KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad did not answer directly of why the Malaysian police officers have to use English in their daily briefings and operations as reported by the “Malay Mail” yesterday.
Dr. Mahathir said: “Sometimes we use Arabic language so that those who listen do not understand…and we do not know whether the translation is correct or not. When we communicate with people in whatever language, most importantly they understand what we are talking about.
“When they do not understand it very well, sometimes we are forced to speak in Arabic for those or knows the language very well,” he said cynically at the Parliament question and answer session today.
He said that to a question posed by Member of Parliament (MP) Kubang Kerian, Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man who wanted him (Tun Dr. Mahathir) to comment on yesterday’s Malay Mail report on the usage of English by the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) in its daily operations and briefings.
Malay Mail reported that Dr. Mahathir has previously directed the Inspector General of Police, Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun to enhance the force’s command of English and bring it on par with the rest of the world.
Earlier to that Dr. Mahathir said the Federal Constitution fulfils the demands to protect Bahasa Melayu as the national language. Despite of that, sometimes a translation is being used but still the written Bahasa Melayu version is accepted as official.
“Whether the translation is correct or not its status remains unofficial. Only documents written in Bahasa Melayu could be used in the courts,” he said.
Dr. Mahathir added, sometimes people used English or other languages to explain something which was not understood especially when foreigners were present in a gathering/meeting.
“We have to make sure that the foreigners who come to the country and not conversant in Bahasa Melayu will understand what have been said. For that some have used English, Tamil or Mandarin but the explanations are not official,” Dr. Mahathr said.
The Prime Minister of Pakatan Harapan Government was answering to a question raised by Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (Lenggong MP) that it was reported, several ministries have used Mandarin and Tamil in its government’s official letters. This is not following the National Language Act 1963/67 under Section 2 that says Bahasa Melayu should be used for official purposes.
Meanwhile Datuk Seri Dr. Santhara Kumar a/l Ramanaidu (Segamat MP) asked Dr. Mahathir on what language should be used in condolences and congratulations messages to foreign countries? For example a condolence message has been sent to India in English and Tamil language.
Dr. Mahathir said, in an inter-national communication, it is very important that the meaning of the letter is well understood by the receiver.
“I have received many letters for example from the Eskimos. They have given me the interpretation in English, if not I cannot understand. This is a normal practice but the official document is in their national language.
“The national language for Malaysia is Bahasa Melayu and when writing an official letter have it in Bahasa Melayu and translate it to English,” he said.- Malaysia World News