Englishis the language of business. In a globalized world, where money and trade flowacross borders, a good command of English is essential. Malaysia, like many other countries belonging tothe Outer Circle, is in a position where it has to grapple with notions ofEnglish language standards. With the medium of education having been BahasaMalaysia since 1970, there has emerged in the workforce educated speakers whospeak sub-varieties of formal Malaysian English.
These make up the executives whocontribute to various organizations, whose businesses depend on both intra-nationaland international connections. One of the essential skills required of theseexecutives is that of delivering business presentations both internally tocolleagues and superiors and externally to customers of the organization. The role of English language is important for communication between people especially inhigher institutions and businesses in Malaysia. Since English is the secondlanguage in Malaysia, the concentration is on generating learners with theability to communicate effectively indifferent social and professionalcontexts. Currently in Malaysia, communication skills play the fundamental roleat workplace situations. The importance of communication skills is significant inthe management sector as stated in different job advertisements.” without efficient communication skills in the management sector, amanager would never achieve success.
In recent years, the importance of equipping employers with good oralcommunication skills in English has grown with the demanding nature of currentworkplace communication. It is reported that employers believed that a lowproficiency language skill was a difficult factor for employment. In the workplacecontexts, employees need oral communication skills in English language to besuccessful in their jobs as they must carry out different communicative taskssuch as presentations, meetings and negotiations.
There isongoing debate as to why the English language is so important to a Malaysianworkplace. According to recent research it was found that only 55. 1% ofMalaysian graduates found employment within half a year. It is evident thatEnglish proficient graduates are more likely to adapt to the workplace andsolve various problems that arises in certain situations. Malaysian workers need to possess effective English language skills in order tocomplete various tasks in their workplaces, especially when Malaysia has avibrant economy with many multinational companies setting up their base here. These companies play an important role in Malaysia’s economy and it iswidely acknowledged that multinational companies are responsible for anincreasing share in world trade in the global economy and that aconscious decision must be made in relation to their employees.
Thereforeit is clearly evident that English language needs to fit the organizationaldemands of these companies. From the findings, it is clear that the trainees view oral communicationskills as significantly important skills for the workplace. They found that theoral skills at the workplace are considered to be either very important orimportant skills to possess. Different activities in English language areimportant.
Based on the data in this study, the most important activity inEnglish language is establishing social relationships with clients with almost80 percent of the trainees in this study citing it as important. This is notsurprising as the nature of most business communication will involve communicatingwith clients or customers. However, establishing a good rapport with clients orcustomers can be considered as very important as this will eventually haveimplications in the company’s income.