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Home minister says it again, ‘no compromise’ in Malaysians not using BM for official matters

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail clapped back at his critics, saying there cannot be a compromise in using the national language for official business.

Taking to X, the micro blogging platform formerly known as Twitter, he said that Malaysians must know Bahasa Melayu as it is the national language.

“Malaysians must understand this fundamental matter. No need to read all the hikayat to interact in Bahasa Melayu,” he posted yesterday.

Hikayat in Malay means stories, and is usually used in the context of the tales of prominent Malay figures who have been quasi-fictionalised in old literary works.

Saifuddin Nasution pointed out that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has also made it compulsory to use Bahasa Melayu — shortened to BM — in official government correspondence.

“No compromise,” he ended.

Saifuddin Nasution was responding to lawyer and human rights activist Michelle Yesudas who had asserted that he should prove his mastery of BM if he wanted to make the language mandatory to all Malaysian passport holders.

The home minister came under public criticism after he defended an Immigration official in Johor who had chided a woman for not using BM while renewing her daughter’s passport.

A video clip of the exchange between the Immigration official and the passport applicant was widely circulated on the internet, sparking a polarising debate among Malaysians.