PETALING JAYA: The Penang government should declare English as its second official language and Mandarin as its future third language, said a PKR assemblyman.
Kebun Bunga assemblyman Jason Ong said Penang residents were highly proficient in English, and civil servants in the state should not be penalised for using the language.
His comments came after Sarawak premier Abang Johari Openg defended the state government’s decision to continue to use English as an official language alongside Malay, saying it was in line with the Federal Constitution.
In a statement, Ong said the call to use English would not threaten or displace Malay as the national language.
He said the importance of the English language should be acknowledged.
“English is used internationally and it is important for the Penang government to formally recognise this.
“The recent admission of several bright Penang students to world-class universities is proof that the English language needs to be given due recognition in our society, especially since Penang was once a Straits Settlement.”
Last month, chief secretary to the government Zuki Ali urged the public service department (JPA) to look into action that could be taken against those who did not take instructions to strengthen the national language seriously.