The Chinese Language Movement in Malaysia, 1952-1967
Language, Ethnicity and Nation-Building in a Plural Society
Authors: Tan Yao Sua & Teoh Hooi See
New Pb104 pp.
Subjects: Education, Ethnic Studies, History & Biography, Malaysia
The Chinese language movement in Malaysia was launched by the Chinese educationists to demand for the recognition of Chinese as an official language and to legitimise the status of Chinese education in the national educational system. In the process, the official language issue evolved into an ethnic issue that strained ethnic relations between the Chinese and the Malays with severe political implications that threatened to impede the nation-building process. The Chinese language movement was launched in 1952 as a response to the British attempt to establish bilingual national primary schools (commonly known as national schools) teaching in English and Malay to replace the vernacular primary schools that had existed since the colonial period. It picked up pace when the Chinese educationists managed to garner political support for their demand.