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Slip of the Tongue

Indonesia’s President Yudhoyono Gets Lambasted for Using English in Opening Address in Bali at Non-Aligned Movement Summit.

(5/28/2011) Indonesia’s well-read and well-spoken president, Bambang Susilo Yudhoyono, is receiving a political shellacking for choosing to address the opening session of the Non-Aligned Movement in Bali on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 in the English language.

The president, who during the course of his military career successfully complete graduate-level training in the U.S.A., is perfectly fluent in English. He spoke to the ministerial-level summit gathered at The Grand Hyatt Hotel in Nusa Dua on the topic  “Fighting for Peace, Justice and Prosperity in the 21st Century.”

Quoted in NusaBali, an international law expert, Hikmahanto Juwana, reminded the President that the 2009 national law on the flag, language and use if the national symbol mandates that the president, vice-president and senior officials of the government always use the Indonesian language when speaking officials, either at home or abroad.

Leaders of opposing political parties, including the secretary general of the Gerinda Party, Ahmad Muzani, were quick to join the chorus of criticism. Muzani admonished the president not to be embarrassed to use Indonesian and to be proud of his native tongue.

While the 2009 law does mandate that the president must use Indonesian in his official speeches, that regulation is seen as largely as an official guideline with no penalties or sanction provided for non-compliance.

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