‘Don’t discourage use of English’

30/5/2022 2:31:00 AM

'Don't discourage use of English'

'Don't discourage use of English'

PETALING JAYA: Punitive measures to enforce Bahasa Malaysia in the civil service and government-related agencies will cause Malaysia to lose out, says the G25 group of eminent Malays.

G25 said that there were many areas in which civil servants may have to communicate in English to reach a common understanding of issues and problems as they arise.× Copy URL G25 says the call by the chief secretary to the government for punitive action to enforce the use of the national language in public service is draconian and regressive.× Copy URL Former minister Rafidah Aziz says if Malaysia's inward-looking mindset persists, with penalties imposed for communicating with the rest of the world in English instead of Bahasa Malaysia, the country will be the bureaucratic pariah of Asean..

“While G25 supports the importance of Bahasa Malaysia in creating a united nation between the various races that form the country, there must also be recognition of the importance of English as the universal language of the international community in many aspects of daily life.” The group was responding to Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Zuki Ali’s call for the Public Service Department to consider punitive measures to enforce the use of Bahasa Malaysia in the civil service.THE call by the chief secretary to the government for punitive action to enforce the use of the national language in public service is draconian and regressive, and would see Malaysia fall out of favour with foreigners and international investors, G25, a group of former civil servants, said.He added that government-linked companies and companies limited by guarantee must ensure that efforts to uphold the Malay language were always strengthened.She said civil servants should instead be raising their proficiency in English, including other relevant languages.Zuki also said the corrective and punitive action, apart from reprimand based on language audits, was not intended to intimidate, but rather to ensure that Bahasa Malaysia as the national language is not used arbitrarily.Effective July 2018, access to full reports will only be available with a subscription.G25, however, said that when discussing and analysing issues such as the Covid-19 virus or economic issues faced by the country, the relevant ministers and government officers could analyse the crisis and understand others better by using English.

It said the language is commonly used in international health and financial organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and economic research institutes, including those in Malaysia.“If punitive action is strictly implemented in the civil service, how do the officers do their work? “The fear factor will lead to complications in conducting meetings and writing policy papers regarding the problems facing the country,” it said in a statement yesterday.It added that participation in international conferences will be affected with a potential loss of knowledge and wisdom that can be gained from such events.“Should punitive and corrective measures on the excessive use of English be implemented, it will raise the question of whether the government is trying to reverse the modern trend in Malaysian society in the interests of upholding the stature of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language,” it said.Meanwhile, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz said other Asean countries may not respond well if Malaysian civil servants were forced to use Bahasa Malaysia when corresponding with the international community.

“If this mindset of being inward-looking persists, with even penalties imposed for not communicating with the rest of the world in Bahasa Malaysia, then we will be the bureaucratic pariahs in Asean,” she said in a statement on Saturday.Rafidah, a former international trade and industry minister, said during her tenure at the ministry, she had asked for all of its communications be conducted in English to ensure efficiency in the delivery of its services.“Every year, the private sector honoured Miti (the ministry) with its annual enterprise award,” she said.She added that she sympathised with Miti officers and others who had to deal with the international community should they be forced to comply with the use of Bahasa Malaysia in all official matters.She also said Malaysia’s civil servants’ competence in English used to be a key driver in attracting high-quality foreign investments.

“The vision and reference point was ‘Malaysia in the regional and global infrastructure’.Not Malaysia in its own ‘syok sendiri’ (self-indulgent), tiny, self-wound cocoon,” she added.Article type: free.

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We have been regressive as a nation. Period.

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COMMENT | Reconsider punitive measures against civil servants who use EnglishM'sia will have much to lose if country regresses in English mastery. That’s what they did in Ukraine , banned Russian promoted their language All because someone with turtle brain can’t speak English imposing such a rule that making a laughing stock to the world!

G25: English remains vital in civil servicePETALING JAYA: Punitive measures to enforce Bahasa Malaysia in the civil service and other government-related agencies will cause Malaysia to lose out, says the G25 group of eminent Malays.

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