English Language issue: Chong told to do his homework before opening his mouth

Dr Hazland Abang Hipni

KUCHING, Sept 10: Demak Laut assemblyman Dr Hazland Abang Hipni today advised Chong Chieng Jen to revisit the Cobbold Commission Report IGC (Inter-Governmental Committee) Report and Article 161(3) of the Federal Constitution regarding the use of English Language in Sarawak.

Dr Hazland opined that the state Pakatan Harapan (PH) leader was trying to mislead Sarawakians when he remarked that the recent statement made by the Minister of Education concerning the use of English in national schools was just a restatement of the position of the law passed by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government under the 1966 Education Act.

“Several political leaders of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) have all made it abundantly clear that Sarawak has taken offence at the Education Minister’s misguided statement because even if the various Education Acts have been passed and supported by Sarawak Barisan Nasional MPs at the time, it does not mean that they are applicable or have effect in Sarawak unless and until the state legislature has endorsed it,” said Dr Hazland in a statement today.

Dr Hazland chided Chong, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, for attempting to protect his political masters in the peninsula when he knew full well that the Education Minister was misguided or ignorant of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the IGC Report.

“The National Language Act 1963/1967 (Act 32) which states that Bahasa Malaysia is the official language has not come into force in East Malaysia because an enactment/ordinance has to be passed in the state legislature. Sarawak has never terminated the usage of English language as our official language as stated in the Cobbold Commission Report IGC (Inter-Governmental Committee) Report and Article 161(3) of the Federal Constitution,” argued Dr Hazland.

Dr Hazland challenged Chong to state if he knew the IGC report was part of the MA63, signed by the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo (now Sabah) and Sarawak, and to be read together with the MA63.

Dr Hazland said Article VIII of the MA63 and paragraph 17(1) of the IGC Report clearly state that the present policy and system of administration of education in Sabah and Sarawak (including their present Ordinances) should be undisturbed and remain under the control of the government of the state until that government otherwise agrees.

“Chong selfishly traded the fundamental rights of all Sarawakians as protected by the MA63 for his own political future within the federal government. This is beyond anyone’s logical comprehension,” said Dr Hazland. — DayakDaily