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Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Warisan MP slams proposed fine, imprisonment for ‘disrespecting’ BM


Penampang MP Darell Leiking describes the proposal to slap a hefty fine or imprison those who ‘disrespect’ the national language as ‘ridiculous and dull-witted’.

PETALING JAYA: An opposition MP from Sabah has slammed a proposal to slap a hefty fine or imprison those who “disrespect” the national language, labelling it as “ridiculous”.

“I am holding back vulgarities in my comments – both in English and Malay – over this ridiculous and dull-witted proposal,” a clearly irate Darell Leiking told FMT.

The Penampang MP was referring to a proposal to amend the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Act 1959 to include a RM50,000 fine or imprisonment against those who disrespect the national language.

The proposal was made by the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) board of governors, according to its chairman Awang Sariyan who added that such punishment was meant to evoke “love and patriotism”.

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It was previously reported that the government would amend the DBP Act to allow the statutory body to take action against any violation in the usage of the Malay language, including at the district level.

Leiking, a former federal minister, called on Sabah chief minister Hajiji Noor to affirm that English and Malay would remain the official languages used by the state government.

Hajiji, he said, should emulate Sarawak premier Abang Johari Openg’s firm stance on the matter.

“He should also write an official letter to Dewan Bahasa to leave Sabah alone,” Leiking said, adding that no Sabah MP should even consider voting for such a “brainless” amendment to the law.

Leiking, who last month called for Sabah and its civil service to be left out of a similar proposal for punitive measures to “enforce” the use of Malay in the civil service, said there were more important matters for the government to address.

This included the rising cost of living, investments in the country, and unemployment, he had said.

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Earlier this month, Abang Johari stressed that the Sarawak civil service would continue using English as the official language, alongside Malay.

His comments were in response to a May 24 statement by Chief Secretary to the Government Zuki Ali asking the public service department (JPA) to look into action that could be taken against those who did not take the instructions to strengthen the national language seriously. - FMT

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