Aspirasi president: Punitive measures to enforce use of BM in civil service “daft and absurd”

Lina Soo (file photo)

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KUCHING, June 4: Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) president Lina Soo has described the call to enforce the use of Bahasa Malaysia (BM) in the civil service and other government-related agencies, including government-linked companies (GLCs) with punitive measures as “daft and absurd”.

Slamming Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali for making the call, Soo said this is the most glaring example of the ignorance and lack of enlightenment of the bureaucrats in Putrajaya when it comes to Sarawak.

“It is linked in the Malaysia Agreement in its annexure and the Report of the Inter-Governmental Committee under Articles 27, 28 and 30 that until the Borneo State Legislature otherwise provides, the English language shall be an official language.

“And (English) may be used in the Legislative Assembly, in both Houses of the Federal Parliament, in all proceedings of the Supreme Court relating to cases arising in the Borneo States, all proceedings in the High Court and subordinate courts of the Borneo States, and for all other official purposes in Sarawak, whether Federal or State purposes, including all correspondence with the Federal Ministries and Departments,” she highlighted in a statement today.

Soo pointed out that this constitutional protection of the English language for Sarawak cannot be amended or repealed without the concurrence of the Borneo States government, and to her knowledge, she believes the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) has not passed any legislation to abrogate this safeguard ever.

“The Federal government cannot amend or repeal this special constitutional arrangement without the consent of the Sarawak government, and only then it must be supported by the votes of two-thirds of the total number of members of the Federal Parliament,” she added.

With that, Soo stressed how critical it is that Sarawak must not give a two-thirds majority to the Federal government.

“Giving a two-third majority means giving a blank cheque to the Federal government to rewrite legislation to take away Sarawak’s constitutional protections and safeguards which will be a grave disaster to the Sarawak people,” she said.

With the general election any time soon to choose a new Federal government, Soo hopes the people of Sarawak will be wise to use the power of their vote in their hands not to allow any power to be concentrated in one coalition, and to deny a two-third majority in the formation of a new government.

This, she emphasised, can be achieved by voting in a third Sarawak force that can safeguard the special position of Sarawak.

On May 24, Zuki was reported to have said that the Public Service Department (JPA) needs to consider punitive measures to enforce the use of Bahasa Malaysia in the civil service and other government-related agencies, including GLCs.

He said this was in line with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s announcement that BM would be used within the country and internationally.

It was also reported that Zuki hoped the JPA could consider actions that could be taken against those who did not take seriously the instructions related to the use of Bahasa Malaysia in the civil service.

He said such punitive action was not intended to intimidate but ensure that Bahasa Malaysia was not used arbitrarily as the national language. — DayakDaily