PM speaking Malay at the UN: what Malaysians do not know

I have noticed many people criticising Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob for speaking Malaysia’s national language at overseas events. What’s wrong with that? Many other world leaders also speak their mother-tongue at international functions. And 65 years ago, Tun Dr Ismail also spoke Malay at the United Nations.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

(Bernama) – Sixty-five years ago, a leader by the name of Ismail created history as the first Malaysian to speak at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in the United States.

He was Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, the first Malaysian envoy to the US and representative to the UN.

Clad in a traditional baju Melayu and a keris, Tun Dr Ismail made the country proud when he delivered a speech at the UN General Assembly in September 1957, less than a month after Malaysia gained independence.

Today, another Ismail took the floor.

Also clad in baju Melayu, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob created another history as the first Malaysian Prime Minister to deliver the National Statement at the assembly in Malaysia’s national language, Bahasa Melayu.

In fact, the entire Malaysian delegation to the assembly, including Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah were also dressed in national attire and Malaysian batik.

In his 20-minute speech, the prime minister called on the international community to stay united and work together in the spirit of World Family to face global challenges.