Johor Sultan wants the level of English in Malaysia to improve
He also says Malaysia can learn a lot from Singapore.
Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar said the level of English in Malaysia has deteriorated so badly that even some government officers cannot speak or write good English.
He said that the Malaysian education system needs to be streamlined into one stream.
Malaysia currently has three education streams - national, Chinese and Tamil.
In the national schools, for primary and secondary level, the main language of instruction is Malay.
English is taught as a second language.
For Chinese and Tamil schools, Malay is taught as a second language and English is a third language.
"Nowadays, there are Chinese and Tamil students who do not know how to speak Malay and of course, Malay students who can’t speak English," said the Sultan.
"No one should politicise education and health issues. I am worried for the education standards in this country. Please wake up!"
During an hour-long exclusive interview with Malaysia's The Star newspaper, the Johor ruler spoke emotionally on an array of issues, including his late son Tunku Abdul Jalil Sultan Ibrahim, as well how much Malaysia can learn from Singapore's success.
The Sultan said he finds it hard to understand the rationale or irrationality of any Malaysian leader who wants Malaysia to quarrel with Singapore.
"It's what I called crooked thinking. There is so much we can learn from Singapore. They have done well, let's be honest here.
"We don't have to go on expensive study trips to Europe or the United States - just go across the Causeway to Singapore, they have done so many things that are correct and efficient," he said.
He also spoke about his relationship with Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The Sultan of Johor has asked the public to give Prime Minister Najib Razak a chance. PHOTO: REUTERS
He said: "The Prime Minister is from Pahang, but he has also regularly updated me on development issues affecting the state.
"He is deeply concerned about issues affecting Johor because of our proximity to Singapore, which is a strategic partner to Johor."
The Sultan said that both of them believe that Johor and Malaysia will benefit from the ongoing development and that when the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore fast train is built, the benefits will be enormous.
"Give him a chance"
The Sultan also felt that Mr Najib should be given a chance as every Malaysian prime minister had also made mistakes in the past.
"I know the Prime Minister has come under much criticism, but I say, give him a chance," he said.
"The year has come to an end, we must move on... There are issues that still need to be tackled, that need to convince the people, that need answers, but I must say that they also need closure.
"Every one of us makes mistakes, but we must be prepared to learn from them, make amends and do what is right. Right what is wrong."
On the death of his 25-year-old son from liver cancer this month, he said he was deeply saddened.
He said he still keeps all the text messages his son had sent to him.
"I am a father like other parents in Johor. It crushed my heart each time I saw my son suffer, especially when I knew that he was dying. I had to be strong for him until the end."
Source: Star Online, World Education News and Reviews