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Hadi: M'sians Pushing For English Are Still Stuck With Former Colonisers Who Enslaved Them

According to the PAS president, people who conduct meetings as well as make announcements in English have "weak souls".

Cover image via Sinar Harian & Seroja BOOK and Stationery (Facebook)

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Malaysians who encourage the use of English are trapped in a colonial mindset and have "weak souls", said PAS President Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang

The Merang member of parliament (MP) made the statement in a letter published in Harakah Daily last Saturday, 2 July.

In it, he penned that people who use the language of their colonisers have "weak souls" because they do not defend their national language.

"Those who speak in the language of the former colonisers are the leaders whose countries are called 'developing countries'," he said.

"This is because of how weak their souls are, even though they have achieved independence and were the loudest to chant 'merdeka' and wave the national flag. Weak are the souls of their people because they do not defend their mother tongue."

The Prime Minister's special envoy to the Middle East claimed that such people would utter 'bahasa jiwa bangsa' (language is the soul of the nation), but their behaviour towards their own mother tongue is actually weak or has disappeared.

He described those people as still having a colonial mindset.

PAS President and Prime Minister's special envoy to the Middle East Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang.

Image via Berita PAS

He also said some Malaysians seem to be embarrassed to use their national language and placed greater importance on English

"What is most interesting is that there are those who feel ashamed when they speak the national language and abuse their own language," said Hadi.

"Although their feet are here, their spirits are still stuck with their former colonial masters who enslaved them."

"As a result, they speak and conduct meetings in English, as well as make announcements on the ground and in the air in English first."

"In fact, advertisements in shops and the market, as well as the names of cities and roads, are in English even though a majority of their target audience do not know English."

"Their souls are so weak to the point that they would speak English because one person does not understand Bahasa Melayu."

"At the same time, they do not care about whether their audiences, which consist of thousands of Malaysians, who do not know English."

Hadi went on to say that all countries that use foreign languages, especially the language of their colonisers, are still at a "crawling stage" in development.

Citing Japan and Germany, he argued that the two countries achieved great advancement after World War II because of the use of their mother tongues. 

Photo for illustration purposes only.

Image via Seroja BOOK and Stationery (Facebook)

Following the PAS leader's comments, Sarawak Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah criticised Hadi for his shallow mindset

In Sarawak, English is an official language under the state constitution.

"It's unfortunate for PAS to have a leader with such a shallow mindset," said the vice-president of PBB, reported Free Malaysia Today.

He said Islam advocates believers to acquire as much knowledge as possible because being proficient in as many languages as possible would enable better communication with the rest of the world.

"Being good in English doesn't mean someone has a colonial mindset," he said, adding, "Arabic is not the language of our region. Does learning Arabic mean we have a colonial mindset? No."

Karim said he was not surprised by Hadi's comments as the PAS leader had in 2009 made disparaging remarks about Dayaks when he said only loincloth-wearing Dayaks voted Barisan Nasional (BN).

Sarawak Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

Image via Free Malaysia Today

Meanwhile, Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said Hadi is the one who has a "stuck mindset" as the world is moving at a faster pace than one can imagine, reported The Star.

"A 'stuck mindset' of thinking that there is still a struggle between Bahasa Melayu and English, and imagining that there is still a colonial mindset is not only myopic, but it is also sadly revealingly insecure," said Azimah.

PAGE chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim.

Image via Free Malaysia Today

Hadi's comments come after Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) board chairman Prof Datuk Seri Dr Awang Sariyan proposed to fine individuals who disrespect Bahasa Melayu:

The government has been pushing for wider usage of Bahasa Melayu under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob's leadership: