Malaysiakini Letter

Elected politicians must be fluent in English

Amerul Azry Abdul Aziz
Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | As some say, English is just a language. It can't be used to gauge someone's smartness.

To me, mastering English or any other foreign languages like Arabic, which are not our mother tongue, defines one's willingness to learn.

When you have the willingness to learn foreign languages that are strange to your tongue, you have the higher tendency to be eloquent in the languages than others who don't. 

Unlike other professions that are mostly done behind the scenes, politicians, especially elected ones, can't avoid publicly communicating things and sending messages to the people.

When a politician says things, he will definitely use a certain language that is suitable to audiences. For domestic politicians, only two languages that are suitably communicated publicly: Malay and English.

Being an elected politician doesn't mean that you just need to do weekly walkabouts in your constituencies. 

You need to interact with people in getting your messages, responses, opinions and even wishes sent comprehensively for their digestion.

In today's politics, everything must be communicated. And every communication has to be delivered with languages that are understandable to the public.

What makes a politician's speeches, opinions and dialogues great is a mixture of these two elements — language and content.

Especially in English, words chosen by the politician would convey his intended meanings. Fancy language with no substances is meaningless. 

Even in SPM's English examination, language and content are two important contributions to an essay's total marks. Your essay won't be satisfying if your language and content are not impartially penned.

Great language without quality content is like a lyric with poor music. 

No matter how decent our language is, but without quality contents, our communication is odourless.

Not just world-class politicians like Barrack Obama, but some local politicians have also no regrets about spending thousands of dollars monthly to hire dedicated persons with credentials in communications. 

It is because they are very aware that in politics, great communication defines their relevance.

Regardless of political beliefs, a politician who finds his English is not so fluent needs to improve.

As a leader, being entrusted to carry political mantles, especially one that involves international relations, should strongly motivate politicians to be competent to prove that they are deserved to be elected on the ballot. 

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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