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By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Sept 7: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing wants Malaysian politicians who do not speak fluent English to hire an interpreter when addressing an English speaking audience.
Masing in a statement today said there is nothing to be embarrassed about in not being able to speak fluent English, adding that foreign ministers also spoke in their own mother tongue when addressing foreign delegates.
“Fluency in English is not the benchmark of intelligence. The sooner Malaysian politicians understand this, the better it is for them.
“The atrocious delivery of their speeches in English (if they were not an edited version to embarrass them) made me cringe,” he said.
Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, cited an experience whereby he was briefed by an Italian Minister using Italian while on a working visit to Italy a few years ago.
He said the Minister, who obtained an engineering degree in London could speak perfect English but chose to use an interpreter to brief him and the Malaysian delegates.
Masing believed the Minister used an interpreter to brief the Malaysian delegates because it gave the latter time to think of answers to the Malaysian delegates’ questions.
“It’s a smart ploy to give him time. Our Malaysian politicians must use this when addressing an English speaking audience.
“Head of State like (Emmanuel) Macron of France, (Vladimir) Putin of Russia, President Xi (Jinping) of China always deliver their speeches in their mother tongue. I am sure they speak and read English,” said Masing. — DayakDaily