KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — Malaysians, especially the Malays, need to take up Mandarin as it has become an important language since China is now a world economic superpower, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Najib said learning another language would also enable a person to know better other individuals from different backgrounds, thus enabling them to respect each other more.
“Only when we respect and honour one another, we will become truly Malaysian,” he said at the Chong Hwa Independent High School’s 90th anniversary grand dinner here.
He said by learning Mandarin, the other races — especially the Malays — would be able to understand the Chinese better.
“It may be too late for me to learn Mandarin, but I hope to see more Malays learn the language in the future.
“My youngest son, Norashman Razak, who is currently studying at Georgetown University in the United States, is also taking Mandarin classes,” he said, adding that he was told his son would only be able to speak Mandarin fluently in four years’ time
“Maybe one day, I may invite him to give a speech in Mandarin.”
On Chinese independent schools in the country, Najib said the provisions in the Education Act 1996, formulated when he was education minister, guarantee the existence and growth of Chinese schools in the country.
Therefore, the community needed not worry, he added.
He said the government’s liberal policy towards education since independence was the main factor for the growth of Chinese independent schools, with Malaysia being the country in the region with the most number of Chinese schools and many of its people having a Chinese education.
“The existence and growth of schools using the students’ mother tongue as the medium of instruction is also the country’s strength and diversity.
“This shows that the Barian Nasional-led government is always liberal in weighing its policies; that outside China, Malaysia had the biggest number of Chinese-educated citizens.”
He said although the issue of whether Malaysia should have single or multi-stream education system was always debated, he believed the multi-stream was good in creating a society in diversity, where diversity was a strength and asset for the country.
Commending the success of Chong Hwa Independent School, Najib said the fact that Chinese parents were sending their children to the school showed that the community was committed and put high priority on education.
He said to date, there were 60 Chinese independent schools in the country.
Also present at the dinner were MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, treasurer-general Tan Sri Tee Hock Seng, vice-president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, party Youth chief Datuk Wee Ka Siong and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon, who is also Gerakan president. — Bernama
Sripekan...besides english,mandarin should have been taught in school long long time ago...