English proficiency crucial to progress: Mahathir

The Star/ANN

KUALA LUMPUR: Mastering the English language is crucial to progress, especially in the fields of science and mathematics, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"In this age, the English language is the international language, lingua franca, and much of the knowledge comes to us in the English language," said the former prime minister at the SM Sains Muar (Samura) reunion dinner at the Palace of the Golden Horses hotel on Saturday.

"If we only master Bahasa Melayu we cannot actively move forward in the world, especially in the economic world," he said.

Dr Mahathir added that there are new discoveries every day in science and technology by researchers, and in order not to fall behind it is necessary to have a good command of the English language.

"It is not that I am setting aside the national language but it is a fact that in order to master the fields of science and mathematics we must master the English language," he said.

He said the ultimate aim should be to gain knowledge and as the world is speaking in English, the language should be mastered.

Dr Mahathir added that it is not difficult to pick up the language and that for him, it was learned by reading thousands of English storybooks from the time he was young.

Also present at the dinner was his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali and Samura alumni president Dr Abdul Razak Ahmad.