(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Parliament Speaker, Tun Mohd Zahir Ismail has
suggested that English be partly used in future Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara
proceedings in an effort to improve the command of the language among leaders.
He said that at present the National Language
Act and the Dewan’s Standing Orders did not allow for members to use English
except to quote special references.
One workable way to encourage command of English
among leaders and Malaysians is to allocate in Parliament and the State
Assemblies one day for every meeting whether lasting two weeks or two months
where English is used.
This should be part of a nation-wide campaign to
encourage Malaysians to master the English
language in order to restore partially the
high standard in the language which Malaysians had lost in the past quarter of a
century – with great cost to Malaysia’s international competitiveness in the
era of globalisation, liberalization and information and communications
The proposal to allocate one day for every
Parliamentary and State Assembly
meeting for the use of English language is and should not be seen as a
dimunition or detraction of the status of Bahasa Malaysia as the official and
national language – which is not questioned in any manner but reflection of a
more open, relaxed and self-confident manner by Malaysians in dealing with the
complex challenges of the 21 century.