The medium-of-instruction debate in Malaysia
English as a Malaysian language?
This paper investigates the medium-of-instruction debate in the press and news agency reports in 2002 in Malaysia in the wake of a policy change which would see the introduction of an English-Malay bilingual or mixed medium education in schools from 2003. The author uses this debate as a springboard for examining the position of English in Malaysia. This is done within the framework of the development of non-Anglo Englishes (Schneider 2003a). Whilst there is much evidence pointing to the indigenisation of the English language and an acceptance of it to represent a Malaysian identity, especially in situations of mixed ethnicity, it is interesting to note that much of the debate appears to stay clear of these issues and instead emphasises the international, as opposed to the Malaysian, status of English. The paper proposes some reasons for this silence and suggests that this might problematise a characterisation of English in Malaysia in the manner of Schneider.
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