Mahathir was referring specifically to certain quarters who rejected the English language by holding on to the mistaken notion that learning foreign languages went against the spirit of nationalism. He said such an outdated mindset would result in Malaysians remaining laggards.
The time has come for Malaysians to show a more open and enlightened attitude towards language, particularly mother-tongue languages of Malaysians by recognising them as part of Malaysian languages.
This is why the DAP had always called for literature written by Malaysians, regardless of the language it is written, whether Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, Tamil or even English, to be recognised as part of Malaysian literature so long as they are Malaysian-centred.
Radio and television channels should similarly be more accommodating and sensitive to the needs and demands of different communities to have more programmes in their mother-tongue languages, which should not be regarded as against national unity efforts but as a manifestation of the rich multi-cultural diversity in Malaysia, which is being emphasised as one of the national advantages in the international promotion of the Multi-Media Super Corridor by the Prime Minister himself.