Wong defends Adenan’s move to use English as an official language

KUCHING: It is ridiculous to claim that using English as an official language besides Bahasa Malaysia in the state will cause disunity in the nation.

Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh said this yesterday when responding to criticisms against Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s decision to allow English as the alternative official language in the state.

He pointed out that the position of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language would never be compromised by making English another official language for official communication in the state and it would remain the unifying factor in the multi-racial Malaysian society.

“Our chief minister had already stressed that Bahasa Malaysia will still remain the official language in the state.

“No one can question Sarawak’s right to use English as the alternative official language as it is stated clearly in the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and we never gave up that right.”

Wong also urged those against the state using English as an official language to look at the practical side of the decision.

He said the proficiency level of English in the nation had plummeted over the years because the language had been consigned to the fringes of our education system.

“We are now paying the price of this neglect of English in our school system as many of our graduates are unemployable because they can hardly communicate in English.

“As much as we love and respect Bahasa Malaysia as our national language, we cannot ignore the fact that English is the universal language and to keep up with the latest development in science, management and all other fields we must be proficient in that language.”

Wong added that Adenan had already explained that he was being practical and pragmatic in allowing English to be an official language in the state.

“Reinstating the importance of English at official level is the most effective and practical way to raise the level of the language in the state.

“His decision was in no way meant to be disrespectful of Bahasa Malaysia but was a move to help us keep up with the best in the world.”

Wong called on all Sarawakians to support Adenan in facing the critics of his decision.-Borneo Post

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