Medium of instruction (MOI) policy as a symptom of nationhood: a critical analysis of the MOI policy discourses in Malaysia
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 03:09 authored by Mahmud Hasan Khan
The aim of this research was to explain the discursive ‘rules’ of the construction of the medium of instruction (MOI) policy in Malaysia. The study of rules includes an exploration of the discursive techniques (e.g., intertextuality and interdiscursivity) employed by various individuals in their construction of the MOI policy debates in Malaysia. The discourse data obtained was collected from (1) the national parliament archives and (2) the archives of a selected number of mainstream and non-mainstream news media in Malaysia. The analysis focused on a specific MOI policy, i.e., PPSMI (Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik Dalam Bahasa Inggeris tr. Teaching of Mathematics and Science in English) Policy that ran for six years (2003-2009). The discourse was analysed based on critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 2001, 2009, 2013). The thesis explains the micro features within the textual formations and the macro features or the ‘conditions of possibility’ of textual formations. The analysis shows that the discursive formations were effects of local realities constructed in political terms. These formations were also effects of external factors, like the rise of English in the contemporary world. The analysis also shows that the members of the parliament and the writers of the newspaper articles made frequent reference to the global and local ‘realities’ in order to perspectivize (Reisigl &Wodak, 2009) and to legitimize (van Leewuen, 1999, 2008) their claims. The pro-policy individuals in their arguments minimized the foreign-ness associated with English in Malaysia. In their discourses English was constructed as a language of opportunity. Other constructions foregrounded were discourses of globalization, open market, modernity and so on. The anti-policy discourse on the other hand used the occasion of policy debates as an opportunity to address various socio-political antagonisms within the country. The pro and the anti-policy statements in Malaysia appeared to be a ‘symptom’ of a multilingual and multiethnic nationhood with large minorities.