Zahid Should Be Proud And Spoke Excellent “Malay”, Not Horrible “English”

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Sep 28 2016
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Four years ago, Malaysian Ministry of Defence had set international tongues wagging. Then Defence Ministry Ahmad Zahid Hamidi didn’t realize his screws up until it was too late and went viral in social media – mocking the ministry which enjoyed billions of dollars in annual allocation. International media were laughing so hard they had problem reporting it.


Embarrassing but entertaining, the Ministry of Defence’s website, under a section called “Ethical Clothing”, women were warned against wearing clothes “that poke the eye” – clearly, a direct translation of the Malay phrase for revealing outfits. For men, fortunately (*grin*), a “tight Malay civet” is allowed. There were, of course, various other fantastic misinterpretations.



For example, a section said the Malaysian government took “drastic measures to increase the level of any national security threat” after independence from British colonial rule in 1957. The ministry admitted to using Google Translate, yet another proof that the country’s education system produces students who fail towards mastering English language.


Mr. Zahid, who is now the Malaysia Deputy Prime Ministry, was tasked to lead the country delegation for the United Nations 71st General Assembly on behalf of Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose 1MDB corruption and money laundering has prevented him from attending the international event due to risk of being grilled and roasted by American media.


This round, instead of terribly “written English”, Zahid’s speech reveals his poor grasp of “spoken English”. As netizens questioned and mocked Zahid’s English speaking skills in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly last week, many have suggested the deputy is not qualified to become a prime minister.


However, some argued that Mr. Zahid should not be criticised in the first place for his courageous efforts in delivering his speech in English. That’s true if Zahid is still a school boy struggling at the learning curve. Unfortunately, Zahid is no longer a teenager but a 63-year-old leader who is second in command of the country.

Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi - Minister of Home Affairs

So, what’s wrong with a 63-year-old deputy prime minister who spoke English with fabulous mispronunciations? Born in 1953, Mr. Zahid would have had taken his LCE (Lower Certificate of Education) and MCE (Malaysian Certificate of Education) during his Form-3 and Form-5 public examinations – tests which were equivalent to Cambridge level.


Hence, there’s only one reason as to why Mr. Zahid sucks in his English – both written and spoken. Academically, he must have had been an extremely poor student, if he ever graduated from primary or secondary school at all. Previously, Zahid was accused of splashing cash for his doctorate from local Universiti Putra Malaysia, to which he rubbished.


Still, that shouldn’t stop him from becoming the country’s next prime minister. True, but that would also mean Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will be the first Malaysia prime minister who needs a translator (not the Google one) whenever he meets with foreign leaders. For the same reason not to be seen as “inferior” and “low standard”, he chose to speak in English at the United Nations.


Therefore, it wasn’t the factor of courage but rather the factor of not wanting to be called “second class” leader if he doesn’t speak English that Zahid struggled in his speech delivery on the international stage. He knew that he would be compared to Ghafar Baba, the former deputy prime minister who could never become prime minister largely because he spoke very little English.

Zahid Hamidi Wearing Crown

The next question is why didn’t Ahmad Zahid Hamidi deliver his speech in Bahasa Malaysia (or simply Malay) considering he’s more Malay than the Malays, although he makes no secret about his pride of being Javanese descent? Out of 193 countries in the United Nations, not all leaders speak English, so why had Zahid insisted on making a fool of himself?


Chinese President Xi Jinping, Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Japan’s Shinzo Abe, Chancellor of German Angela Merkel and Russian Vladimir Putin are proud of their native language and rarely speak English. By refusing to speak Malay, does that mean Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is actually “ashamed of his native language, his race and religion”?


The fact is Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, like his boss Prime Minister Najib Razak, and other UMNO-Malay ministers, have never been proud of their national or native language – “Malay”. Despite periodically whining, bitching and screaming until foaming at the mouth about the need to solidify and glorify the “Malay”, these hypocrite UMNO leaders do exactly the opposite.


Zahid has wanted to be known as the toughest leader his country has ever produced. In October 2013, he told the police to shoot-first, ask-later when faced with suspected gang members. A year later in 2014, he picked a fight with “Ultraman”, banning the Japanese comic because according to his interpretation; Ultraman is respected like Allah.


Empty vessel Zahid wants to be associated with the elite and privileged group, and he thought he could get it by speaking English. As a “jaguh kampong (village champion)”, he didn’t need to master English even when he was a Senator, directors of Bank Simpanan Nasional and Permodalan Nasional Berhad or CEO of local listed corporations.


He also wrote a letter to U.S.-FBI last year, declaring that gambling kingpin Paul Phua Wei Seng wasn’t a member of the “14K triad” in Malaysia. Of course, FBI was puzzled more by the standard of English language used in the letter than Zahid’s desire to shield and protect the gambling criminal. Now, he’s like an old bulldog trying to learn new tricks of a poodle.



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so true. this is not the first time Zahid goofs up. Msian of this age group shud hv good command of English as the medium of instruction was still English. how on earth did he pass his LCE n MCE? must be one of those who culdn’t pass LCE n cheated all his way to PhD. can we afford another CHEAT like Najib to rule Msia. not unless we want Msia Terbalik (Msia overturned). his poor command of English exposes a worrying point.

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