Possible to develop English alongside Bahasa Malaysia: Chief minister

BAU: Tan Sri Adenan Satem has dismissed criticism of his decision to adopt English for official use in Sarawak along with Bahasa Malaysia.

The Chief Minister added that he did not think the move would sow discord among the people, as claimed by Social and Cultural Affairs Adviser to the Government Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim.

"I'm just being practical, that's all. You cannot deny that English is an international language.

"We are being realistic because if we don't go along with that we'll be left behind," he told reporters after handing over land titles at the Civic Centre here on Tuesday.

On Monday, Rais had asked the state government to reconsider its decision on English to safeguard unity between the peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak.

He had also said the matter should be debated before it was announced by Adenan because it also involved the Federal Constitution.

To this, Adenan emphasised that he was not saying English would replace Bahasa Malaysia.

"We will continue with Bahasa Malaysia, but we can develop both Bahasa Malaysia and English and then we will be bilingual or even trilingual. "I'm not saying we will use English to the exclusion of Bahasa Malaysia, no. We can raise both at the same time," he said.