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KUCHING, July 4: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen insinuated that Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang should not be allowed to hold government positions following his negative take on the English language.
On July 3, Abdul Hadi, in his column in the PAS organ Harakah, said that those pushing for the use of the English language at the expense of the Malay language are still trapped in the colonial mindset.
Following this, Dr Yii said Abdul Hadi’s statement exposes how irrelevant PAS is in the modern world and that the party will further erode the nation’s competitive edge in the international market, bringing it backwards and leaving it behind in comparison to the neighbouring countries.
“There is no question on the importance of mastering and promoting the importance of our national language.
“However, those that do not encourage the mastery of multiple languages on top of our national language, especially when English is used as the international language of business, commerce, science, medicine, diplomacy, and many other key areas, are those stuck in the old-age, and should not be allowed to hold positions that influence policies of the nation,” he said in a statement today.
Dr Yii further said many leaders, such as those in PAS, rile up such narrow nationalistic sentiments, including on the national language, mainly to cover up their own inadequacy in the matter or to distract from real issues affecting the people which the government has failed to address, including the rising cost of living and food prices.
One of the examples, he said, is how these leaders often use Japan as a modern country without the need to master English, but the fact of the matter is many major companies, including the government of Japan, have made huge strides to promote the use of English in their daily business.
“Car-maker giants Honda followed Nissan’s move to adopt English in 2013, and since 2020, Honda executives cannot be promoted until they pass an English competency test.
“In 2016, Mitsubishi Motors also adopted English, partly because it had become part of the expanded Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Motors Alliance.
“Similarly, tyre manufacturer Bridgestone also adopted English in 2013, the same year as Honda.
“Several big-name Japanese companies outside the manufacturing sector have also adopted English as their main working language, including stock trading platform Rakuten, as well fashion retailer Uniqlo,” he elaborated.
Dr Yii, who is also Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth (DAPSY) national chief, further said Malaysian leaders must realise that the people are living in a competitive, volatile, globalised era, where cross-border partnerships are essential for survival, which also implies the need for multi-cultural awareness.
“The ability to speak multiple languages has always been Malaysia’s strength, especially for us to remain competitive in the global market. Therefore, the need to promote the use of the national language should not be an excuse to curtail nor discourage the use of another.
“And those promoting such narrow views are those trapped in an obsolete mindset,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily