It is more important for the country to have leaders of integrity than one who is proficient in English, says the outspoken Perlis mufti.
While stressing the importance of fluency in English, Perlis Mufti Dr Asri Zainul Abidin said it was even more important to have leaders who genuinely cared for the people.
“The welfare of the people should always be the focus in any public discourse,” Asri said, referring to the criticism from various quarters, as well as by Malaysians on social media, over the speech delivered by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the United Nations General Assembly last week
Hinting at some political leaders in the country, Asri also said it was proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia that seemed to be lacking here.
“Even though English is important, but in the Malaysian context, it is Bahasa Malaysia that should take precedence for any leader. It is our national language.
Unfortunately, many local political leaders are still not fluent in BM, yet no one seems to highlight that fact,” Asri wrote in a Facebook post today.
A leader should always be grounded on the basic principle of justice for the people, he said.
Recalling the tale recorded by Islamic historians, Asri said the third Caliph in the Islamic kingdom, Uthman bin Affan, was known to have stuttered and stumbled while trying to deliver a speech on the day of his installation.
“However, this leader of the Islamic world was a man of great wisdom who had written these words, ‘A leader who is fair is more important than one who is a good speaker’, which is very meaningful till today,” Asri said.
He added that while the delivery of any message from leaders was important, it would be better for the people to focus any discussion on the essential things in life, rather than getting distracted with a side topic, as in this case.
FMT Reporters Online