No decision on PPSMI yet, says PM

By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By RAZAK GHAZALI

THE government has not made any decision to implement the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI), Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

Dr Mahathir, who is also acting education minister, said the mention of PPSMI during a meeting with the Education Ministry on Jan 30, was merely a discussion with ministry staff and not an order.

“We are still considering whether or not to implement PPSMI. We have formed a small committee within the Cabinet to conduct findings and present it to the Cabinet. The implementation of PPSMI will only go through after receiving majority support from the Cabinet,” he said in a news conference at Putrajaya yesterday after delivering an address to officials from the Education Ministry.

Dr Mahathir recognised that there are strong proponents for the teaching of Science and Mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia (BM) and English. Meanwhile, the dual language programme which allows schools to teach the two subjects in BM or English, would carry on.

“Currently they can choose whether they want to be taught in English or BM, but this has not yielded the right kind of results. It is important that they learn Mathematics and Science in English because every day new words are coined in English like artificial intelligence,” he said.

Dr Mahathir first introduced PPSMI in 2003 during his first term as PM. The policy was reversed in 2009 and was completely abolished in 2013.

Separately, the PM said he welcomed any support from Umno and PAS after it was recently revealed that Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had asked party members to back Dr Mahathir.

“Yes, they have said they are willing to support me, even PAS said so. If you want to work with me, just support lah. Anybody who supports me [makes me] feel like I’m floating,” he said with a laugh.

When asked how Opposition members can support him, Dr Mahathir said: “In Parliament, they should support and not just blindly oppose.”

Singapore’s The Straits Times recently reported that Umno may back Dr Mahathir to serve a fullterm to prevent Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s succession as PM.

It said the party’s leaders are pushing to lobby support for the 94-year-old to stay on for the remainder of the term instead of handing over the reins to the PKR president as agreed. Dr Mahathir had previously said he would not step down before the APEC Summit in November this year.