Politics

Guan Eng continues to be under fire for statements in Mandarin

Lim Guan Eng defends the use of Mandarin in the government's official statement

Lim Guan Eng defends the use of Mandarin in the government's official statement

KUALA LUMPUR – June 25, 2018: Scathing criticisms against Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng continue to be heard today after he defended his decision to issue ministerial statements in Mandarin.

According to former Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, what Lim has done shows to Malaysians his party’s (DAP) contradictory nature.

“That’s DAP for you,” said Khairy, when asked about the Lim’s press statements in Mandarin last week on the Tun Razak Exchange project in addition to those in Bahasa Malaysia and English.

“On the day he was appointed finance minister he said he was not a Chinese but a Malaysian finance minister and now he’s issuing statements in Chinese.

“If you are a Malaysian, then just issue your statements in Bahasa Malaysia. What is wrong with that? Every Malaysian understands Bahasa Malaysia,” commented Khairy.

The controversy was highlighted yesterday after a screen-grab of the Mandarin press statement went viral on social media.

In responding to the backlash, Lim, in another statement also in Mandarin earlier today, said he was merely exercising his constitutional rights to use any language he wished as per Article 152 (1) of the federal Constitution.

However, this was rebutted by others who cited Article 152 (6) of the Constitution which requires the use of Bahasa Malaysia for official government matters.

Lawyer Azhar Harun, popularly known as Art Harun, said Lim’s argument showed how arrogant he was.

“Quite the contrary dear minister…. under the federal Constitution, the official language is Bahasa Malaysia.

“You are issuing a press statement and conducting a press conference is part of discharging your official duties.

“You are really pushing it…. there is a limit to ‘new Malaysia’. What Malaysian official issues statement in Mandarin when the official language is Bahasa Malaysia (you see, I am not even calling it Bahasa Melayu),” said Azhar.

“Don’t be stupid; after all you were the one who so proudly proclaimed “I am not Chinese, I am Malaysian. You are showing the wrong signal. The wrong attitude,” remarked Azhar.

Johor Umno chief Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin demanded that Lim apologise, while describing the minister as rude while his decision humiliated and degraded the status of the national language.

“This is a tragedy to Bahasa Melayu,” said Khaled, adding that the government should be more sensitive and careful.

“And as a reminder, the apology must be in Bahasa Melayu,” said Khaled.

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Zaidi Azmi and Ahirul Ahirudin