NILAI - Parti Keadilan Rakyat president-elect Anwar Ibrahim has called on Malay children to master the Chinese language, as it was an important regional "economic language".
He said on Saturday (Oct 20) that learning non-Malay languages should not only be an acceptable practice but also be supported without compromising the Malay language's position as the national language, reported Malaysiakini.
"In the 1950s and 1960s, the debates about the Malay and Chinese languages were more about race. In 2018, the question is about Malay as the national language, and Chinese as a very strategic language of commerce," he was quoted as saying.
"As long as the position of the Malay language as the national language is accepted without question, mastery of other languages should be supported, and I propose that Malay youths master the Chinese language as an important language of commerce in this region."
Datuk Seri Anwar was speaking at the 47th annual general assembly of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM). He is a former ABIM chief.
In his speech, he also said the nation's development needs to be in tandem with the emphasis on humanitarian aspects in order to heighten Islamic understanding, reported Bernama.
"Our economic view must not be just good governance and no corruption, but there must be human values. Because, sometimes, development in terms of numbers shows stunning growth but the human dimension is marginalised," he said.