Learning, was particularly appropriate and “set a forward-looking tone to the conference”.

“When nations speak about their education systems today, they are no longer only concerned about attaining high standards but also about sustaining a progressively high quality of education so that their destiny can be secured,” she said.

Among developing countries, she said, effective education systems often went beyond academic achievements to focus on producing skills, encouraging group participation and promoting decisive thinking.

“The quality of education far outweighs the quantity of schooling. Within this thrust is strongly embedded the competence to communicate in multiple languages and to be internationally relevant and functional.”

Over 1,000 participants from 38 countries attended the three-day conference at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching. - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / THE STAR
Over 1,000 participants from 38 countries attended the conference.

Raja Nazhatul Shima was representing her sister Raja Zarith Sofiah, the consort of the Sultan of Johor and Melta’s royal patron, to open the conference at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching last week.

She also said the quality of teachers and teaching was the key to delivering quality education, which in turn would have a tangible impact on the economy and quality of life.

“There is research literature which indicate that teacher quality bears a significant and direct correlation to key economic and social indicators such as higher earnings, better learning outcomes, low teen pregnancy and female empowerment.

“Such research findings confirm the role teachers play in improving learning outcomes, raising the overall strength and quality of human capital, and ultimately driving long-term social and economic growth,” added Raja Nazhatul Shima.

She hoped that the ideas shared at the conference would have a sustainable impact on the participants’ teaching and professional development.

The three-day conference was attended by more than 1,000 delegates from 38 countries.

Conference delegates mingling at the exhibition area to look at poster presentations. - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / THE STAR
Delegates viewing the items at the booth.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap who gave a keynote speech on “The Challenge of Sustainable Transformations in Quality English language Education: The Malaysian Experience’, said the conference was an excellent platform for English language practitioners, be they teachers in primary or secondary schools or university lecturers, to share knowledge and network with one another.

Melta president Assoc Prof Dr Ganakumaran Subramaniam said the organisation worked hard to support the development of English language teaching (ELT) in Malaysia.

He said Melta’s 56-year history bore testimony to its relentless efforts to promote high quality English language education.

“We are pleased that by organising the Asia TEFL conference, we can also share this commitment with Asia and the world. Even though this year we are sharing the conference platform with Asia TEFL, we will continue to undertake our commitment to the Malaysian ELT community,” he said.

Dr Ganakumaran also said there was a significant increase in the number of collaborations between Melta and key ELT organisations in Asia.

Its partners who were present at the conference included the Korea Association of Teachers of English, Teaching of English as a Foreign Language Association Indonesia, Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association, Japan Association of Language Teachers and Brunei Association of Language Teachers.

Melta also entered into an MoU with the Malaysian Teacher Education Institute International Languages Campus during the conference.

At the event, Star Publications (M) Bhd was honoured by Melta for its contributions towards the advancement of English in the country.

The company received the Raja Zarith Sofiah Award for Corporate Social Responsibility in English Language Education in recognition of its long-term and sustained efforts to support English language development. The Star acting group chief editor Leanne Goh received the award.

“We are honoured to be recognised by Melta for our CSR efforts in promoting English among our readers, and in schools and the country. It is one of our core areas of outreach work as we believe that knowing the language opens the door to many opportunities,” she said.