KOTA KINABALU: Bahasa Malaysia is Sabah’s official language, affirmed Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.
Speaking to the press after the Supply Bill 2016 presentation at the State Legislative Assembly here yesterday, Salleh said: “This should be given emphasis so that the people will understand that the official language is Bahasa Malaysia in Sabah.
“But this does not mean we do not encourage our people to speak English or other languages; only to clarify the matter of the state’s official language.
“In 1971, the state government at that time submitted an enactment recognising Bahasa Malaysia as the state’s official language and, of course, we’re not the same at all with Sarawak as they have not done so,” added the minister.
Salleh also stressed that in Parliament, the first language spoken would be Bahasa Malaysia, and English could be used with permission from the Speaker.
However at the State Legislative Assembly, matters could both be conveyed in Bahasa Malaysia and English.
When asked whether an amendment to make both languages as the state’s official languages was needed, the former State Legislative Assembly speaker refused to comment, stating that any amendment would be discussed and decided by the state government.
Sarawak recently adopted English as one of the official languages of its administration.
Correspondences and communications between the public and government agencies in Sarawak can now be conducted in English, apart from Bahasa Malaysia.