Speech by Mr Masagos Zulkifli BMM, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education at the Launch of Malay Singapore Zoo Stories on Saturday, 19 January 2008, 9.35 am at the Singapore Zoo

Ms Isabel Cheng, Director, Marketing, The Singapore Zoo

Ms Ong Pheng Yen, Deputy Director, Teachers Network

Principals, Teachers

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good Morning


I will start my speech in English before continuing it in Malay.

It gives me great pleasure to join all of you this morning to celebrate the launch of the Malay Singapore Zoo Stories, the product of a year-long collaboration between The Singapore Zoo and the Ministry of Education Teachers Network.

Children have always been fascinated with animals, and the Zoo has become a favourite place for parents to entertain their children, and at the same time teach them about animals. Hence, stories involving animals will naturally attract pupils’ attention.

To engage students better in the learning of Malay Language, a team of 10 Malay Language teachers, led by Master Teacher Mr Mohd Naim Daipi, spent one year, writing a set of stories for Malay Language pupils in Primary One and Two. The fruit of their labour is the Malay Singapore Zoo Stories. I am confident that the Malay Singapore Zoo Stories launched today will be as well received as the Chinese Singapore Zoo Stories, published in 2006. .We can also look forward to the release of yet another Mother Tongue publication in exactly a week’s time, this time the Tamil Singapore Zoo Stories. In February, a second series of the Chinese Singapore Zoo Stories will also be launched. I am heartened that our Mother Tongue language teachers are taking on an active role in coming up with books to help enthuse their pupils in the learning of the Mother Tongue languages.

Promoting the learning of Malay Language

Cultivating a passion for reading is one of the key areas in the new Malay Language Curriculum for primary school. The new syllabus for primary 1 to 4, implemented this year, encourages teachers to provide structured extensive reading programmes for their students. To nurture and encourage reading ability and habit, MOE developed Big Books and Small Books as part of the new Instructional Materials package called MEKAR, or ‘blossom’. Altogether, 16 titles each for Big Books and Small Books are published for Primary One and Primary Two pupils. With more focus given to the importance of reading, we hope our pupils will develop a love for reading and continue to read even after they leave school.

To increase the number of reading resources available for our students further, MOE and the Malay Language Learning and Promotion Committee (MLLPC) provided primary schools with funds to purchase more Malay language readers. Thus, the launch of the Malay Singapore Zoo Stories today is very timely and I hope more projects like this can be carried out so that more reading resources can be made available to our students.

To carry out projects like this, teachers, community organisations and individuals can consider applying to receive funding from MLLPC. The committee had funded a number of meaningful programmes that promote the learning of Malay Language last year and will continue to do so this year.

Learning Journey for the Teachers

In developing the Malay Singapore Zoo Stories, the teachers worked tirelessly in researching and writing four short stories that revolve around the adventures of selected animal personalities in the Zoo. They sacrificed many weekends visiting the Zoo, learning about the animals and conducting interviews with the keepers. Apart from crafting the four stories, the teacher authors also spent an enormous amount of effort working on two activities books, which are designed to further enhance the students’ learning experience at the Zoo.

I understand that producing this publication has been a great journey for the teacher authors themselves. The process has given them an opportunity to work as a team and watch their ideas grow to fruition. Most importantly, it took them out of their familiar school environment to interact with the staff of another organization and gain new perspectives. I am sure that the team derives a lot of satisfaction from finally holding the finished product in their hands. My congratulations to the team.

I am sure the book will be well used for learning journeys to the zoo, and pupils can look forward to many enjoyable and enriching Malay Language lessons outside school. I encourage teachers to make full use of this additional resource. Thank you.

[Part of speech delivered in Malay]

Para hadirin sekalian

Kisah-kisah binatang memang tidak asing dalam masyarakat Melayu. Cerita-cerita binatang seperti ‘Arnab dengan Kura-kura’, ‘Monyet dengan Buaya’, ‘Merak dengan Gagak’ dan banyak lagi menjadi bahan bacaan dan cerita kepada kanak-kanak sejak dulu lagi. Secara fitrah, kanak-kanak tertarik dengan binatang.

Oleh itu, saya pasti buku Cerita-cerita Melayu Zoo Singapura untuk murid-murid Darjah 1 dan Darjah 2 yang dilancarkan hari ini akan dapat menarik minat murid-murid membaca buku-buku Melayu. Hasil idea 10 orang guru-guru Bahasa Melayu yang diketuai oleh Guru Pakar, Cikgu Mohd Naim Daipi ini, akan menambah bilangan bahan bacaan yang dapat digunakan oleh murid-murid kita dalam pembelajaran Bahasa Melayu mereka. Saya harap lebih banyak usaha untuk menambahkan sumber bacaan seperti ini dijalankan pada masa depan.

Hadirin sekalian, ‘Membaca Pelita Ilmu’. Oleh itu, minat yang mendalam untuk membaca memainkan peranan penting dalam memperoleh ilmu pengetahuan dan mengembangkan Bahasa Melayu murid-murid. Untuk menyediakan bahan-bahan bacaan kepada para murid, Kementerian Pendidikan, MOE dan Jawatankuasa Pembelajaran dan Penggalakan Penggunaan Bahasa Melayu (MLLPC) memberikan dana kepada sekolah-sekolah untuk membeli buku-buku cerita yang sesuai untuk murid-murid mereka.

Selain untuk menggalakkan murid-murid kita membaca buku-buku Melayu, MLLPC juga menyediakan dana kepada aktiviti-aktiviti lain yang meningkatkan pembelajaran dan menggalakkan penggunaan Bahasa Melayu. Pada tahun lalu, pelbagai aktiviti telah mendapat dana MLLPC termasuklah penerbitan Buku Besar, bengkel-bengkel bahas, peraduan-peraduan bahasa, pertandingan pengacaraan, program penyerapan guru dan Anugerah Guru Arif Budiman.

Pada tahun ini, MLLPC akan terus menyediakan dana untuk aktiviti-aktiviti yang dapat meninggalkan kesan yang positif terhadap pembelajaran dan penggunaan bahasa Melayu. MLLPC menjemput para guru, pertubuhan masyarakat dan individu untuk memohon dana bagi aktiviti-aktiviti mereka. Marilah kita berganding bahu dalam menyediakan aktiviti yang bermakna dan dapat dimanfaatkan oleh murid-murid, para guru, ibu bapa dan masyarakat secara am.

Akhir kata, syabas saya ucapkan kepada guru-guru yang telah terlibat dalam projek Cerita-cerita Melayu Zoo Singapura dan tahniah kepada The Singapore Zoo dan Teachers’ Network Kementerian Pendidikan yang telah bekerjasama menjayakan projek ini.

Sekian, terima kasih.