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KUCHING, July 4: Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang is outdated, says political pundit Dato Peter Minos when highlighting the absurdity of the Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) president’s statement that those encouraging the use of the English language over Bahasa Malaysia are stuck in a colonial mindset.
Minos, who is also the Kota Samarahan Municipal Council (MPKS) chairman, said Sarawak simply cannot accept nor comprehend the silly and absurd ideas coming from certain peninsula leaders.
Apart from Abdul Hadi, Minos was also referring to Barisan Nasional (BN) deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan who suggested during a function in Sabah on July 2 that BN Sabah leadership propose a “new” Malaysia Agreement in realising Sabah’s rights and demands enshrined under MA63.
“If those from PAS do not like English and want to be left behind, that is their choice. We want none of it.
“We in Sarawak must master English to advance and progress in this modern world of globalisation with stiff competition,” he said in a statement today.
Minos emphasised that mastering or using the English language is neither unpatriotic nor reflects being stuck in a colonial mindset because the language is important for advancement and to improve people’s lives as well as that of the country.
“We want to catch up with the world and English is one major instrument to do that. If PAS and the group can progress without English, good luck to them,” he added.
On July 3, a national news portal reported Abdul Hadi as describing Malaysians who favour the English language as behaving “like slaves to the former colonial masters despite having been freed from their clutches” in his column in PAS organ Harakah.
Abdul Hadi even urged people to ignore so-called delirious voices trying to reduce the importance of the Malay language.
He also pointed out that many signboards, advertisements and road signs are still in English.
Meanwhile, on May 24 the Chief Secretary to the Federal Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali said he hoped the Public Service Department would consider taking action against those who did not take instructions to use the Bahasa Malaysia language in the civil service seriously.
Last month, the federal government also announced that the Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka (DBP) Act 1959 will be amended to enable authorities to take action against those who disrespect the national language, by imposing a fine of up to RM50,000 or a jail term.
Despite all this, Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg had on June 18 during the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Convention made it clear that Bahasa Malaysia will always remain as the official national language, but Sarawak has the right to use English as a second official language under the Federal Constitution.
Asserting that Sarawak is not against the national policy, Abang Johari also sounded a wake-up call to critics to be practical about the use of the English language, more so in this highly digital world and as Sarawak transitions into a new economy. — DayakDaily