Chinese choose self-isolation by not mastering Malay — ex-minister

-A +A

KUALA LUMPUR: A former Umno minister has asked why the Chinese get annoyed when referred to as “pendatang” (immigrants) when they continue to isolate themselves by not mastering the national language.

(Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin), former information minister said the Chinese wanted to identify themselves by speaking in their own dialects.

“Why is it that they get so angry when they are called ‘pendatang’ when they themselves don’t want to be identified with the national language and instead prefer to be known by their ‘bahasa pendatang’ (foreign language).

“This is self-isolation,” the former information minister said in his blog on Wednesday.

Zainuddin said even after 57 years of independence, the Chinese had to be advised to learn Malay, citing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s call at the recent MCA general assembly.

“But if even after 57 years, they can speak only broken Malay, then it is not impossible that this will not change in the next 50 years, unless a new realisation dawns on them and they can appreciate the hopes of the new MCA president [Datuk Seri] Liow Tiong Lai,” Zainuddin said.

He said Najib had made the call as many Chinese, including the new generation, were not able to converse, read or understand Bahasa Malaysia well.

“Even though they are taught Bahasa Malaysia in Chinese-medium schools, the teachers are Chinese and so they speak with a Chinese slang and are only studying the language to pass exams,” Zainuddin said.

The former information minister suggested that a study be conducted to find out if there was any truth that Malay graduates were finding it difficult to get jobs because of their poor command of English.

“Or is it because the Chinese from Chinese-medium schools are also finding it hard to secure jobs because not only are they poor in English, they also cannot converse in Malay.

“As such, Chinese companies have no choice but to give them priority because Malay students find it easier to get jobs in international companies and local firms, apart from government jobs,” Zainuddin said. — The Malaysian Insider

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 17, 2014.