‘Defiant’ Uncle Koon offers Anwar 10 reasons why “English is more useful than Malay”

INVESTOR extraordinaire Koon Yew Yin has reacted cynically to the latest directive by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to government departments not to entertain any letters that are not written in the national language by listing out 10 advantages of the English language.

Stating that “English is more useful than Malay”, the 90-year-old Perak-born philanthropist went further to contend that Malaysia’s fortune can change if the English language is accorded more prominence.

“If Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim changes his Malay language policy, Malaysia can improve its economy faster to be classified as a developed nation,” the renowned stock picker/punter penned in his latest blog.

“The English language is so important because it is the most widely spoken language in the world. It is used for communication, education, business, entertainment and many other purposes.”

For context, Anwar told companies and universities to correspond with government in Malay. He further reminded them that letters written in other languages – including English – will be returned.

“Of course, we agree with the use of English as the international trade language but there is an attitude that I feel has gone too far in some places like government offices and even more so in private universities as well as other sectors,” he said when officiating a national language and reading carnival in Cyberjaya yesterday (Oct 25).

Pic credit: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Facebook

Ironically, Anwar’s stance has also received lukewarm response from GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak)-rule Sarawak which will continue to accept official correspondence written in English from local companies or public/private institutions.

Citing State secretary Datuk Seri Abu Bakar Marzuki, the Borneo Post reported that Sarawak has no intention of complying with the directive from the PM to government agencies.

Anyway, below are 10 reasons compiled by Koon who was also the co-founder director of IJM Corp Bhd as to why English must be maintained as ‘the second’ national language:

  • English is the most spoken language in the world: One out of five people can speak or at least understand English. This means that you can communicate with people from different countries and cultures using a common language.
  • English is the dominant language in academia: As of 2020, 17 of the top 20 universities in the global rankings are located in English-speaking countries. Many scientific papers are written in English and most international conferences are held in English.
  • Learning English can help one to access the latest research and knowledge in his/her field of study.
  • English is the most common business language: Learning English can make one more employable and competitive in the global job market.
  • Many multinational companies use English as their official language and require their employees to be proficient in English. English can also help one to better negotiate, network and collaborate with partners and clients from different countries.
  • English is the top language of the internet: About 60% of the websites on the internet are in English.
  • Learning English can help one to access a vast amount of information and entertainment online. One can also use English to participate in online communities, forums and social media platforms.
  • English can help one travel the world: English is the official language of 53 countries and is widely spoken as a second language in many others.
  • English can enrich one’s personal life: Learning English can help you make new friends from different countries and backgrounds. One can also enjoy various forms of media in English such as books, movies, songs and podcasts.
  • Learning English can also improve one’s cognitive skills such as memory, creativity and problem-solving. – Oct 26, 2023

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