Most of the time, the National language – Bahasa Melayu is used in the parliamentary sessions. However, as political figures, they’re expected to understand and speak fluent English when the occasion calls for it.
Yesterday (October 31), Ketereh MP, Khlir Mohd Nor, who highlighted that he was a former soldier, enquired about the pension money of the Malaysian armies from the Minister of Defense, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, commonly known as Tok Mat. Khlir was not so happy when he brought up the matter and if you watch the live parliamentary session, Khlir spoke quite loudly.
Before Tok Mat took his seat to allow Khlir to speak, he gave Ketereh MP a friendly reminder.
“You know, there is an English saying – don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.”
It was a few second of silence before Khlir responded and said,
“I don’t understand that. Can you repeat it?”
Some of the MPs in the Dewan Rakyat laughed at his response, including the Deputy Speaker, Alice Lau who couldn’t hold her laughter.
Tok Mat chuckled and asked Khlir,
“You’re a former 2-star general. Don’t tell me you can’t understand simple English,” Tok Mat said before he continued to answer Khlir’s question.
“How do you negotiate with the enemies?”
Netizens, on the other hand, were shocked and disappointed to see a political figure who couldn’t grasp simple English.
“Where did he study? In government or NGO, English is compulsory. We’re talking about an MP here, not the owner of a warung stall. I think even the owner of a warung can speak English.”
“Our country is doomed if a 2-star general can’t speak English. How do you negotiate with the enemies like the case in Lahad Datu, Sabah in the past.”
“A former 2-star general who can’t speak English? I don’t know if I should laugh, and he had the audacity to rush the court for a decision.”
“Is he really a general in the past?”
“He can claim he’s a former 2-star general, fought with the communists but can’t even understand simple English.”
You can watch the part below from the 3:03:00 mark.
Do you think it’s important for a high-profile figure to understand English?