PETALING JAYA: DAP's position in upholding Bahasa Malaysia as the national language has never changed, said its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng amid the uproar over the use of a Chinese and English attachment to an official letter in Malay by a city councillor in Johor.
Lim said DAP upholds the National Language Acts 1963/67 and the Federal Constitution which cemented the position of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language.
"I think our position on Bahasa Malaysia as the national language has never changed and we uphold the National Language Acts.
"At the same time, we look at Article 152 (of the Federal Constitution) which states that other languages can also be used but we must have the national language," he told reporters after the Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) 70th anniversary dinner here on Wednesday (Sept 26).
The National Language Acts stated that the national language is to be used for official purposes but that the government has the right to use any translation in other languages if deemed necessary.
Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar had voiced his annoyance on Tuesday (Sept 25) after the issue of an Iskandar Puteri City Council (MBIP) member allegedly issuing an official letter in Chinese and English blew up online.
The letter had been written by the councillor to ask residents to come for a discussion on road restructuring.
His Majesty said that any official letter involving the state government or local authorities in Johor must be written in Bahasa Malaysia.
However, later on Tuesday (Sept 25), two Johor leaders clarified that the official letter supposedly in Chinese and English that had upset the Sultan of Johor, had actually been written in Malay.
Perling assemblyman Cheo Yee How clarified that the official letter was written in Bahasa Malaysia, while the one in English and Mandarin was just the attachment to the official invite.
Tan Hong Pin, the Johor state exco for Local Government, Science and Technology also explained that there were irresponsible people who were trying to create an issue by just circulating the Chinese and English attachment of the letter while withholding the fact that the actual letter was in Malay.
“This irresponsible act must be stopped immediately so that racial harmony can be maintained in Johor,” said Tan.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday (Sept 26) Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa also urged that DAP come out with a statement of its position on the use Bahasa Malaysia as the official language.
In response, Lim, who is also Finance Minister, said Annuar should state Umno’s position on issues such as (the alleged corruption of) 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the RM9.41bil Multi-Product Pipeline (MPP) and Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP) jobs and the missing Goods and Services (GST) refund money.
"He should also answer why they leave only RM450mil to the new government.
"Are you going to say that it has nothing to do with Umno?" Lim said.
He said that DAP fights for the interest of all Malaysians.
"We should reject parties who only fight for one race, one community or one religion and takes very extremist views on these issues," he said.
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