Nazri, what’s your problem with English?

Opinion  |  Francis Paul Siah
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | It seems that Culture and Tourism Minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz is not a very popular figure in Sarawak. He has ruffled the feathers of many Sarawakians of late.

A few months ago, he had an unpleasant exchange with Sarawak Tourism Minister Abdul Karim Hamzah over the new tourism tax.

Not unexpectedly, Sarawakians rallied behind their minister in the spat, which later saw the state government closing down the tourism centre run by the federal Tourism Ministry in Kuching.

I believe what my fellow Sarawakians took exception to then was Nazri’s personal attack against Abdul Karim, calling him an “inexperienced administrator who has just been appointed a minister”. That is just short of calling the Sarawak minister a schoolboy.

Initially, I didn’t think Nazri was wrong to point out that Karim (photo) should have consulted him on the matter instead of going to the media to express Sarawak’s objection to the new tourism tax.

Karim should have done that as this was a BN cabinet decision. But Nazri, being Nazri, did not stop there. He lashed out at Karim’s personality and that is where Nazri crossed the line, as many had noted.

Hardly had the dust settled when Nazri found himself on the receiving end of a Sarawakian backlash yet again – this time on the subject of English.

Speaking at the National Language Month at the Academi Seri Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (Aswara) recently, Nazri said that English was a threat to Bahasa Malaysia and that “Malaysians have to protect the national language by stopping the widespread advancement of English in the country”.

He also pointed out that English is not a language that guarantees progress, and he blamed the private sector for the advancement of English in Malaysia....

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