G25: English remains vital in civil service

PETALING JAYA: Punitive measures to enforce Bahasa Malaysia in the civil service and other government-related agencies will cause Malaysia to lose out, says the G25 group of eminent Malays.

The group said that there are many areas in which civil servants may have to communicate in English to reach a common understanding on issues and problems as they arise.

“While G25 supports the importance of Bahasa Malaysia in creating a united nation between the various races that form the country, there must also be recognition of the importance of English as the universal language of the international community in many aspects of daily life,” it said.

The group’s statement is in response to Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Zuki Ali's call for the Public Service Department (JPA) to consider punitive measures to enforce the use of Bahasa Malaysia in the civil service.

Also read: Civil service told to use BM

This includes other government-related agencies, including government-linked companies.

G25 said on Sunday (May 29) that when discussing and analysing issues such as the Covid-19 virus or economic issues faced by the country, related ministers and government officers can analyse the crisis and understand others better by using English.

It said the language is commonly used in international health and financial organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and economic research institutes, including those in Malaysia.

“If punitive action is strictly implemented in the civil service, how do the officers do their work?

The fear factor will lead to complications in conducting meetings and writing policy papers regarding the problems facing the country,” it said.

Also read: Rafidah against punitive measures to ensure BM use in civil service

It added that participation in conferences will be affected, especially in international conferences, with a potential loss of knowledge and wisdom which can be gained from the conferences.

“Should punitive and corrective measures on the excessive use of English be implemented, it will raise the question of whether the government is trying to reverse the modern trend in Malaysian society in the interests of upholding the stature of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language,” it said.

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