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Johor exco Tan Hong Pin says what was shared on social media was not the full picture. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: A Johor state executive member has come to the defence of an Iskandar Puteri city councillor over his apparent “disrespect” of the Bahasa Malaysia language, after penning an official letter purportedly only in Mandarin and English.

Bag AW18 2XU Transition 2XU Transition Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar had criticised the councillor stating all official letters must be in Bahasa Malaysia.

Tan Hong Pin, Johor state exco for local government, science, and technology, said what appeared on social media “did not paint the full picture”.

Tan said Chan Wei Khjan’s letter had in fact been in three languages — English, Malay, and Mandarin.

However, he said, for some reason, only the Mandarin and Malay versions went viral.

“The official letter issued by the councillor in question was in Bahasa Malaysia. It was attached with bilingual (Mandarin and English) language versions.

“This was aimed at informing residents who may not be well-versed in Bahasa Malaysia to participate in a dialogue about a roadblock between Jalan Jaya Mas 1/2 and Jalan Silat Cetak 2,” Tan said in a Facebook post tonight.

Tan said he agreed with the view that the position of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language must always be respected and said Chan had no intention of challenging its status.

He urged former Johor menteri besar Mohamed Khaled Nordin and Iskandar Puteri PAS not to play up the issue on social media.

“Stop making this an issue of race by not painting the full picture. Such irresponsible action should be stopped immediately to preserve racial harmony in Johor,” Tan said.

In a Facebook posting, Sultan Iskandar had said the councillor involved should resign if he “did not know how to do his job” and warned him not to repeat this grave mistake.

He also pointed out that his palace had never written any official letters in two languages.

He said all official communication pertaining to matters involving the state government or local authorities must be in Malay.