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Speech By Mr Masagos Zulkifli During A Visit To SIM University

Speech By Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry Of Education And Ministry Of Home Affairs During Visit To SIM University On 4 May 2009

Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President, SIM University (UniSIM);
Professor Tsui Kai Chong, Provost, UniSIM;
Associate Professor Neelam Aggarwal, Dean, School of Arts and Social Science;
Mr Yatiman Yusof, Advisor for BA Malay Language and Literature Programme;
Mr Mohamed Noh Daipi, Assistant Director, Languages and Literature, Ministry of Education;
Lecturers, undergraduates and distinguished guests.



  1. A very good evening to all of you. I will begin my speech in English before continuing it in Malay.

  1. It gives me great pleasure to be with all of you this evening. My visit to UniSIM is to welcome the first batch of undergraduates of the Malay Language and Literature degree programme conducted by UniSIM.

  1. This programme is a follow-up to the recommendation by the Mother Tongue Language Teachers Review conducted in 2007. The review was done with the aim to enhance the quality of Mother Tongue Language teachers through training and professional development programme.

  1. I am pleased that UniSIM and the Ministry of Education had collaborated to offer this programme in giving opportunities for all who have the interest in and commitment to pursue professional development in Malay Language and Literature. I wish to commend UniSIM for its success in offering relevant and interesting modules covering Malay Linguistics, Malay Literature, Malay Civilisation, Philosophy and Thought, and translation and for inviting lecturers from Malaysia in providing historical and regional perspectives in the modules offered.

Target Group

  1. The programme was offered in January 2009. UniSIM has received a total of 170 applications to this programme were received. 48 applications were accepted for the January intake and 94 applications were accepted for the July intake. I wish to congratulate all of you for being successfully accepted in this programme.

  1. 88% of the applicants are teachers and the rest of the group of applicants comprised of IT specialist, editor, translators and manager. I am heartened to see that this degree programme is able to attract both educators and non-educators. I welcomed their aspiration to deepen their knowledge in the Malay language, literature and culture in UniSIM.

Programme Objectives

  1. This programme mainly aimed at producing competent undergraduates in the field of Malay language and literature with a strong capacity to apply their knowledge in their respective work place. The objectives of the programme are as follows: (i) to expose students to a wide range of disciplines in Malay language covering the areas of Malay linguistic, pedagogy and assessment; (ii) to deepen their knowledge in Malay literature and how the knowledge could be applied to the teaching and learning of Malay language; (iii) to enable students to see the relationship between Malay society, values and philosophy in the development of the Malay language and literature; and (iv) To develop and apply the knowledge gained, and deepen understanding and appreciation in Malay language and literature and use them in respective work areas within the contexts of multiracial society of Singapore and the region.

  1. There are also collaborations between UniSIM and MOE in ensuring that the modules offered are relevant and useful for the undergraduates of this programme. Some examples of the modules are Pedagogical Approaches in Language Teaching, Malay Literature, Translation, Comparative Studies of Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Indonesia, and Malay Civilization, Philosophy and Thought.

  1. With the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UniSIM and a few universities in Malaysia, undergraduates of the programme are fortunate to be given the opportunity to attend classes under the guidance of lecturers from other universities in Malaysia such as, Assoc Prof Dr Rohani Md Yusof and Assoc Prof Dr Nor Hisham Osman (from University Malaya in the linguistics), Assoc Prof Dr Arba’ie Sujud (from University Putra Malaysia, Faculty of Communication and Modern Language), and Dr Gloria Poedjosoedarmo ( a Singaporean who works in Sanata Dharma University in Jogjakarta. She will be teaching Comparative Study of Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Indonesia).

Collective Responsibility in Maintaining Use of Malay Language

  1. Given the opportunity to develop yourself professionally, I hope that you will strive in your study and maximise your potential through this programme. However, we should also be aware that the responsibility of maintaining the Malay language is not solely the responsibility of teachers. Indeed it is a collective responsibility – involving parents, schools, IHLs, community organisations and the media. In meeting the changes of the 21st century and globalisation era, we must play active roles in ensuring that our mother tongue remains relevant and useful. We need to be proactive and supportive of the course in encouraging our community to continue use Malay language.

Launch of New Applied Degree Programmes in 2014

  1. This is also the commitment of the Malay Language Learning and Promotion Committee (MLLPC) which has been formed by the Ministry of Education. The committee was formed with the aim to garner support from the community to deepen the interest of students and Malay language users in the Malay language, literature and culture. The committee collaborated with Malay organisations, the media, IHLs and schools in organising Malay language, literature and cultural activities.

  1. We are indeed grateful that the government has given us continuous supports in organising programmes and encouraging innovations to heighten the use of Malay language among students and the community. The support has been given to all mother tongue languages in Singapore.

  1. Lastly, I commend the efforts and initiative taken by you, undergraduates, in pursuing for your further studies. However in doing so, I hope you will be able to balance your time for your family, work and studies. I wish all of you a success and enjoy the educational journey that you are going through now and in the future.

  1. Thank you.
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