So far of the FOUR DAP members of Cabinet (Guan Eng, Gobind, Kula and Anthony Loke) only Gobind and Anthony Loke have been going about their job with the least controversy.
Anthony Loke made a wonderful statement by telling his staff not to waste time waiting for him or sending him off from anywhere. Just sit in the office and work.
Gobind has made the right statements including about that cancelled or rescheduled Bernama interview with Siti Kassim.
Kulasegaran has now become Menteri U Turn.
My advice for Kula is just talk to the industry players before you make policy statements. Talk to the factories, hypermarts, plantations, unions, whoever and get feedback on how to handle foreign workers, migrant workers, illegal foreign workers etc. It is really quite simple. I have mentioned this before. Maybe Kula did not read my blog.
Now Guan Eng has bungled big time. Guan Eng says releasing official statements in Mandarin by the Ministry of Finance is as per the Federal Constitution.
I dont think so Guan Eng. The Article 152 of our Federal Constitution recognises Malay as our official language. Not only that but for official purposes only Malay is recognised. Here is Article 152 :
152. (1) The national language shall be the Malay language and shall be in such script as Parliament may by law provide:
(a) no person shall be prohibited or prevented from using (otherwise than for official purposes), or from teaching or learning, any other language; and
So Guan Eng's point that the Ministry of Finance can use Mandarin for official statements is patently wrong.
I have a couple of questions for Guan Eng.
1. Who prepared those statements in Mandarin for the MoF?
Is the KSU of the Ministry of Finance (who should vet all the statements to be put out by the Ministry) well versed in Mandarin?
If not, who prepared those Mandarin statements? Did the KSU sign off on the Mandarin statement? Did anyone else OUTSIDE the Ministry of Finance help prepare the Mandarin statement? More questions come up.
2. If the official statement is released in Mandarin, then it has to be translated into Malay / English etc. In the event of any legal disputes, which version is the "source document" - the Mandarin version ?
3. Why was the statement released in Mandarin? The majority of people in Malaysia are not Mandarin speakers. The targeted audience was certainly Mandarin speakers. But since 1957 and even before, Mandarin speakers have been fully satisfied with interacting with the Government in Malay. There have been zero complaints. So why the sudden urge to use Mandarin?
4. ALL Malaysians speak Malay (to varying degrees of fluency). Plus Malay is recognised by the Federal Constitution as the language for official purposes. What is the purpose then of using Mandarin?
The news reports say :
"the DAP secretary-general dismissed his critics and vowed to continue using Mandarin besides Malay and English, saying it was a reflection of the government’s recognition of multilingualism and globalisation."
No this is a serious mistake. In any official capacity, the language is Malay and Malay only.
We need to learn English, Tamil, Hindi, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Thai, Tagalog, Vietnamese etc. And learn to use these other language for trade and industry.
But in Malaysia, the Federal Constitution recognises only Malay as the official language and the Constitution further restricts the usage of Malay only for all official purposes.
It was a mistake. No need to be combative. It is better to apologise quickly. More importantly do not make the same mistake twice.