KUCHING: English is not a colonial language but the most widely-spoken language today, said Datuk Dr Penguang Manggil.
He said while the national language is Bahasa Malaysia the fact remains that English has become an international lingua franca.
He said the language is widely used in technology, ICT (information and communications technology) as well as in other areas of knowledge in the world.
Penguang, who is Deputy Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government made the assertion on the heels of a recent statement by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang that those pushing for English are stuck in colonial mindsets.
Hadi said such Malaysians seemed to be embarrassed to use their national language and placed greater importance on English.
“He has the right to express his views but we too have the right to think or say what is good for our future, and what is said in our Constitution vis-a-vis the MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 63),” said Penguang.
“As a nation, we have our national language … we do not advocate abdicating our national language, not at all.
“(What) we are saying (is) that we are free to use English,” he told New Sarawak Tribune on Sunday (July 3).
He pointed out that English is a language that is used in ASEAN meetings, meetings with the country’s counterparts in Asia, Middle East, Commonwealth countries, United Nations (UN) and world leaders.
“In my personal view, we will be isolated and perhaps left behind if we insist on speaking a single language in schools and so on.
“We cannot be so secular or inward looking as well as think and forget about the world around us,” Penguang added.
He said people need to be more open and moderate about what needs to be done to advance the country as well as the respective territories.
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