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  • Wartawan Nabalu News

Directives cement the exclusion of other ethnic groups

29 October 2023

By Wartawan Nabalu News

KOTA KINABALU: Sarawak activist Peter John Jaban is strongly opposing Prime Minister Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim's directive regarding the use of the national language, Bahasa Malaysia, where all correspondents that are not in Bahasa Malaysia will be returned to sender.

In a statement, he said that just months ago, Anwar had attempted to win favour with the Sarawak electorate by promoting unity through the slogan 'Segulai Sejalai.' Peter believes that the directive is a step backward and shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the civil service's role in ensuring equal access to rights and services for all communities.

Peter who is also the Deputy President of Global Human Rights Federation Malaysia, expressed his concerns, stating, "We are a country blessed with numerous indigenous languages, many of which are under threat. Sarawak Malays and Kelantanese, for example, speak their own dialects. These languages are a rich source of culture and the mother tongue for many Bumiputera citizens. While the rest of the world strives to preserve this diversity, PM Anwar seems determined to suppress it in the one institution that should be supporting it."

“This kind of directive seems designed to appeal to a core of Malay voters. Even worse, it seems certain to cement the exclusion of other ethnic groups from government service.

Support for all our minority languages is notably absent in the national education policy, and now the government is declaring itself a closed shop when it should be striving to provide equal representation for all citizens. Are they also, for example, going to send back letters from overseas investors in Malaysia who prefer to write in the international language of business, for example?”

“All this, one might suggest, is merely a move to cover the embarrassment of civil servants who are no longer able to converse in any language but their own while the rest of Malaysia,

and especially the Borneo States is continuing to master many tongues. Therefore, I suggest to our Prime Minister that he follow the lead of Sarawak and open the minds of our civil service to its fundamental principle: service to the people, and all the people equally.”


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