Sarawak has the right to use English as an official language

QUICK TAKE: The official language of the country is Bahasa Malaysia but there is no restriction by the federal government for Sarawak to use English as one of its official languages.

Unlike her East Malaysian neighbour Sabah who gave up that right when it signed it away in 1971, Sarawak had never signed an ordinance to use only Bahasa Malaysia in official correspondence.

Chief Minister Adenan Satem must be the most popular politician in the state for taking this strong stance on the usage and acceptance of English in official correspondence with the government.

In short, he is saying that there is nothing wrong in using more than one official language.

That right to use English and Bahasa Malaysia jointly as the State's official languages was documented in the Malaysia Agreement during the formation of the country in 1963.

And absolutely right is he in explaining that the usage of English as one of the official languages in the state is to improve the level of proficiency among Sarawakians in meeting the demands of the job market.

"Sarawakians should realise that to be employed by international companies which offer employees good salaries, they must have a high command of English,” he said.

He made that comment in his speech at the closing of Forum Belia Tegas 2015 organised by Sarawak Bumiputra Technical Education Promotion Charitable Trust (Tegas) for more than 1,000 youths from across the state.

Adenan has struck a sweet chord with most Sarawakians on this issue as many had openly praised him for his bold and correct decision in insisting on using English as an official language alongside Bahasa Malaysia.

We seldom see such display of support for a state BN leader of late. Many view the state BN leaders as 'proxies of Umno' or Putrajaya and are distrustful of their motives, especially after two decades of experience under the not so popular 'Taib regime'.

Adenan appears like a breath of fresh air. He promised and he delivered – in most of them. But more importantly, he dared to defy the Umno leadership on such sensitive matters like race, religion, language and education. He is the voice that Sarawakians have been desperately crying out for.

But will Adenan follow through on this and table a resolution in the coming State Legislative Assembly sitting to proclaim English as the official language of Sarawak alongside Bahasa Malaysia till kingdom come?

Sarawakians need that assurance that it is here to stay, even if Adenan decides to call it a day.

Too many promises have been made prior to elections only to remain unfulfilled thereafter.

While we trust Adenan, we have doubts about the sincerity of some of our federal Leaders in the Umno-led government.

Experience had taught us many bitter lessons.

Until that is passed and accepted by the State Legislative Assembly, it is still words and promises.

Adenan knows Sarawakians better and what we want.

We believe he will do the right thing – before the elections, of course.

English will be an official language alongside Bahasa Malaysia, exclusively for Sarawak.

He wouldn't disappoint us, will he?-The Ant Daily

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