KUCHING, Jan 18 — Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen’s special assistant Michael Kong today expressed his dismay over the rejection of a letter written in English to the federal Ministry of Works on the road conditions in Batu Kawah, near here.

He said an official from the ministry had contacted him and requested that he submit another letter, but in Bahasa Melayu.

“This not only blatantly disregards the Cabinet's decision to allow English for official matters in Sabah and Sarawak, but also undermines the reiteration of this stance by the Sarawak Federal Secretary,” Kong said in a statement.

He said he wrote the letter after discussing the urgent need for repairs to Jalan Batu Kawah with Works Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi.


“In an era where inclusivity and diversity should be celebrated, it is disheartening to witness continued language discrimination against Sarawakians in official matters.

“The insistence on Malay language correspondence by the federal ministries, despite clear policies supporting the use of English in Sabah and Sarawak, is unacceptable and needs immediate rectification,” Kong said, adding that the incident is a direct affront to Sarawakian rights.

“This episode is troubling, especially given that it involves a Sarawakian matter and a Sarawakian minister,” he said, stressing that such discriminatory practices against the use of English as one of the official languages of Sarawak are a step back in the state’s progress towards a united and inclusive Malaysia.


He denounced the request to submit another letter in Bahasa Melayu and cautioned against bureaucratic tendencies that threaten to derail the joint efforts in nation-building.

“Sarawakians' right to use English in official correspondence is a constitutional right that must be respected,” he said, adding that it is time for Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to move beyond rhetoric and take concrete actions to protect the rights and interests of Sarawakians.

He also urged the federal government and its departments to honour the agreed-upon policies and respect the linguistic rights of Sarawakians.

“We should be focusing on constructive, collaborative efforts to address national challenges, rather than nit-picking over language preferences,” Kong said.