KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Chinese Language Council (MCLC) has denied reports that Chinese national type primary school (SJKC) pupils are not keen to learn Bahasa Melayu (BM).
The council also denied stories that there was widespread perception among SJKC pupils of BM being an unimportant subject to master as they could still carry on with further education in private institutions of higher learning.
Its president Datuk Eddie Heng said such reports were untrue and had put national type schools and SJKC pupils in a negative light.
Heng, who expressed dismay over the publication of such news, called for a press conference today to clear the air about what was actually going on in SJKC schools concerning the teaching of BM.
He even brandished statistics of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2022 result to drive home his point that BM was not being neglected in SJKC schools.
"Who says that we don't consider the Malay language as an important subject? We have the SPM statistics to show our pupils are not shunning BM.
"The statistics show that candidates from Chinese schools in Kuala Lumpur obtained more than 90 per cent pass rate for the BM paper," he said.
However, Heng did not provide the overall nationwide statistics for the pass rate of SJKC pupils in the same exam.
Heng said the council just wanted to raise awareness that the national language is taken into account and strongly emphasized in Chinese schools.
"We acknowledge that there are some students who have yet to master the Malay language....most of them are able to write but not speak or communicate well in BM.
"That is why we will be launching several programmes, including a two-day workshop for those who teach the Malay language."
Heng said teachers in Chinese schools make it a point to communicate only in Malay with pupils at least three days a week. This is done outside the classroom to increase Malay speaking literacy among pupils.
He stressed that SJKC schools also emphasised the mastery of the Malay language among pupils by having various activities and efforts using the national language.
This was done to encourage the pupils to speak more in Malay. Heng said that additional classes for Malay lessons after school were also provided to help pupils improve their Malay language literacy.
The additional lessons based in Malay language, he said, are in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka and experts in the national language.
"There are many efforts being implemented to ensure SJKC pupils are able to master the Malay language...that is why I hope that our efforts are not ignored," he said.
It was previously reported that SJKC pupils were not keen to learn BM as they regarded it as a subject that is difficult to master.
There was also widespread perception that BM is an unimportant subject in their everyday lives as they will still be able to further their education at private institutions of higher learning.
Heng said MCLC had since lodged a police report over the article.