Include Chinese and Kadazan Dusun in your proposal, GRS leader tells Sabah Pakatan lawmakers

KOTA KINABALU: The Chinese and native Kadazan Dusun languages should also be made as among the official languages of Sabah, says a Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) leader.

Gee Tien Siong said while the proposal by two Sabah Pakatan Harapan lawmakers to make English as the state’s second official language was welcomed, the duo should also include Chinese and Kadazan Dusun as part of their proposal.

"The opposition assemblymen, one with the Hakka mother tongue and the other Kadazan, ended up with both only caring about making a 'foreign language' as Sabah’s official language," he said, in a statement here on Saturday (July 9).

Kadamaian assemblyman Datuk Ewon Benedick (Upko) and Luyang assemblyman Phoong Jin Zhe (DAP) said on Friday (July 8) that they would be proposing English as Sabah’s second official language in the coming state assembly meeting here this month.

In addition, they said, they would also propose to re-set up the Malaysia Agreement Inter-Government Committee (IGC), adding the proposals had been handed over to the State Assembly Speaker earlier Friday.

Gee, who is also the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) vice president, said the lawmakers should learn from Singapore which has four languages - Malay, Chinese, Tamil and English - as its official and equal languages, with Malay as the country’s national language.

"All four languages are used for street names, public signboards and official announcements, among others, in Singapore.

"On top of that, various dialects can be freely spoken among its communities. This is what we can follow, to give proper status and enhance our own local languages," he added.

In their statement on Friday, Benedick and Phoong said their proposals were important as they were related to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) 1962 report.

They believed making English as Sabah’s second official language would also help the people be more progressive and competitive through the mastering of the international language.

Gee, however, reminded all lawmakers, especially in the Opposition, to carry out their jobs seriously with the rakyat in mind instead of doing them for the sake of attracting publicity and political leverage.

He also called on the state government to establish learning institutions on various native ethnic languages in Sabah to enable these endangered languages to continue to thrive in the state.

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