Sarawakian politicians is calling for the federal government to exempt the state from the enforcement of Bahasa Melayu to be used in the civil service with punitive measures.
According to Dayak Daily, Deputy Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts, Datuk Snowdan Lawan has slammed the proposed policy by the federal government and called this enforcement ‘regressive’ and ‘ridiculous’.
He also said the measure could be oppressive to civil servants when it comes to their performance appraisal.
He added that there is no way the people of Sarawak can avoid using English as their means of communication in the state.
“Are you going to demerit a staff if they communicate in English in seminars, training or conventions? For this reason, we request that Sarawak be exempted or excluded from this regressive policy,” said Snowdan.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister for Public Health, Housing and Local Government I Datu Dr Penguang Manggil said that English can and should continue to be used in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN), court proceedings, and also communications in the civil service.
“This is clearly enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 (MA63), which stipulates that Sarawak has the right to decide its own education system. We are living in the modern era where the majority of the international community use English,” Penguang was quoted as saying by The Borneo Post.
He also pointed out that most developed and developing countries are moving forward and encouraging the use of English.
“For us to penalise the civil servants who use or speak English is a step backward and perhaps isolating ourselves from the rest of the world.”
“Remember that Malaysia is not one of those superpowers like China, Russia, or even India. While the rest of the world is moving forward by opening their doors be it in the field of education, economy, or ICT among others.”
“We should not disconnect ourselves from the world more so to ban the use of English as by doing we are not doing justice to ourselves and to our future generations,” he said.
Penguang then called for the country to be more liberal and moderate in whatever policy formulated. He also emphasized that speaking English did not mean a lack of love for the country.
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