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Cannot stop Sabah using English: CM
Published on: Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal stressed that there is no restriction on the use of English in Sabah.

He said everyone knows that Bahasa Melayu is the national language, as stated in the Constitution, and there is no restriction on the use of English in teaching and learning in the country.

"There is no restriction on the use of English in Sabah. We are all aware and know that Bahasa Melayu is the national language, as enshrined in the Constitution, and there is no restriction on the use of English in the learning process in this country," he said.

"I don't know it is restricted (to use English). (But) There are certain subjects which we are using English like Science and Mathematics. There is no restriction stated in the Constitution on the use of English," he said, after officiating at the Forum Malaysia Day organised by United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) at Likas Square Condotel Hotel, Monday. (pic)

Deputy Chief Minister cum Trade and Industries Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau, had earlier referred to the Education Ministry's written reply recently that the use of English as a medium of instruction in schools (in Sabah and Sarawak), would violate the Federal Constitution, National Language Act 1963/67 and the Education Act 1996.


"If the Education Ministry stated that it is unlawful for English be used in Sabah, I think we cannot allow it and we need to undo it...because for example how will our young people be able to work in private firms or organisations where English is part of the requirement," Tangau had said.

Shafie said; "If we look from the perspective of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, English is still widely use on the daily basis. There is no restriction and limitation on its use. Even in the Dewan Rakyat, if we asked for the Speaker permission, we can speak in English...so there is no restriction, limitation, in using the language.

"That's why we are going to have all the vocational schools also use English in certain subjects in our effort to upskill our young people. It is something that needs to be done."

He said the State Government will look into it if there is a need for a change in law on the matter.


On Tangau's call for the State Government to strengthen its position with regards to the State's oil and gas, Shafie said apparently, he was made to understand by the State Attorney-General that "we do have a Mineral Enactment in Sabah. So I think I will look into it, I will ask the AG to look into the detail parts of it to see if there is any loophole. If it is there then we just need to reactivate it to make sure Sabah, like Sarawak, has the power," he said.

On the forum, Shafie said he welcomed the effort by Upko in organising it so Sabahans can get to know and find out, as well as formulating ways towards making success of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 agenda.

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