The debate is still ongoing between those who believe that a mastery of English is needed for Malaysia to become a so-called ‘knowledge economy’ and those who believe that the quality of education is more important than the medium of instruction.
See this Insider article. Both sides may have a point in some of their arguments.
But what is thoroughly hypocritical is that the same leaders who marginalise the role of English in our schools (and let these schools suffer in mediocrity through lack of investment and priority in education) then enrol their children in English-language international schools based in Malaysia or even send their children to study abroad in posh schools. Check out this Insider article.
To me, what is most important is the content (and of course the quality) of what is taught, and whether the education is holistic and teaches students to become more critical and aware of the world around them, and whether creativity is encouraged. It is vital for values such as compassion, integrity, justice and concern for the well-being of the human family, especially those suffering most, are promoted. The ability to analyse important issues of the day is also important. In short, we have to inculcate a sense of social conscience and responsibility, apart from imparting living skills and developing inherent talents to the full.