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Datuk Wan Ramli Wan Daud speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur February 6, 2020. 

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6 — A coalition of education NGOs and several national laureates have urged Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to reverse his proposal to revert back to teaching Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI).

The Movement to Abolish PPSMI said it would be better for the Ministry of Education to focus on improving the teaching of the English language in schools, as opposed to using it to teach those subjects.

“There is sufficient evidence indicating the failure of the policy to teach Science and Maths in English, when it was first implemented from 2003 to 2012,” said the movement’s chairman Prof Datuk Wan Ramli Wan Daud during a press conference at the Islamic Youth Movement Malaysia’s (ABIM) headquarters here

He cited the country’s performance in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

“Malaysian students were above the global average for TIMSS from 1999 to 2003, but subsequently dropped by nearly 100 points below that in 2007, 2011, and 2015.

“Our ranking in 2015 increased slightly, after English for Science and Maths was abolished in 2012,” he said.

Similarly Wan Ramli said Malaysia’s PISA standing in 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 was still below the global average, despite the government choosing Dual-Language Programme (DLP) students to sit for the assessment’s tests.

“Our students are far behind when compared to countries such as Vietnam, who learn Science and Maths in Vietnamese and whose standing is much higher.

“So it is puzzling why Dr Mahathir seeks to repeat a policy which has affected nearly three million students and cost over RM3 billion to carry out, without producing any tangible benefits,” he said.

He also stressed that the coalition is not opposed to the English language in itself.

“Many educators advised the government in the past to review how English is being taught in schools, since as it stands there are considerable weaknesses on how its taught.

“For example, back in 2012 Malaysia used a European-based standard to teach English, but which was originally meant to teach students in Spain, and as such was imported wholesale for our pupils.

“This meant our students were using a a system not calibrated to the local context, and which was carried out without first properly studying its impact. Hence why the current teaching of English in schools is so problematic, yet alone using it for Science and Maths,” he said.

Tamil Foundation vice-president Subramaniam Ramasamy concurred with Wan Ramli’s views, stating this has been his organisation’s stance ever since PPSMI was first mooted in 2002.

“When they carried it out in 2003, it was so sudden. No trial period or sufficient number of teachers to see it through.

“It proved to be immensely difficult to switch from the vernacular medium of instruction like Tamil to English, the schools simply were not equipped to do so. The ministry might as well boost our English subject skills than pursue PPSMI,” he said.

Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia secretary-general Stanley Yong said a portion of the Chinese community have expressed concern that PPSMI would lead to the loss of the pupils’ mother tongue.

“Quite a number of people in the Chinese vernacular schools are of the view that teaching Science and Maths in the pupils’ mother tongue as it is the only way to let them understand the subjects better.

“The results are there, especially for primary schools. Though PPSMI has good intentions, as it stands we cannot do so without negatively impacting future students since we do not have the properly trained teachers to do so,” he said.

Abim president Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said that ultimately the prime minister should not have made the decision himself.

“It is no longer like the old days of how the government knows best, making decisions without first seeking a consensus.

“Tun Dr Mahathir ought to know better that it is not a one-man show. They should have focused on other more pressing issues to the rakyat than on this,”

The policy was first implemented in stages in 2003 despite strong resistance from educational, cultural and intellectual figures at the time. It was one of the last decisions by Dr Mahathir during his first tenure as prime minister, shortly before leaving office that year.

It was eventually implemented in full by 2007, but five years later was reversed by then-education miinister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who introduced its replacement policy of upholding Bahasa Malaysia and strengthening the English language.

Earlier today Dr Mahathir, who is acting education minister, said the Cabinet has not yet made a concrete decision on implementing PPSMI, with a committee being set up to study its impact- The Malay Mail Online. 

"Maqasid Quraniyya on Ethics of Disagreement: Challenges and Way Forward for Malaysia" oleh:- Dr. Zainab Al Wani Ahli Lembaga Pengarah Karamah Institute Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, Washington DC, Amerika Syarikat.


Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) is against Negeri Sembilan’s proposal to compel couples to divorce in civil court first if one spouse wants to convert to Islam. ABIM oppose the said suggestion and instead repeat our stand that the Syariah Court should open its doors to non-Muslim couples to be heard and tried.

The requirement for both parties to be Muslim (before going to shariah court) in the state enactment should be amended first. This is so that Syariah Courts, especially those in Negeri Sembilan, can open their doors to non-Muslims in situations where their rights overlap with their Muslim spouse. Besides, this will allow Islamic laws, that take into account the rights and principle of justice for non-Muslims, to be used when such cases come up before the Syariah Court.

ABIM viewed that the suggestion to make it mandatory for converts to first end their marriage with their non-Muslim spouse at the civil courts, would be an "obstacle to the individual to embrace Islam immediately". By referring to many lengthy divorce processes, apart from alimony and the custody of the children, had many "disputed" cases which can prolong for years. Having said so, the would be convert will be 'forced' to disregard his plans for years just to settle the divorce case first.

Furthermore, it will get complicated when the spouse who wish not to convert is against the divorce. We are worried that this will be taken into account by the Civil Court judge on the principle of the civil divorce, whereby a change in religion would not necessarily be grounds for divorce. If this happens, will the person who wish to embrace Islam be prevented to convert according to the state law, which, clearly goes against freedom of religion as enshrined in the federal constitution?

ABIM also viewed the suggestion by Negeri Sembilan as subjudice as the current case involving a muallaf in the state, namely Deepa Subramaniam vs Izwan Abdullah, was still being heard at the Federal Court. ABIM at the same time, welcomed efforts by all parties in seeking a resolution to the issue and clarify any inter-religious issues arising in society. However, any effort and suggestion must be implemented based on expert advice covering all fields specifically in religion and law.

Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz, Secretary General, Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM)

Humanitarian Law and War Conventions “Even Wars have Limits” , declares the International Committee of the Red Cross ICRC or The Red Crescent Society. ICRC vigorously campaigns to position humanitarian law in the context of the modern-day warfare. So often are these Geneva Conventions, which are central to international humanitarian law, are cited as the most important instruments to defend human dignity in war.

ABIM : http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/

Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia, or Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM), was formed on 6 August 1971 by the Faculty of Islamic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia). It held its first Muktamar (annual general meeting) in 1972. The movement was initially characterized by efforts to coordinate intensify Muslim youth activism, and its outreach focused primarily on educational activities. In the 1980s, ABIM began developing several vehicles for both missionary and economic outreach, including primary and secondary schools. Overseas activism became a feature of ABIM’s outreach in the 1990s as the organization involved itself in mission and humanitarian work in countries such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Several former leaders of ABIM are now prominent politicians in Malaysia, including former Deputy Prime Minister and current Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader Anwar Ibrahim, and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia’s (PAS) president Abdul Hadi Awang. As a youth organization that was established in the early 1970s at the height of the global Islamic resurgence, ABIM was very much a product of its time.

Against the backdrop of a staunchly secular government and an increasingly nationalist Islamist opposition political party (PAS), ABIM sought to fill a gap by providing an avenue for the expression of Islamic ideals among Malaysia’s Muslim majority community. ABIM managed to enhance its religious legitimacy and gain international recognition by maintaining excellent relations with Islamic countries of both Sunni and Shiʿite persuasion (see International Relations). Domestically, they became one of the more significant religious pressure groups, and their popularity among grassroots and tertiary education institutions meant that their members and leaders were also courted by the main Malay-Muslim political parties, United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and PAS. ABIM’s membership has grown steadily over the years. At its formation, it had a few hundred members.

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