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Language row: Guan Eng says BM for MOF, others for social media

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The Finance Ministry's official statements are in the national language and translations into English and Mandarin are done when required, especially when technical terms are involved, explained Lim Guan Eng in a statement issued only in Bahasa Malaysia this evening.

However, the finance minister said he would resort to using other languages for his social media postings.

Citing yesterday's Mandarin statement on Facebook, Lim pointed out that it did not have the Finance Ministry's letterhead.

"The position of upholding Article 152 of the Federal Constitution that Bahasa Malaysia is the national language was never questioned.

"However, I will use other languages on my social media account and also Chinese to communicate with the Chinese press.

"I had issued a statement in Mandarin on June 24 which did not carry the official letter of the Finance Ministry," he said.

On June 21, the Finance Ministry issued a trilingual statement in Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin on the Tun Razak Exchange bailout.

Subsequently, Lim issued another statement on Facebook yesterday to respond to the Friends of BN Facebook page which questioned the need of a Mandarin version of the ministry's statement.

However, the minister's Mandarin-only statement on Facebook drew brickbats from those who could not understand the language.

Meanwhile, Lim, in his latest statement, said he took note of the criticism specific to his Mandarin statement on Facebook and thanked the public for their concern.

"I will continue to improve whatever weaknesses in terms of the way I communicate with Malaysians," he added.

At the Finance Ministry level, Lim said Bahasa Malaysia is given priority.

"It is untrue to say that Mandarin had replaced Bahasa Malaysia as the official language of the Finance Ministry as proven by the Finance Ministry's website.

"The official Bahasa Malaysia statement is only translated to English for the international press and occasionally to Chinese if necessary," he said.

Lim said the issue had been exploited by certain quarters to create the impression that Mandarin is now the ministry's official language.

"If there are translations into Mandarin, it is done only if necessary, particularly when there are many technical terms involved.

"The translation is then sent to the Chinese media or social media without being used by the Finance Ministry," he said.

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