PETALING JAYA: An MP has urged PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang to give up his government position, and said politicians who discourage mastery of other languages should not be allowed to hold influential positions.
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said PAS and Hadi held “myopic views” which could erode Malaysia’s competitive advantage. “Those promoting such narrow views are trapped in an obsolete mindset,” he said.
Yii’s remarks came in response to a statement by Hadi that those who lobbied for greater use of English were “stuck in a colonial mindset”.
Yii said “narrow nationalistic sentiments” were often used to cover up the inadequacies of political leaders or to distract the public from issues such as the rising cost of living.
Hadi, who is the prime minister’s special envoy to the Middle East, had said in a Harakah column that Malaysians who promote the use of English at the expense of Malay seemed to be embarrassed about the national language.
“They are behaving like slaves to the former colonial masters despite having been freed from their clutches,” he said.
However, Yii said English was the international language of diplomacy, business, commerce, science, medicine, and other key areas and those who disparaged the use of English “could cause us to move backwards”.