Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng's decision to issue a trilingual statement on Putrajaya's policy towards the Tun Razak Exchange is not disrespectful to the national language, insists Tras assemblyperson Chow Yu Hui.
The accusations made by the Friends of BN Facebook page, Chow said, were "racist" in nature because the finance minister also included Bahasa Malaysia and English versions of the statement.
"So why is Lim accused of disrespecting Bahasa Malaysia as the national language? This is reflective of Umno's longstanding tactics, although the facts are different altogether," he said in a statement today.
According to Chow, the finance minister's statement was meant for the Chinese language media because it would help prevent information from being lost in translation.
The DAP lawmaker said that issuing a trilingual statement was also reflective of the new government's recognition of Malaysia’s plural society, and urged other government agencies to do the same.
After he was criticised by Friends of BN, Lim issued a Mandarin-only statement on his Facebook page last night to explain the reason behind his issuing of trilingual press statements.
This Mandarin statement, in turn, drew further criticism still – including from Mydin hypermarket boss Ameer Ali Mydin, who stressed need to issue statements in the national language.
However, it appears that these netizens and Umno leaders may have conflated the initial trilingual statement and the subsequent Mandarin-only statement – by assuming that the statement on TRX was made purely in Mandarin.