MPs ‘must improve their command of Bahasa’

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 16 Sep 2004

THE House was fired up over who had a better command of the Malay language.  

It started with a proposal from Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BN – Kinabatangan) to include a provision in the Election Commission Act requiring wakil rakyat to be good and articulate in Malay. 

“How can a wakil rakyat play an effective role in delivering government policies and messages to the public when he is unable to communicate well in Malay?” he said when debating the Budget 2005. 

At this juncture, Fong Poh Kuan (DAP – Batu Gajah) demanded that Bung Moktar reveal the name of the MP with a poor command of Bahasa Malaysia. 

“We know very well that it is difficult to follow some of their arguments,” Bung Moktar said. 

“An MP must be able to speak clearly so others can understand him, unlike our friend from Bukit Mertajam (DAP's Chong Eng).” 

This triggered protests from the opposition with Fong and Teresa Kok (DAP – Seputeh) demanding Bung Moktar retract his statement. 

“Just now you were brave enough to say ministers, deputy ministers and parliamentary secretaries were not fluent in Malay but now you are diverting the attention,” Fong said. 

Deputy Speaker Datuk Lim Si Cheng calmed the House by announcing: “The time is up for Yang Berhormat from Kinabatangan to present his debate speech.”  

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