KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday reiterated the government’s stand on the use of Bahasa Malaysia in all official matters.
However, he said, in certain circumstances, translation to other languages, such as English, had to be made to cater for foreigners attending official functions or events.
“Our constitution has provided for all our needs on protecting the national language, but sometimes, translation to other languages has to be made.
“However, the official one is in Bahasa Malaysia because the translated version is not official…what is right and can be taken to court is the one written in Bahasa Malaysia.
“We have to take into account foreigners who come to Malaysia, but are not fluent in Bahasa Malaysia.
“That is why we have ministers using English or Tamil or Mandarin to explain, but the explanation is not considered official,” he said during the question and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
He was responding to a supplementary question from Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong) on the government’s stand on reports of some ministries using Mandarin and Tamil for official matters.
To a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Dr Santhara Kumar (PH-Segamat) on the use of English and other languages in congratulatory and condolence messages to other countries, Dr Mahathir said that it was a normal practice. — Bernama