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KUCHING, Nov 4: Federation of Chinese Associations in Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions president Datuk Richard Wee says Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz is a hypocrite.
The Chinese community leader called on all Sarawakians to stand united in condemning Nazri for the latter’s statement that learning English will threaten Bahasa Malaysia.
Wee said all Sarawakians whether they are ministers, common people, BN politicians or from the opposition, should all come out to speak against Nazri for his statement on the English language which Wee believed was uncalled for someone holding the portfolio of Tourism and Culture Minister.
“If the statement was made by some extremist people, then we can understand. However, it is from Nazri, who has been promoting Malaysia as a multiracial, multi-religious and multi-lingual country where diversity is celebrated.
“Yet here he is, now, saying that English is a threat to Bahasa Malaysia and that English language advancement should be stopped. To me, he is a hypocrite,” Wee told DayakDaily today.
Wee said learning English did not mean that Malaysians must stop learning Bahasa Malaysia. The two may go hand-in-hand as proven by the many successful cases embodied by Sarawakian leaders such as Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and many others who are fluent in more than one language, being bi-lingual or even trilingual.
“Some of my American clients are so impressed with Sarawakians who can handle more than one language. We can speak Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin and our dialects.
“We can learn more than one language at one time. It is like chewing gum while working. It does not mean that when you chew gum, you stop everything completely and just sit there to chew gum,” said Wee.
He said Malaysians should not only master English while learning Bahasa Malaysia, but go one step further to learn Mandarin.
“The fact that Nazri tries to belittle English and views the learning of English as an attack on Bahasa Malaysia shows that he is a shortsighted leader,” said Wee.
On Oct 31, during 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