Sarawak has adopted English as the official language of the state administration, apart from Bahasa Malaysia, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said today.
Adenan told the state civil service gathering this morning that official government correspondence can be in both languages, adding that it was a practical and logical step.
“There is no need for any official correspondence between government departments to be in Bahasa Malaysia all the time, you can use English in your correspondence at the same time,” he said in his speech at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here.
“I have been labelled as not being nationalistic or patriotic enough by others when I advocate for the use of English in Sarawak. I am just being practical and logical,” he said.
The chief minister said the use of English is necessary and unavoidable, also pointing out that it is the language of science.
He cited recent reports claiming that graduates here have been finding it hard to get employment because of their poor command of English and said this proves his point on the need to be proficient in the language.
“I do not know who made the decision not to use English in the past, but it has adversely affected other people now,” he said.
Adenan then urged the state’s civil servants to be skillful in English, reminding them that it is a universal language used as a communication tool across the globe.
On a separate matter, the chief minister issued a reminder to federal officers from other states to serve Sarawak well when they are posted here.
“You are in Sarawak to serve the people here. If you don’t, we will file complaints with your big bosses in Kuala Lumpur, and we have every right to complain,” he said.
He said he will ask federal lawmakers from Sarawak to complain to Parliament if federal departmental heads here do not adequately serve the state.
“The complaints will then become political issues,” he said.
Federal officers not happy with serving in Sarawak can always request for transfers, he added.
“We have no problem with that, but we must insist that you must serve the state well,” he said.