KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia must do more to invest in encouraging students to learn additional foreign languages, says Seputeh MP Teresa Kok.
Pointing to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s mission to bring in foreign investors, Kok said multilingualism is crucial to facilitate and ease communications and trade.
“With Malaysia strategically having one of the world’s busiest ports in the world along the Straits of Malacca, it becomes imperative that our workforce master other foreign languages apart from English to be well-equipped, like many of our neighbours,” she said in a statement.
Kok noted that since Anwar took office in November 2022, he has brought in over RM200 billion in investments from his 17 working trips, including to the United Arab Emirates, United States, China, and many others.
“Investments of this magnitude certainly need local manpower to be able to facilitate and ease communications between parties.
“Malaysia must do more to invest in encouraging students, youth and young adults to learn additional foreign languages – particularly ones that will help them with their careers and future working endeavours – while at the same time to be masters in the national language of Bahasa Malaysia.”
Kok lamented that no alternative foreign languages are provided for at the Malaysian primary, and secondary school levels, or in institutions of higher learning.
“At the university level, the likelihood of learning another foreign language is confined to the departments of linguistics only,” she said.