NILAI: PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim today urged Malaysians to master the Chinese language as it is the economic language of the region but without sidelining the Malay language.
He said Bahasa Malaysia remained the official language of the country but Malaysians needed to empower themselves with other languages.
“Our challenge is to have more knowledge, a better attitude and being inclusive to raise our standards, ” he said at a seminar organised by the Islamic Youth Movement (Abim) titled “Visions of Islam in New Malaysia”.
The former Abim leader also said there should be no discrimination between different races or classes and that Muslims should speak up when the rich discriminated against the poor.
Anwar made his name as a firebrand student leader in the seventies, when he wielded influence among the youths, mobilising thousands of university students in large-scale anti-government protests.
That was until he was roped in by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was then into his first stint as the nation’s leader to join the ruling Umno in 1981, quickly rising to become Mahathir’s deputy, before the two fell out in 1998.
Following Anwar’s entry into the government, Abim had largely remained apolitical, and concentrated on educational and socio-religious activities, including building Islamic schools and welfare centres.
DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang was also present at the event.
Anwar added that previously he had spoken against certain aspects of the New Economic Policy (NEP) not because he wanted the support of the Chinese and DAP but to improve on the implementation.
“The truth is I had spoken up against NEP since 1979 as it was sidelining the poor and benefiting the rich. Read my speech made at Abim.”
NEP was a social re-engineering and affirmative action programme formulated by the government in the aftermath of the May 13 racial tension.