JOHOR BARU: Improving the proficiency level of the Malay language among students from vernacular schools is important for their future success, says Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon.

The Deputy Education Minister said there had been a significant improvement in the mastery of the Malay language among pupils from Chinese and Tamil primary schools.

“In general, the proficiency of the Malay language (among vernacular school students) has become much better.

“However, there is still room for improvement, and we need to continue assisting students to ensure that they can master the language further,” he added.

He spoke to the press after officiating at the closing ceremony of the 39th SJKT (Tamil primary) and SJKC (Chinese primary) Malay Language Public Speaking and Essay Writing Prime Minister Unity Trophy competition at a hotel here in Senai.

He noted that such competitions were among efforts undertaken by the Education Ministry to further enhance the proficiency of the Malay language among pupils from the said schools.

“This national-level competition is important as it serves as a platform for pupils from SJKC and SJKT schools to further improve their command of the Malay language.

“We found that there are students from vernacular schools who were doing well in other subjects but faced problems in their studies once they reached secondary schools because they had yet to master the Malay language.

“As such, it is important for us to continue carrying out initiatives and focus our efforts to help our students, including those from SJKC and SJKT schools, master the language,” he said.

He noted that parents also played an important role in ensuring that their children could improve their command of the language.

“This (learning the Malay language) is a continuous process that should take place in schools, at home and among the community.

“We must encourage the culture of using the Malay language as this is a great way for students and the community to improve their proficiency.

“I also urge students to take up the habit of reading as this would be very beneficial for them to improve their skills in any language,” he added.