We were in a way being taught to speak in the Queen's English. Speaking for myself, I developed a fine level of being able to read and write as well as speak very well in English. I was also and still am quite proficient in Bahasa Melayu as well for Iv grew up in a Malay kampong @ village in East Jelutong, Penang.
Being quite well versed in English and Malay serves me well to this very day. I can also speak very well in Tamil and a fair grasp of the local Penang Hokkien Chinese dialect. I can't however read and write any of the above stated languages apart from my major languages of English and Malay.
I understand a bit of Japanese, Hindi and Arabic as well but can't read or write in them either.
From my observation, after 1970, the Malaysian Government decided to change the education system to be taught in Malay. As a result, many of our nation's students started to lose their ability to interact well in English, the world's major lingua franca.
It is not that we do not respect our National Language which is Bahasa Melayu, being a Malay nation but when it comes to business transactions and further study in the field of science and technology, most of the major universities do teach in English.
If we are to excel in any chosen field especially in any international level of studies where the resources are in English, then we would need to achieve a certain level of prowess in the language itself and any poor grasp of English will hinder our ability to excel in the subject due to our insufficient understanding of the said subject for literary reasons.
Malaysia needs to set it's education system right by reverting to the way things were back in the 1960s.
Only then will our academic institutions gain the highest standards of achieving academic excellence as we once did. Look south of the Malay Peninsular at Singapore. Their universities are today ranked as amongst the highest ranks amongst the world's premier universities due to the fact that they teach in English.
Our political representatives apparent low levels of academic qualifications also expose a downwards spiral of oratorical skills especially in English and also in Bahasa Melayu which often portrays our Parliamentarians to be of a level best suited to debate at the local coffeeshops.
Very poor command of English and even Bahasa Melayu which is our official and national language. What a shame!
Other countries MP's are able to express their views in a more dignified and eloquent manner using proper words and sentences.
So, it all goes back to the way our schools are teaching our students. Starting from even the primary school levels. In many cases, we find uneducated incompetent persons teaching at the kindergartens causing our impressionable young children being taught wrongly by people who are not supposed to even teach them the alphabets because these very persons can't even articulate those alphabets well in the first instance.
Malaysia really needs to scrape all these inappropriate shoddy systems that are currently in place. It goes back as to who calls the shots at Putrajaya?