BUKIT MERTAJAM: Putrajaya defended the policy of reverting to teaching science and mathematics in Malay after former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad highlighted the reversal as one of the weaknesses in the Malaysian education system. Deputy Education Minister II P. Kamalanathan said the National Education Blueprint (2013 – 2025) and the Higher Education Blueprint (2015 – 2025) specifically addressed the strengthening of language command. He said several policy decisions were made to enhance command of languages including requiring a “pass” for SPM candidates in the English language. Another initiative was requiring those who entered university with a MUET III qualification to graduate with a MUET IV grade, he added. “These are some of the strategies we have undertaken to ensure the English language continues to be strengthened,” he told a press conference after an Education Ministry roadshow here today. Mahathir last Thursday said not teaching science and mathematics in English was one of the weaknesses of the Malaysia education system. He urged for a return to teaching both subjects in English and identified the lack of emphasis on moulding responsible individuals to contribute to society as another weakness. Malaysia had switched to teaching both subjects in English in 2001 from Malay but made a U-turn to the national language in 2012. Kamalanathan said both blueprints provided avenues to enhance command of not only English, but the Malay language as well. “It’s a two-pronged strategy, it is stated that students have to be fluent in two languages which are English and Malay,” he said. On the Permatang Pauh by-election, Kamalanathan chided PKR candidate Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for not coming up with a manifesto for the constituency. He said this was unlike the Barisan Nasional candidate Suhaimi Sabudin whom he described as “brave” for coming up with his plans for the voters. “The people want to know what and how a leader plans to help them,” the Hulu Selangor MP added and urged voters to cast their ballots for BN.