‘Bahasa Malaysia’ is the national language in Malaysia. English and Mandarin are widely spoken, particularly in main cities such as Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
Education First’s English Proficiency Index listed Malaysians as highly proficient English speakers. Yet recently several people have noted that English proficiency of Malaysian university graduates are quite low (read articles written by The Sun, Lok Wing Kong and/or BA Hamzah for more details). As a result, these graduates become unemployable in the English-medium private sector (‘Bahasa Malaysia’ is the medium of instruction in the government sector).
There are many ways to improve one’s English language skill. One of the ways is to read (click here to see other strategies).
Out of 28,000 books stored in SS Readers Corner, majority of them are written in English. I asked my friend, who is an English graduate, to recommend books for English as Second Language (ESL) learners. She suggested these titles:
- ‘Harry Potter series’ by J.K. Rowling
- ‘Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D. Salinger
- ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ by C.S. Lewis
- ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-Time’ by Mark Haddon
- ‘Anne of Green Gables’ by L.M. Montgomery
- ‘Peter Pan’ by J.M. Barrie
- ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll
- ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ by Johnathan Swift
Even though these titles are categorised as young adult and children’s books, the language deployed in each book is rich. The plot has substance hence making it appealing to adults and teenagers.
Some of the suggested books are available from SS Readers Corner. Visit our store to rent the books and work on improving your English proficiency.