KUCHING, Nov 4: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing says Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz himself is a living example of a bilingual individual.
This is the reason why Masing cannot comprehend how a person who is fluent in both English and Bahasa Malaysia could have made the statement that the advancement of one language might cause the other to deteriorate.
“I do not believe that learning English will cause Bahasa Malaysia to decline. Learning languages or learning itself is not a zero-sum game, that when you learn one, you totally unlearn the other.
“Learning English and Bahasa Malaysia can go concurrently without one becoming an obstacle to the other,” said Masing, who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister.
Masing was responding to the latest statement made by Nazri on how the advancement of English had caused Bahasa Malaysia to decline.
Citing Nazri himself as an example, Masing said the minister is proficient in both Bahasa Malaysia and English language.
“Nazri himself is an example of an individual who is proficient in both languages. So Nazri’s argument that learning English is detrimental to Bahasa Malaysia is therefore, paradoxical to his own argument,” said Masing.
The Parti Rakyat Sarawak president reminded Nazri of how knowing another language had opened the latter’s door to another culture and how he had benefitted from that culture.
Masing reiterated that English is the lingua franca and it is also the language of education and business which Malaysians should not ignore or neglect.
On Oct 31, at the launch of National Language Month 2017 at the Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (Aswara), Nazri had urged Malaysians to fight against the deterioration of Bahasa Malaysia.
Quoting a Unesco report on language endangerment, Nazri said English was a threat to ethnic cultures and languages and that Malaysians had to protect the national language by stopping the widespread advancement of English in Malaysia.
According to Nazri, English although important is not a language that guarantees progress and he blamed private sectors such as developers and advertisers for the advancement of English. — DayakDaily