Speaking on the sidelines of a forum in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Rais, who is a PPBM member, said he did not think issuing government press statements in Mandarin was appropriate.
“The national language, which is Malay, is sufficient. This (issuing press releases in Mandarin) has never been done before,” he said.
Rais said in the over 40 years he served in the government, only Malay and English were used as allowed under parliamentary procedure.
Bloke was once the Minister for Information, Communications and Culture under the Najib government's 1st term (2009 - 2013). He was/is particularly sensitive about Malaysians using Bahasa.
Once in a press interview during his ministerial days he chewed a Malaysian reporter, a Chinese of course, for asking him questions in English. He was so disdainful in the telling off of that young bloke that the poor frightened and embarrassed reporter must have felt as if he was wallowing at the bottom of a pit in front of his colleagues - aiyoyo, where to put his face lah?
But Rais Yatim was correct in that Malaysian reporters regardless of their ethnicity should have been able to ask questions in Malay.
But after that rather fierce talk-down, Rais switched immediately to English and (perhaps kesian a bit for the young punk) told him he could now ask his questions in English, saying "I am now in a different mode", wakakaka.
I am not in the least surprised that Rais Yatim would emerge to chew Lim Guan Eng off. For younger generation Chinese Malaysians to speak in English when among other Malaysians of multi-ethnicity would already be a wee touchy but to do so in Mandarin, aiyoyo amah! But for a minister to deliver his policy or whatever in Mandarin, wakakaka - as blogger Patrick Teoh would exclaim as per his blog's name, Niamah.