English second language in Malaysia, the concentration

English
is the language of business. In a globalized world, where money and trade flow
across borders, a good command of English is essential. Malaysia, like many other countries belonging to
the Outer Circle, is in a position where it has to grapple with notions of
English language standards. With the medium of education having been Bahasa
Malaysia since 1970, there has emerged in the workforce educated speakers who
speak sub-varieties of formal Malaysian English. These make up the executives who
contribute to various organizations, whose businesses depend on both intra-national
and international connections. One of the essential skills required of these
executives is that of delivering business presentations both internally to
colleagues and superiors and externally to customers of the organization.

The role of English language is important for communication between people especially in
higher institutions and businesses in Malaysia. Since English is the second
language in Malaysia, the concentration is on generating learners with the
ability to communicate effectively indifferent social and professional
contexts. Currently in Malaysia, communication skills play the fundamental role
at workplace situations. The importance of communication skills is significant in
the management sector as stated in different job advertisements.
“without efficient communication skills in the management sector, a
manager would never achieve success.         

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In recent years, the importance of equipping employers with good oral
communication skills in English has grown with the demanding nature of current
workplace communication. It is reported that employers believed that a low
proficiency language skill was a difficult factor for employment. In the workplace
contexts, employees need oral communication skills in English language to be
successful in their jobs as they must carry out different communicative tasks
such as presentations, meetings and negotiations.

There is
ongoing debate as to why the English language is so important to a Malaysian
workplace. According to recent research it was found that only 55.1% of
Malaysian graduates found employment within half a year. It is evident that
English proficient graduates are more likely to adapt to the workplace and
solve various problems that arises in certain situations.

Malaysian workers need to possess effective English language skills in order to
complete various tasks in their workplaces, especially when Malaysia has a
vibrant economy with many multinational companies setting up their base here.
These companies play an important role in Malaysia’s economy and it is
widely acknowledged that multinational companies are responsible for an
increasing share in world trade in the global economy and that a
conscious decision must be made in relation to their employees. Therefore
it is clearly evident that English language needs to fit the organizational
demands of these companies.

From the findings, it is clear that the trainees view oral communication
skills as significantly important skills for the workplace. They found that the
oral skills at the workplace are considered to be either very important or
important skills to possess. Different activities in English language are
important. Based on the data in this study, the most important activity in
English language is establishing social relationships with clients with almost
80 percent of the trainees in this study citing it as important. This is not
surprising as the nature of most business communication will involve communicating
with clients or customers. However, establishing a good rapport with clients or
customers can be considered as very important as this will eventually have
implications in the company’s income.

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