Assignment 2 - The Importance of English Language in Malaysia
Assignment 2 – The Importance of English Language in Malahysia.
The English language is a West Germanic language that originates from England and is also spoken as
a native language in the other home countries of the United Kingdom, in the United States, Canada,
Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, and numerous other countries. English is now the third
most spoken native language worldwide (after Chinese and Hindi), with some 380 million speakers. It
has lingua franca status in many parts of the world, due to the military, economic, scientific, political
and cultural influence of the British Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries and that of the United States
from the mid 20th century to the present. Through the global influence of native English speakers in
cinema, airlines, broadcasting, science, and the Internet in recent decades, English is now the most
widely learned second language in the world. Many students worldwide are required to learn some
English, and a working knowledge of English is required in many fields and occupations.
The chart above showed the wide spread English users in the world. English is the second- or third-
most widely spoken language in the world today; a total of 600-700 million people use English
regularly. About 377 million people use English as their mother-tongue and an equal number of people
use it as their second or foreign language. It is used widely in either the public or private sphere in
more than 100 countries all over the world. In addition, the language has occupied a primary place in
international academic and business communities. The current status of the English language compares
with that of Latin in the past. English is the most widely learned and used foreign language in the
world, and, as such, many linguists believe it is no longer the exclusive cultural emblem of "native
English speakers," but rather a language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it grows in
use. Others believe that there are limits to how far English can go in suiting everyone for
communication purposes. It is the language most often studied as a foreign language in Europe (32.6
percent)., followed by French, German, and Spanish. It is also the most studied in Japan, South Korea
and in the Republic of China (Taiwan), where it is compulsory for most high school students.
As English is so widely spoken, it has been referred to as a "global language." While English is not the
official language in many countries, it is the language most often taught as a second language around
the world, such as the Republic of Singapore and Malaysia. It is also, by international treaty, the
official language for aircraft/airport communication. Its widespread acceptance as a first or second
language is the main indication of its global status.
Many countries in the world rely on English to communicate and to sell their products as what I had
mentioned above. Those countries are such as India, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. In Asia, our
country Malaysia and our neighboring countries become the target for supplying goods and skills at a
cheaper rate than countries in the west. Former prime minister of Malaysia , Dr Mahathir Mohamed,
who gave two lectures at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina said that English is important to the capital
growth in the country. It is not only the changes of individual cultural and tradition languages.
Mahathir explained how Malaysia turned from a poor, rice-cultivating country into one of the most
competitive industrial giants in Asia . He said that in Malaysia his government struck a balance
between its role as a watchdog over the private sector without choking the free market economy. He
added that Malaysia did not adhere to any rigid ideology, whether communists or capitalist, but
followed management and production styles appropriate to enhancing his countries capabilities.
Mahathir emphasized the importance of tolerating other views and cultures, while preserving one's own
identity. By achieving this leaning a second language which will benefit our country is a must.
English, the de facto global language, is turning from a mere useful skill into a prerequisite for access
to the best jobs and the highest incomes. Nowhere is the growing dominance of English clearer than in
information technology. Highlighting the challenge is the Internet, where 80% of Web pages are in
English. Since the biggest companies, the hottest startups and the best research institutions are in the
U.S., the industry and the technology dance to English lyrics. Beyond its importance in day-to-day
business, English is now the prime language of learning - perhaps even of thought. For Asians,
especially Malaysia the importance of English in winning promotions is obvious.
To make English as an important subject in Malaysia and to enhance the usage of the targeted language
many gigantic steps have been carried out by the Malaysian government, such as the about the policy
of teaching Mathematics and Science in English in our primary and secondary schools. To support the
government’s movement in introducing and implementation of English in Science and Mathematics ,
Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has even invested over RM1mil to train lecturers to teach in English
as long as 3 years ago.
Other than the changes in the teaching syllabus, Parliament should allow debate in English for one
sitting every week to promote the mastery of English by Malaysians as well as overcome the hangover
attitude that speaking English is being anti-national or un-Malaysian. It is a good example for the
nation too. According to our Prime Minister, that as a country, Malaysia would stand a better chance of
succeeding and safeguarding its interests if its people excelled in the language. So, speaking at the a
pre-Budget 2005 consultation at the Finance Ministry, the Prime Minister cited as an example that to
be active and effective in negotiations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), it was not enough just
to be knowledgeable about its rules and regulations but more important to have the strength in
negotiation and this required competency in the English language. Dramatic efforts must be made to
convey the message effectively to all Malaysians that it is in the national interest to enhance the
country’s international competitiveness in the era of globalization and information and communications
technology for Malaysians to master the English language. Therefore, Parliament allow debate in
English for one sitting every week to promote the mastery of English by Malaysians . This will give a
powerful demonstration effect and send a clear and unequivocal message to all Malaysians of the
seriousness and importance of the campaign to get Malaysians of all age groups to master the English
language to ensure that the nation can take her rightful place in the international arena – whether the
global market place or the world of diplomacy.