The Sultan of Selangor has decreed that all dual language road signboards in Shah Alam must be removed and replaced with ones featuring only the national language.
Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah’s private secretary Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani said this in a letter to the Selangor state government dated on Nov 19.
The letter said that all Chinese language road signboards in Shah Alam must be removed and replaced with only one language, which is Bahasa Melayu.
“The operation to change the road signboards must be done immediately and be completed at the latest before the Sultan of Selangor’s 73rd birthday on Dec 11,” Mohamad Munir said in a statement on Monday (Nov 19).
The letter was issued after pictures showing the dual language road signs were shared on Twitter.
On Nov 15, a Twitter account user, Don Juan deRyezal (@khairulryezal) questioned why the road signs used the Chinese language.
“Shah Alam is a place where I stay and it is a ‘unique’ city. Majority of its residents are Malays unlike Kepong, Bukit Bintang and Seputeh in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.
The Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) had then via its official Twitter account @sacitycouncil informed the Twitter user that the Selangor government had previously decided to use dual-language signages based on the local community.
Among the roads in Shah Alam that have signs with Chinese characters are Jalan Balai Raya C, a photo of which is being circulated on social media as netizens discuss the issue.
Sinar Harian yesterday quoted Persatuan Penulis Nasional Malaysia (Pena) president Mohamad Saleeh Rahamad criticising the move to change road name signs in Jawi and Bahasa Malaysia to other languages.
He said the move to change the Jawi writing to Chinese or Tamil was an insolent act as it was an attempt to discard Malay heritage.
“So to discard (Jawi) and use the Chinese language in its place is a move which is not harmonious in the Malaysian context,” he reportedly said.
The report also quoted the Shah Alam City Council explaining on Twitter that signage changes were made pursuant to a Jan 13, 2017 decision by the Selangor Standing Committee on Local Government.
Ng Sze Han, the Selangor exco member for local government, public transport and new village development, told Malaysiakini that the state government will abide by the sultan’s decree.
“Selangor exco will discuss it and we will obey the decree to replace bilingual road signs with the national language.”
However, he reiterated that the bilingual signs have existed in Selangor for years.
Sinar Harian quoted Ng as saying on Saturday the signages had been used for years and questioned why it had only become an issue now.
“Yes, there are Chinese signages in Chinese new villages and Jawi signages in Malay new villages in addition to the national language. This is not only in Shah Alam but also in the Seri Kembangan new village and several other places.
“This is one of the uniqueness of this country and there is no need to question it,” he was quoted as saying.