KUCHING: English has always been the official language of Sarawak based on Article 161(1) and (2) of the Federal Constitution and Article 2(c) of the Malaysian Agreement 1963.
Pointing this out, Democratic Action Party (DAP) Petra Jaya Youth publicity secretary Abdul Aziz Isa said the National Language Act was also never extended to Sarawak.
He called on Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim — social and cultural advisor to the government, former minister Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir and Pertubuhan Peribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) president Datuk Ibrahim Ali to get their facts straight. According to Abdul Aziz, it is the right of elected MPs from Sarawak and Sabah to speak in English in Parliament.
“Umno itself stands for United Malay Nation Organisation, why don’t they change it to Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu (Perkembar)?” he questioned in a press statement.
“They should tell their Malay counterparts in Umno to use Malay acronym instead of English acronym if they are so chauvinist on this matter.”
He called for Ibrahim Ali, Rais Yatim, Abdul Kadir Syed Fadzil to be banned from entering Sarawak along with others who criticise Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s move to use English along with Bahasa Malaysia as an official language of the state. Fighting for English as an official language does not make Sarawakians less patriotic, added Abdul Aziz.
Instead, he said it makes Sarawakians more patriotic because they want to see the state stand equally competent at international level.
“If the use of English in Sarawak’s government affairs is unconstitutional (according to Ibrahim Ali), then what language should we use that is truly fair to every ethnic group in Sarawak?
“Definitely, the English language seems to be the fairest of all the languages we have in Sarawak. It seems quite natural for Sarawakians to speak in English as it is the most acceptable language we use daily,” he argued.