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Deputy Minister Who Bullied Reporter Says All Sectors Should Conduct Job Interviews In BM

Datuk Haji Awang Hashim said Malaysians loyal to the country must use Bahasa Melayu (BM) as it is enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

Cover image via Parlimen Malaysia (YouTube) & Financial Times

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Human Resources Deputy Minister Datuk Haji Awang Hashim said employers of all sectors in Malaysia should conduct interviews in Bahasa Melayu (BM), as it is the national language

The Pendang member of Parliament (MP), who is from PAS, said that while answering a question posed by Rasah MP Cha Kee Chin in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, 17 November.

Cha began his question by welcoming the initiatives that the Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR) has introduced to reduce the unemployment rate, such as helping jobseekers to prepare curriculum vitae (CVs) and preparing them to face interviews conducted in BM and English.

He then asked the deputy minister what is his personal opinion when corporations conduct job interviews in English, before ending the question by linking to the incident on Sunday, 14 November, where the deputy minister allegedly bullied a reporter for not asking questions in BM.

"(I ask this) because the whole nation or the whole world knows what the deputy minister did to a reporter a few days ago. I ask the deputy minister to share his view. Thank you," said the Rasah MP, who is aligned with DAP.

Rasah MP Cha Kee Chin.

Image via Parlimen Malaysia (YouTube)

Upon hearing the question, Awang responded that it was "good" that he was able to address the matter even though it was out of the topic

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun — who was presiding over the session — then said Awang could refrain from answering Cha's question, but the deputy minister went ahead anyway.

"Bahasa [Melayu] is the national language, so we must use it in all sectors, except for investors who do not understand BM, they can use English," he said.

"If we are Malaysian, we are loyal to Malaysia. We need to use BM, the national language, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution."

In his brief response, he did not mention or address the incident where he was criticised for bullying the reporter as raised by the Rasah MP.

Human Resources Deputy Minister Datuk Haji Awang Hashim.

Image via Parlimen Malaysia (YouTube)

Article 152 of the Federal Constitution stipulates that BM is the national language and its status cannot be disputed.

However, the Article also stipulates that "no person shall be prohibited or prevented from using (otherwise than for official purposes), or from teaching or learning, any other language".

On Sunday, Awang and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Idris Ahmad allegedly bullied and disrespected a reporter

Veteran reporter Minderjeet Kaur from Free Malaysia Today intended to ask Idris to comment about the ban of lottery sales in Kedah.

However, she was interjected by Awang, who insisted she ask the question in BM before questioning her nationality.

"Ask the question in Bahasa Melayu lah. Are you a Malaysian or not?" said the deputy minister.

Idris then brought up the reporter's family into the discussion and used it as an example despite her objection.

Following the incident, Idris had denied any wrongdoing, while PAS Youth information chief Nadzir Helmi defended the duo's behaviour and claimed that Minderjeet was only intending to ruin the image of their party.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Gerakan Media Merdeka (GERAMM) condemned the PAS leaders for mistreating the reporter.

Watch Awang responding to Cha's question at the 1:07:10 mark below:

During the interview, Awang said the reporter "must respect us first" before he and Idris could respect her:

Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor announced on Sunday that gambling outlets will be banned in the state: