KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 ― Deputy Human Resource Minister Datuk Awang Hashim claimed today loyal Malaysians have to speak and use Malay in any sector, referring to him chiding a reporter for not using Malay when questioned about his party PAS’ policies.

Responding to a question from Cha Kee Chin (Rasah-PH) on his opinion on whether the corporate training interviews for workers by the ministry are done in English, Awang said he wanted to respond to the issue despite it being unrelated.

“Malay language is the national language and should be used in all sectors except for those who, [for example] investors who [cannot do so]. So we use English.

“If we are Malaysians, we are loyal to Malaysia, we use the national language because it is enshrined. It's the opposite. It is equivalent to the Malaysian constitution,” he told Dewan Rakyat today.

On November 14, Minderjeet Kaur, a reporter with Free Malaysia Today, had sought comments from both Awang and Minister of Religious Affairs Idris Ahmad from PAS on the Kedah government’s abrupt announcement over the weekend that it would not renew the business licences of 4D gaming outlets in the state, which will effectively shutter gambling shops statewide.

Idris reportedly replied by changing the question, asking the reporter instead if she could tolerate a gambler for a husband while Awang chided her for not speaking in the national language and even asking if she is Malaysian.

Idris later claimed there was nothing wrong with his exchange with the reporter.

This came as all shops selling numbers forecast lottery draws in PAS-led Kedah will reportedly no longer have their business licences renewed by local councils.