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MCA sec-gen criticises RTD over BM language policy for driving licence renewals

Publish date: Fri, 01 Dec 2023, 09:24 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: MCA secretary-general Saw Yee Fung slammed the Road Transport Department (RTD) for compelling non-Malay speaking foreigners to converse solely in Bahasa Melayu (BM) during the renewal process of their driving licences.

Expressing disappointment over this directive, Saw emphasized the need for the government to take a stand against such action.

She stressed that while BM is the national language, the primary role of RTD, under the Transport Ministry, should revolve around providing vehicle-related services rather than assessing language proficiency.

"A typical driving licence holder, including non-Malaysians, will usually go to a RTD branch to renew their licence. Why do RTD officers make it a requirement for their clients to have BM-speaking skills?

"Does the unity government intend to turn every RTD counter into an SPM BM examination room? Or, does the Transport Ministry assume that communicating in BM is mandatory to drive a vehicle?

"Really, what are the RTD officers up to? Are they government officers or examiners of the SPM

BM subject?," said Saw in a statement today.

She also questioned whether it has become the official stance of the unity government to mandate civil servants to evaluate BM language proficiency, even among foreigners.

Saw also wondered if such directive might have originated from overzealous civil servants, also known as 'Little Napoleons,' rather than being part of a clear government directive.

"Be it the previous controversy over dress codes at government buildings, or the issue of concert guidelines at universities, the government appears oblivious.

"So far, there does not seem to be any clear guidelines as to which factors are considered a "violation". "Comply with the guidelines" lest law enforcement officials enforce them and issue summonses.

"It is confusing nowadays that when one visits any government department to renew documents, the civil servants will require a conversational BM qualification," she added.

She then underscored the government's immediate need to establish an efficient platform for public complaints, providing citizens with a channel to address grievances against those exhibiting authoritarian behaviour.

This measure, she added, aimed to prevent repetitive bureaucratic obstacles created by certain civil servants, ultimately safeguarding the reputation of the unity government.

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