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Shah Alam road signs with Chinese characters defaced, local council slammed for wasting money

SHAH ALAM (Malaysia) — Several road signs in Shah Alam, Selangor containing Chinese characters appeared to have been defaced, following public complaints and the subsequent decree by the Sultan of Selangor calling for their removal.

Shah Alam road signs with Chinese characters defaced, local council slammed for wasting money

Some signs were painted over neatly with green paint, similar to the original colour of the signs. It could not be confirmed if this was done by the Shah Alam City Council.

SHAH ALAM (Malaysia) — Several road signs in Shah Alam, Selangor containing Chinese characters appeared to have been defaced, following public complaints and the subsequent decree by the Sultan of Selangor calling for their removal.

Checks by Malay Mail in the Subang Perdana, Subang New Village, and Kampung Melayu Subang areas on Tuesday (Nov 20) found that on some of those signage, the Chinese characters were sprayed over with black paint.

Some were painted over neatly with green paint, similar to the original colour of the signs. It could not be confirmed if the latter ones were done by the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA), who said on Tuesday it was in the middle of replacing the dual-language signage.

This comes as several local residents told Malay Mail their displeasure at the amount of public money being spent to install new signage with either Chinese or Tamil script, and subsequently the removal and replacement following the royal decree.

But several of the ethnic Chinese locals interviewed also pointed out that they care little for the signage with Chinese script.

“I didn't pay attention to all these. Even if the signboards are here, it’s no use. It’s still difficult to find your way here,” said 68-year old Ng Ket Leng when met at Subang Perdana.

“This is just a waste of money. When finding routes here is already difficult, writing the road names in Chinese is of no use.

“This is not a problem at all. Let's all not fight over this. It's enough with just one language,” the pensioner added.

Just like Mr Ng, tailor Chor Chong Tin, 59, was also indifferent. But he felt that having Chinese spellings may come handy for those who have poor knowledge of Malay language.

“Some people don't know Malay or English, so they just read the Chinese language.

“However, just Chinese language alone too won’t do. For me, it’s not a problem. I don't care. I'm very simple,” Mr Chor said.

The Chinese characters on a road sign in Shah Alam were sprayed over with black paint. Photo: Malay Mail

INCLUSIVITY OR PROVOCATION?

Several Malay residents interviewed saw the initial move to install dual-language signage as provocation, with some even suggesting a conspiracy.

“Why must the Chinese wordings be on top and be prioritised?” asked a 65-year-old self-employed resident of Taman Subang Baru, Abdul Majid Sumal.

“I was meaning to ask. Now this is simple. Who did this, and who approved it? That person must face action, because this person, I am sure they know that in Malaysia, Chinese language is secondary to Bahasa Malaysia.”

Mr Abdul Majid suggested that the issue may not have been controversial had the Chinese writing been printed below the Malay version.

Omar Hassan, a resident from Kampung Melayu Subang, said he had contacted state assemblyman Shatiri Mansor to express discontent over the use of Chinese language on the road signs, claiming that local council rules do not allow such practice.

“If according to the specs issued by the local council in 2017 the council allowed that Bahasa Malaysia must be 30 per cent larger than Chinese writings or the Indian language.

“Chinese and Indian words were also allowed beneath Bahasa Malaysia, but it must be smaller than the wordings of the national language. Likewise, with postcodes and others,” the self-employed Mr Omar told Malay Mail.

“However today, we here, have a new village head, and a new state executive committee member, and they raised this type of signboards here,” Mr Omar claimed, although he did not provide any proof.

He also expressed fear that the signage issues might lead to racial tension, claiming that the recent signage have broken the purportedly harmonious life of the residents here.

Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah said in a decree earlier this week through his private secretary that he wants the road signs to be changed. The work should be completed before the Sultan’s 73rd birthday on December 11, the decree added.

MBSA Corporate and Public Relations Division head Shahrin Ahmad said on Tuesday that the work to dismantle all such signs is being done in stages and is expected to be completed soon.

Following a meeting of the Selangor local government committee on Jan 13, it was decided that the road signs will contain two languages besides the Romanised script.

The committee also decided that the Jawi script will also be used for the road signs in traditional villages and the Chinese script for the road signs in the new villages, depending on the community in the area. AGENCIES

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