MALAYSIA Chinese Association national youth secretary-general Saw Yee Fung said last week that it is unhealthy to force foreigners renewing their driving licences through the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to speak in Bahasa Melayu.
She even said there were indications of “little Napoleons” within the unity government that must be contained, urging Putrajaya to take a clear stand on this issue before it spreads to other departments.
Recently, non-Malay-speaking foreigners were being instructed by JPJ officers to communicate in Bahasa Melayu (BM) when renewing their driving licences.
“MCA Youth respects and upholds Bahasa Melayu as the national language of our country. However, JPJ, a major agency under the Transport Ministry (MOT), is responsible for providing over-the-counter services to motor vehicle owners. JPJ is not an examining board to test and appraise the BM proficiency of members of the public.
“Why do JPJ officers make it a requirement for their clients to have BM skills? Does the unity government intend to turn every JPJ counter into an SPM BM examination room?
On the X platform, the debate is raging on the issue.
👉If driver is Msian, no excuse not to use BM
👉If driver is foreigner, no excuse to force to use BM. Better use English to avoid miscommunication. If the officer do not know English, something is not right. JPJ officers have done better in the past.https://t.co/A2FpucPwJh
— BigJoe470 (@BigJoe470) December 2, 2023
MOT @anthonyloke needs to address this before it becomes a widespread disease in the gov departments. The same thing happened with the lady and her young daughter at the immigration recently.
— Alexandra (@RelaxAlex_) December 2, 2023
On the contrary, netizen @JahanEnigma72 defended the use of BM for foreigners, arguing that:
Simple maths la…bahasa rasmi sesebuah negara itulah sepatutnya digunakan oleh semua, tak kira di negara mana pun itulah amalan kebiasaannya. Unless kau pelancong yg dtg sesekali, kita tolerate la. Tapi tidak menghalang pun kau nak guna bahsa lain sesuai dgn tempat dan waktu.
— Jahan (@JahanEnigma72) December 2, 2023
(Simple mathematics… the official language of a country should be used by everyone, regardless of where they are. That’s the usual practice. Unless you’re a tourist visiting occasionally, we tolerate it. But it doesn’t hurt if you use the appropriate language for the place and time.) – Dec 3, 2023
Main photo credit: NST