PETALING JAYA: Those who encourage the use of English at the expense of the Malay language are doing so because they are still trapped in the colonial mindset, says PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.
He said such Malaysians seemed to be embarrassed to use their national language and placed greater importance on English.
“They are behaving like slaves to the former colonial masters despite having been freed from their clutches,” he said in his column in the PAS organ Harakah.
“Ignore the delirious voices which are trying to reduce the importance of the Malay language.”
Hadi said these groups were so bent on promoting English that they conducted meetings and made announcements whether on the ground or in flights using the language.
He added that many signboards, advertisements and road signs, are still in English.
“Even some roads have English names although the majority in the area are not proficient in the language,” he said.
Last month, the government announced that the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) Act 1959 will be amended to enable authorities to take action against those who disrespect the national language, by imposing a fine of up to RM50,000 or a jail term.
DBP chairman Awang Sariyan said these were among the items proposed in the amendments to the act, which is now in the final stage of discussion.
Previously, former international trade and industry minister Rafidah Aziz was among those who criticised the government directive to civil servants to use the Malay language in all local and foreign correspondences.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob defended this move saying it was to strengthen the Malay language. He added that there was also no reason for Malaysians not to be capable of using the national language.
He said countries like France, Germany and Japan had always used their national language and shown the world that they could progress like other countries.