What value do we hold to
Bahasa Malaysia as Malaysians?
We may not think much is “what level is my Bahasa Malaysia” and how much do I value such an item of “obscure importance”. This issue has come up recently in an incident whereby it was alleged that a Malaysian immigration officer (I assume a Malay) asked a Malaysian citizen to speak in Bahasa Malaysia during a passport renewal process.
When the applicant told the officer she could not speak Bahasa at all because she had been living in Singapore for many years, the officer was said to have scolded her for not being able to do so. Now, I do not know in what manner was this “scolding” action was said to happen, but I would say that, if true, this is certainly conduct unbecoming of a civil servant to the people of Malaysia.
But as it is, I have no information about such thing. What is certain is that to have one’s passport renewed, the ability to speak Bahasa Malaysia is not a requirement. Nevertheless, any counter service in the government of Malaysia must be in Bahasa Malaysia for all Malaysians, no two ways about It!
As usual, netizens, especially those from one particular news portal, now have a free-for-all wonderful time condemning the minister in charge, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution when he affirmed that Malaysians must use Bahasa Malaysia in dealing at any counter service.
A passable rojak BM is acceptable, so long as one can communicate. If a Bangladeshi worker at a mamak stall can take our orders of teh tarik and nasi goreng ayam kicap very well after just a few months working here, I wonder what excuse would any Malaysian give for not having a rudimentary language of the country he or she was born in.
This shows that perhaps Umno was right all along that non-Malays treat BM as a kind of pariah language.The choice of many to send their children to vernacular schools has also been accused of estranging the race relations in this country. I have always maintained that it is OK for schools to teach justice, goodness, critical thinking and compassion in any language, but one must “master” BM to a certain degree.
I will elucidate a few anecdotes at the private university where I work in order to show that BM is not considered important at all or has very little worth to most non-Malays. In any interview of academic post, I will always test the BM proficiency of any non-Malay candidate. There are a few who are able to answer in acceptable BM, but there are also those who answer in English, not trusting their BM level.
I have never marked down any candidate as it is understood that the promotion is for their abilities to perform research, administration and publication, all in English, anyway! When the candidates asked me why I had “ambushed” them in BM, I simply smiled and said that in Malaysia, when you become Dean or Vice Chancellor, you will have to deal with clerks, officers and top management at the ministry level in Bahasa Malaysia.
I added that you must not only know how to speak the language in a formal manner, you also need to understand the adab or mannerism of the Malay culture. I told these candidates an anecdote where a Chinese Dean was explaining to an MQA officer saying “Kalau awak bagi tahu saya pasal ini borang then saya pun akan isi this form dan bagi pada awak.”
The use of the word “awak” to another person who is not a friend or family member is considered disrespectful. It should have been “maaf, kalau tuan/puan beri tahu saya tentang borang ini, saya akan isikan dan pulangkan kepada tuan/puan”. The word “maaf” is also part of the ensemble of the Malay etiquette even though one has not done anything wrong.
We come now to the question of why Malaysians are exceptionally “brutal” and “kurang adab” to the minister. The Home Affairs Minister has just held this portfolio for one year. Malaysians should understand three important things about management, culture and line of responsibilities.
Firstly, a minister would never talk down against any of the civil servant simply because the minister is a political appointment while the immigration officers are the responsibility of the Ketua Setiausaha Kementerian. Complaints about any civil servant must go through to the KSK for it is he or she that is responsible for hiring, firing and promotion.
Ministers like Saifuddin (above) may disagree on the manner of an immigration officer or the policy of hiring people who are not fluent in two languages and he can change that by making a new policy that would affect future hiring, promotion and firing staff.
New ministers must never make drastic changes to any ministry until they understand the culture and practices of the civil servants as well as comprehend the backgrounds of why things are the way they are. I would assume that any of us who could be appointed in Saifuddin’s shoes will probably take a year or two to settle in and then only make strategic changes with care and cultural decorum.
The civil service is not like a private corporation where the new owner or CEO can fire and hire at their own whims and fancies. I have been observing, speaking, reflecting and writing politics of nation-building for 24 years now.
I once thought that it was the Malays who were mainly at fault for many things in this country. But after one year of the Unity Government rule and two years of PH rule, I begin to think that Malaysians with the power of the internet and anonymity given by certain media portals for government bashing may also be equal in fault to the Malay supremacists that were once within Umno.
