GEORGE TOWN: DAP’s P Ramasamy has come to the defence of Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng over the use of Mandarin in a media statement released on Facebook recently.
Lim’s use of the Chinese language has been a subject of debate on whether he had committed a faux pas by not using Bahasa Malaysia, the national language, as a federal minister.
Ramasamy, who is also Penang deputy chief minister, said what Lim had done was innocuous and was a standard fare when he was Penang chief minister.
“He is not ignorant of Bahasa. He had issued statements in BM, English and Chinese together. I am certain that he has accepted BM as the national language and did not mean any disrespect.
“What is the big deal? I think this making a mountain out of a molehill is the work of sore losers from Umno. This is much ado about nothing.
“Also, why are people singling out Mandarin? Maybe I should call Guan Eng to have a translation of his statements in Tamil as well then,” he told FMT.
Ramasamy called on all critics to look at the bigger picture and not be dragged down by petty statements with racial overtones by certain quarters.
Lim was accused of undermining the national language after he issued a ministerial statement written only in Mandarin.
But the DAP secretary-general dismissed his critics and vowed to continue using Chinese besides Malay and English, saying it was a reflection of the government’s recognition of multilingualism and globalisation.
“The new Malaysia is an inclusive, respectful and diverse country. While safeguarding the status of Malay as the official language, we also need to master the use of other languages in order to increase our competitiveness,” he said.