PUTRAJAYA: Civil servants posted abroad who use foreign languages in the context of their official work will see their monthly allowance increased, the Prime Minister announces.
Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the increase will come into effect on January 1, 2023.
He said it was aimed at encouraging Malaysian diplomats to be proficient in foreign languages, in line with the need for language skills during diplomatic and trade negotiations.
However, the Prime Minister did not indicate the type of allowance that would be increased.
Ismail Sabri added that although proficiency in foreign languages is welcome, there must be a commitment to defend Bahasa Malaysia and to prove that using the language would in no way impede progress.
“Efforts to internationalize Bahasa Malaysia on the world stage is one of our foreign policy objectives,” the Prime Minister said in his keynote address to the Heads of Mission Conference on Tuesday evening (September 6).
Ismail Sabri also said he ordered all correspondence, including that involving foreign affairs, to be written in Bahasa Malaysia.
“I actually wrote letters to world leaders in Bahasa Malaysia, along with an English translation.
“When attending international meetings, I had also used Bahasa Malaysia,” he added.
Ismail Sabri said heads of diplomatic missions must also adopt creative approaches to attract more foreign investors to Malaysia.
“We need to attract investment from new countries and that is important at a time when the world is actively looking for a stable investment destination in the post-pandemic era,” he said.
At the same time, overseas missions should also focus on exploring new markets to export Malaysian products, he added.
The prime minister said areas such as trade, education and agriculture must be assessed to ensure Malaysia stays on track and is not left behind in the global dynamic.