KUALA LUMPUR: Social activist Marina Mahathir has advised Malaysian politicians who are not proficient in English to speak in Malay when giving public addresses.
If they were keen on using English, they should attend classes to improve their command of the language, she said in an interview with FMT.
She was commenting on Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly, a video recording of which has been posted on a UN website. A news portal has described the speech as “less than eloquent”.
Marina said Zahid should have spoken in Malay. “Politicians should know they have an option to speak in Malay” at the UN. “There are good translators there. But I suppose he felt he should speak in English since we have always spoken in English at the UN General Assembly.
“I don’t know how well he takes criticism, but his people should let him know that he should take up a class if he wants to speak English.”
Marina said it was understandable that some people had taken to social media to criticise Zahid’s English, but she added that it was not right to go overboard with it.
“He tried,” she said. “It’s just that the stage he spoke on was a big stage. Our politicians should know what to do and when.” – FMT