Johor exco clears air on language used in vexing council letter

Johor state exco Tan Hong Pin said an official municipal council letter, allegedly written only in English and Chinese, was a bilingual attachment to the main document which was in Malay. — Picture via Facebook/Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar
Johor state exco Tan Hong Pin said an official municipal council letter, allegedly written only in English and Chinese, was a bilingual attachment to the main document which was in Malay. — Picture via Facebook/Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar

JOHOR BARU, Sept 25 — An official municipal council letter, allegedly written only in English and Chinese, was a bilingual attachment to the main document which was in Malay, a state exco explained after it led to a barrage of criticism.

Johor Local Government, Science and Technology Committee chairman Tan Hong Pin said there were three languages used in the letter, with the official letter written in Malay.

“In fact, the official letter issued by the Iskandar Puteri City Council councillor is in Malay and is attached to the bilingual statement.

“The purpose of such an arrangement was to inform possible non-fluent Malay speakers to participate in the Road Restructuring Discussion between Jalan Jaya Mas ½ and Jalan Silat Print 2 in Skudai,” Tan said in a statement tonight.

He said the councillor had issued the official letters, consisting of three languages in the spirit of goodwill.

Tan said he supported the position of Bahasa Melayu as the national language.

“After discussing with the councillor, I found that he had no intention of challenging the position of the national language,” he said.

He said there were irresponsible people who were trying to create an issue by withholding certain information from the general public, such as by just circulating the Chinese and English attachment of the letter.

“This irresponsible act must be stopped immediately so that racial harmony can be maintained in Johor,” said Tan.

Earlier today, Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar had taken the councillor to task for writing the official letter in English and Chinese.

Sultan Ibrahim stressed that any official letters, involving the state government or local authorities in Johor, must be written in the national language.

Former Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and the Iskandar Puteri Pas Youth had also criticised the council on their social media accounts.

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