Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng defended the use of Mandarin in press releases of the ministry yesterday, 24 June
In a Facebook statement written in Mandarin, the Finance Minister cited the Federal Constitution to defend his use of the language in press releases.
"The right to study and use Mandarin (or) mother tongue is enshrined in the Federal Constitution," Guan Eng wrote.
"Trilingual press releases highlight the multiculturalism of our country. (It is also) an act of respect for the Malaysian people," he added.
The Finance Minister stressed that press releases will continue to be issued in Bahasa Melayu (BM) and English, and Mandarin versions will be provided where necessary.
Guan Eng was referring to allegations in a Facebook post by pro-opposition group Friends of BN, which claimed that BM is going extinct under the Pakatan Harapan government
"It looks like Malaysians under the Pakatan Harapan government have to start picking up Mandarin, BM is going extinct," the post wrote.
A photo of a press release on the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) project, written in Mandarin, was attached to the post.
However, the same press release was also issued in BM and English as well.
The BM version was uploaded onto the Facebook page of the Ministry of Finance.
However, Guan Eng's Mandarin-only Facebook statement, in defence of his use of trilingual press releases, attracted criticism from politicians and the Managing Director of hypermarket chain Mydin
Johor United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) chief Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin was reported by Free Malaysia Today as demanding an apology from Guan Eng for issuing the statement in Mandarin.
"As a reminder, the apology statement must be in Bahasa Melayu," Khaled added.
Former federal minister and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) member Tan Sri Rais Yatim also joined in the conversation, urging Guan Eng to stop issuing press statements in Mandarin, according to Free Malaysia Today.
Rais Yatim added that only BM and English were used in his 40-year long government service.
Malaysiakini reported Mydin hypermarket boss Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin as criticising the Finance Minister over his Mandarin statement as well.
"All statements, when released in Malaysia, should first be in Bahasa Melayu, then English, then any other language (if) necessary," Ameer was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini.
"Are you a minister of the Malaysian government or Chinese government?" Ameer questioned Guan Eng.
What do you think about the Finance Minister's Mandarin-only Facebook statement? Let us know in the comments below.