BENTONG: A book in hand is “more powerful” than a smartphone or tablet computer, said Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
As such, the MCA president urged parents to rethink their priorities for their children.
He pointed out that reading could vastly improve language proficiency.
“Language needs practice. You must read and speak more in order to have a good grasp, whether it is Malay, English or Chinese. There’s no shortcut.
“Playing games (on a smartphone) will not help improve your language skills,” he told Year Six pupils at the closing ceremony of a UPSR language subjects workshop here yesterday.
Liow told the pupils that all three languages were equally important and they should be thankful to have an environment to learn and practise these languages anytime and anywhere.
He said there were pupils from Chinese schools who did not do well in Bahasa Melayu and English.
“These pupils will have problems catching up when they enter national secondary schools and some may be forced to drop out,’’ he added.
Liow, the Transport Minister who is also Bentong MP, advised the pupils to complete at least their Fifth Form.
“After that, if you do not do well academically, we have many vocational courses to teach you a skill,” he said.
He later presented awards and prizes to pupils with good results.
The workshop was organised by the Bentong Chinese School Teachers Association to strengthen the pupils’ ability in Bahasa Malayu and English. More than 200 of them from 12 schools here attended the two-day workshop.
Liow also had high-tea with several hundred retired army personnel, presenting them with goodies, including rice and sugar, as a token of appreciation for their military service.-thestar