Federation writes to Premier and State Secretary to object use of ‘总督 zong du’

Dato Richard Wee

By Lian Cheng 

KUCHING, March 3: The Federation of Chinese Associations Sarawak has officially written to both the Office of the Premier of Sarawak and the State Secretary’s Office to express its strong protest against the use of the Chinese term ‘总督 zong du’ as the translation for the designation of ‘Premier’ which was passed recently by the Sarawak Legislative Assembly to replace that of ‘Chief Minister’.  

Federation of Chinese Associations Sarawak president Dato Richard Wee said the federation was disappointed with the Chinese term proposed by the Malaysia Chinese Language Standardisation Council.  


He reiterated that  ‘总督 zong du’ is equivalent to the word ‘governor’ in English and the term was used when Sarawak was a British colony, thus rendering it an underlying connotation of the colonial era.

To him, ‘总理 zong li’ should be the right term as it is the Chinese translation used for the chief executive of states of Canada, Australia and other commonwealth countries.

“The term is especially suitable since the fact that Sarawak’s initial choice for ’premier’ to replace ‘chief minister’ was modelled after both countries,” Wee told DayakDaily.

Wee further pointed out the fundamental difference between  ‘总督 zong du’ and ‘总理 zong li’ is that the former is an appointed position while the latter, a position elected by the people.  

“If the term ‘总督 zong du’ is adopted, it will lead to the demeaning status of Sarawak instead of reclaiming its rightful place within the Federation of Malaysia, in accordance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and other historical but binding documents.

“So we strongly object to the use of ‘总督 zong du’ as the Chinese translation of ‘Premier’.  We propose ‘总理 zong li’ instead. We urge the Malaysia Chinese Language Standardisation Council to study and look into Sarawak’s historical background and its political and social aspects before expressing a view that may cause a general uneasiness among the Chinese community in Sarawak,” said Wee.

He said the federation as the high umbrella body of all the Chinese Associations in Sarawak, will continue to act as the bridge between the Sarawak government the Chinese community, especially in important and significant issues such as this one.   

Meanwhile, he said being proud Sarawakians, the federation gave full support to the Sarawak Legislative Assembly’s recent decision to change of designation of ‘Chief Minister’ to ‘Premier’.  — DayakDaily