The Chinese Language Movement in Malaysia, 1952-1967
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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.
About the authors
Dr. Tan Yao Sua is Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research and International Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang. His main research interests include educational policy analysis, minority education, bilingual education, sociology of education and Malaysian Chinese Studies.
Dr. Teoh Hooi See is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chinese Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya. Her main research interests are in the areas of Malaysian Chinese Studies and Asian Literature.