But now, I see Islam as a religion being weaponised by PAS and Bersatu, race being radicalised by the same two parties and Malaysians who phrased their opinions in a most sickening and disgusting manner without thought on their own faith and spirituality are the three combo that will destroy this nation.
It does not help that we also have a popular news portal which seems to sell “negative comments in a derogatory manner” as a marketing tool for self advancement. Perhaps in the coming year, Anwar and the Unity Government are not what Malaysians need. Perhaps we Malaysians need a full 5 year dose of Sheraton Movers to perhaps teach us some lessons in spiritual and nation humility. - Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
Malaysia has become accustomed to assessing the government frequently due to the turnover of numerous failed administrations. This fear of being let down again is understandable. Perhaps, let this current government complete its five-year term before deciding on change.
Realistically, we can't continue switching governments annually since the Sheraton Move. This political shift, led by Mahathir, left us with everyone looking out for their own interests and none for the betterment of Malaysia. - Kamsiah Haider
Belajar dari Ovaltine & Planta...
Ahli Majlis Kerja Tertinggi Umno, Isham Jalil bertegas tidak hadir mesyuarat MKT malam tadi sebagai tindakan protes terhadap kepimpinan parti itu. Sebagai tindak balas, MKT membuat keputusan memecat beliau. Pecat sudah jadi modus operandi harian parti itu. Boleh jadi lebih ramai kena pecat atau undur diri daripada masuk jadi ahli.
Laporan media massa arus perdana berkata, Isham bertegas untuk kekal dengan pendiriannya tidak hadir mesyuarat selagi Presiden Umno, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi kekal dengan pendirian menyertai pilihan raya bersama DAP. Dalam bahasa paling mudah, Isham buat tuntutan yang tidak berpatutan. Kalau Umno tidak menempel dengan DAP, macam mana hendak jadi sebahagian daripada kerajaan?
Kalau tidak jadi sebahagian daripada kerajaan, macam nama Ahmad Zahid hendak jadi Timbalan Perdana Menteri? Kalau tidak jadi Timbalan Perdana Menteri, bolehkah dapat DNAA ke atas kes prima facie? Senang lah Isham cakap. Dia bukan Presiden Umno, bukan Ahli Parlimen dan yang penting sekali dia tidak dibicarakan di mahkamah atas apa-apa pun kes.
Kalau Umno kuat macam sebelum Pilihan Raya Umum 2018, bolehlah gebang. Misalnya, seburuk-buruk keputusan PRU 2013, ia masih boleh membentuk kerajaan.Tetapi selepas PRU 2018, Umno-BN tidak ada harapan berada di sebelah kerajaan kalau bukan dengan merampas kuasa melalui persekongkolan dengan Bersatu, Pas dan serpihan PKR atau bersekedudukan dengan DAP dalam Kerajaan pimpinan Anwar Ibrahim.
Bagi saya, sama ada Umno menempel dengan DAP atau tidak, selagi ia di bawah kepemimpinan sekarang, susah nak pulih. Tengoklah keputusan Pilihan Raya Kecil Parlimen Kemaman 2 November lepas. Mana ada DAP di Kemaman? Kalau ada pun berapa kerat sangat. Tapi Umno kalah juga walaupun letak bekas jeneral dan Pakatan Harapan tak bertanding macam masa PRU tahun lalu.
Pengundi bukan tolak bekas jeneral. Dia bukan buat salah apa pun. Malah dia berjasa kepada negara. Yang pengundi tolak adalah Umno dan pemimpinnya. Ikut cerita beberapa orang wartawan kanan media arus perdana, Perdana Menteri sudah sedar hal ini. Kekalahan teruk Umno di Kemaman selepas kalah teruk dalam pilihan raya negeri (PRN) 12 Ogos lalu mengukuhkan bukti yang ia bukan rakan kongsi yang boleh diharapkan untuk menarik sokongan pengundi Melayu.
Akhir kalam, pemimpin muda dan penggiat Umno yang berasa mereka boleh menyelamatkan parti itu, elok baca cerita mengenai kejatuhan Ovaltine dan Planta. Orang tua sudah tahu. - a.kadir jasin
Biden can put a stop to this slaughter of children in Gaza.It is not that he doesn't have the leverage to stop Israhell.Thus, more babies who have nothing to do with this war will be slaughtered...