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How important is it for politicians to speak English?

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https://www.kinitv.com/video/24ebcc40-287b-4c1c-92b8-269a02892b2e

 

Was watching an extract of a speech from the Shangri-La Dialogue By Malaysia's Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu. He has been widely criticised by many for his poor command of English on geopolitical issues. I listened to the entire dialogue as it is and though broken at times it was easily understood and the gist of the message was not lost. He used simple English instead of bombastic words. English may not be a country first language. Are politicians expected to speak a certain level of English? I would certainly be more concerned about getting the main facts right than working hard to be a grammar nazi.

 

English is lingua franca, widely spoken in many countries. When we go overseas to countries whose native language isn't English we speak to them in English expecting them to understand. Looking at  the shift of major power in the world today should we be shocked if the lingua franca one day becomes Mandarin? Fair enough to assume the rise of China will be accompanied by the rise of Mandarin? Where will that leave the Americans? Who are widely known to perceive the world as "It's okay everybody speaks English anyway." Just interested to hear more opinions.

 

Here's his message for those unable to view the video:

 

So what did Mohamad speak about?

 

Christchurch terror attack “accident” in New Zealand

 

The video began with Mohamad touching on the Christchurch terror attack in March 2019. He condemned terrorism and praised the response of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to the attack. Mohamad said:

 

“So, we understand that terrorist is no border, and no ideology, and no religion. So we have to fight with them in soft way and hard way. But I am very appreciate the role of the Prime Minister of New Zealand, how she faced with the accident in New Zealand. We appreciate him, that’s the way the world leader should behave when that thing happen in their country. So I salute the Prime Minister of New Zealand.”

 

Mohamad then addressed the sources of terror funding, calling them the “father” and “mother” of terrorists.

 

Elaborating on how terrorists have access to advanced weaponry and funding, Mohamad said: “These terrorists, who’s the father and mother? Because they have a lot of money, they have very sophisticated weapons. If they’re an NGO, I think they cannot afford to have that modern weapon.”

 

Mohamad then referenced the presence of terrorists groups in Idlib, Syria, adding: “And now in Idlib, they even have rocket launcher. So who’s the father and mother? We must our intelligence must share and expose who the mother and father, then we can reduce their activity throughout the world.”

 

China’s regional activity:

 

“The China coast guard is bigger than Malaysia warship” Subsequently, Mohamad talked about the behaviour of China in the region and stressed the need for diplomacy, given that “the China coast guard is bigger than Malaysia warship”.

 

Mohamad highlighted: “We know China is a border with us, China is near to us. So, any they changing of the policy will affect us. That’s why we — I know… sometimes they send their coast guard. The China coast guard is bigger than Malaysia warship. So how can we begin to chase them? So we cannot fight with them. But we will always talk to them, defend diplomacy, respect sovereignty…”

 

Mohamad then referenced the opening speech of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, on May 31, who stated that a clash between America and China will see many nations affected. “… and if they (China) send a warship there, then America will also challenge them. So, when the elephant fight, the grass will suffer. When elephant laugh, the grass will suffer. That’s mentioned by Prime Minister Lee last night. So we must active defend diplomacy, that we must get together, many time, this not the first time, second time or third time, many time to dialogue, because we want to keep the peace neutrality zone in this area, especially in South China Sea.”

 

Mohamad concluded his speech by criticising the behaviour of large countries for not sticking to their rhetoric of respecting the sovereignty of other countries, as laid down by international treaties: “Big powers, they come and they give speech, they say we respect sovereignty, we respect UNCLOS, we respect COC (Code of Conduct), but their behaviour is different. That is we, the small country, especially ASEAN, we must unite together to face this problem. Thank you very much.”

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