While upholding the use of Bahasa Malaysia, efforts will be made to strengthen the use of English among civil servants this year, says Nga Kor Ming.
In line with such efforts, the Housing and Local Development Minister said that his ministry will organise several initiatives, including holding English speech competitions, to ensure that civil servants will be encouraged to be sufficiently bilingual.
“Starting this year, the government will strengthen the English language to ensure that the country can keep pace with the world,” he said during the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (Acccim) Power Chat 2.0 at the Wisma Chinese Chamber yesterday.
All civil servants, he added, need to be proficient in both languages to fulfil the government’s global ambitions. He said that while Bahasa Malaysia holds an important place in Malaysian society, a good command of English is also an important factor for economic success.
He stressed that failure to nurture a good command of English would only hurt the government’s long-term efforts to become a regional economic hub.
“Many businesses around the world use English to communicate and we must do the same to stay relevant. To attract foreign investors, good English proficiency is a must or we risk losing out to our neighbouring countries,” he said, while reiterating that the Prime Minister had previously reminded all local enterprises, government agencies and private universities to send letters to government departments in Malay or they would be returned.
On the economic front, Nga said his ministry would be proposing 12 new initiatives to enhance economic development for the upcoming year during the two-day Cabinet retreat that starts today.
Among them will be initiatives to tackle the lack of affordable housing, promote the adoption of a circular sustainable economy, encourage urban renewal and address dilapidated public housing projects.
Nga added that the previously announced Urban Renewal Act should be tabled in Parliament this year. He said other ministries were also made to propose at least six initiatives during the retreat.
“All of us have been told to submit at least six new initiatives per ministry on how to benefit the people, with a focus on economic development. This is because 2024 will be a crucial year for our nation in terms of recovering from the effects of Covid-19 and recent global events,” he said.
The two-day retreat will only be the second held by the unity government since taking office in 2022.
On the proposed Fixed-term Parliament Act (FTPA), Nga said it would be key to restoring confidence among the public.
“Once implemented, everyone will be able to focus their efforts entirely on nation-building and economic prosperity instead of being continuously involved in endless politicking,” he said, adding that it would also make future elections easier to plan.
“The Election Commission (EC) will be able to focus on planning any future election and no longer have to waste time determining the optimal time to hold the election. Meanwhile, the public and businesses will be able to automatically determine when the next election will take place without needing to wait for an announcement from the EC,” he said. – The Star