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Language Policy and Planning (LPP) for English in Malaysian Education System in the 21st Century

Yong Li, Kong Poh Mei, Lim Zhi Xin


Language policy and planning (LPP) is defined as large-scale national planning, usually undertaken by governments, meant to influence, if not change, ways of speaking or literacy practices within a society (Baldauf, 2006 [5]). As a multilingual society, Malaysia is determined to preserve its linguistic diversity through its LPP. So far, Malaysia is still struggling to draw up a policy that encompasses the demands of all its linguistic groups across the country, which is shown by its constant policy revisions. Therefore, this paper aims to trace the development of LPP for English in Malaysian education, and it examines the reasons as well as the impacts of language planning and language policy to the competency and proficiency of English among Malaysians. The study is conducted based on secondary research, whereby materials such as journals, books and dissertations are used as references. Apart from gaining an insight of the implemented language policies in Malaysia, the findings reveal the social reality of contrasting LPP initiatives in Malaysia, in which English proficiency levels among students are experiencing a sharp decline, contrary to the amassing significance of the English language in the global arena. Indeed, the effects of LPP, such as the strengthening of nationalist ethos as well as the increasing burden of teaching staff, should be taken into consideration while drafting up and revising LPP to ensure the sustainability of a just and fair society.


Malaysia; language; policy; planning; education; Malay; English

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