See: Unnecessary to make credit in BM a precondition for election candidates
Posted on May 5, 2015, Tuesday
See Chee How
KUCHING: A state lawmaker has deemed it highly unnecessary to make it a requirement for an election candidate to have a credit for Bahasa Malaysia in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination in order to be qualified to contest in elections in the country.
Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How said in fact, no country practising parliamentary democracy has made high academic proficiency in a language a pre-condition or qualification for members of legislative assemblies.
On the contrary, he said, particularly for democracies with multi-racial settings, he said provisions were made for the use of native and multiple languages to reflect their democracies.
He believes an elected representative’s performance is not judged by his or her academic qualifications in a particular language, but on how they carry out their duties and responsibilities under the Oath of Office they have taken in the Parliament and State Assembly.
“So, to require an academic qualification on their language proficiency is unnecessary. If we do that, probably members of the whole of the state cabinet we have now have to be disqualified,” he said during a press conference, here, yesterday.
See, who is state PKR vice chairman, was responding to Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof’s statement that the commission was studying a proposal that individuals wanting to become elected representatives be required to have at least a credit in Bahasa Malaysia in SPM examination.
The suggestion to make it a requirement was initially made by controversial preacher Prof Dr Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, who proposed that elected representatives be interviewed for their Bahasa Malaysia proficiency as well as knowledge of the nation’s history.
See said the party was not disputing Bahasa Malaysia as the national language of the country and pointed out members of parliament should possess a certain degree of proficiency in the national language in order for them to take part actively in parliamentary proceedings.
“However, when you talk about the qualifications of membership of an MP or state assemblyman, that is another matter and that is provided under Article 47 and 48 of the Federal Constitution and Article 16, 16a and 17 of the Sarawak State Constitution.”
He said under the Standing Order in the Parliament, the proceedings are in the national language while in Sarawak, Article 24 Clause 8 of the Sarawak State Constitution provides that the proceedings in the State Assembly may be in English and that members may use any native language when addressing the Dewan, subject to the Standing Order.
See opined that instead of paying attention to the “outrageous suggestion” by Ridhuan, the EC should concentrate on their constitutional duties and responsibility under Article 113 to 119 of the Federal Constitution for the conduct of free and fair election in Malaysia.
“It is sad that 52 years after formation of Malaysia, they (EC) are still unable to conduct free and fair election in Malaysia. That should be their priority rather than entertaining such suggestion by Ridhuan.”
In what he believed as a big mistake committed by Abdul Aziz, See said the EC chairman should look at Ridhuan’s statement in the whole context, which was very critical of the Chinese community.
“He (Ridhuan) was questioning not only their proficiency in BM but he was also questioning their knowledge on the national history and that they have been putting all this while their mother tongue language above Bahasa Malaysia and that’s why he made that kind of comment which is unnecessary.”
Besides that, See said Ridhuan’s outrageous statement had in fact revealed his ignorance of the provisions in the Federal Constitution and his lack of knowledge and appreciation of the multi-racial plural society which is the pride of the country.
He said it was offensive and downright derogatory for Ridhuan, in his remarks on members’ lack of proficiency in the use of the national language, when he described the Parliament and state assembly proceedings as ‘night market’ and ‘childish’.
“Ridhuan may be very good in Bahasa Malaysia, but actually, how many people believe that he can be a good elected representative knowing his personality? It is questionable that he can uphold whatever an elected representative should do for the interest of the country and state.”