WE have seen hilarious examples of misspelt signboards, some of which use fractured English that send messages that are quite different from what is intended. There are many on social media that arouse a chuckle.

For example, “Satanise your hands here”, “Malaysians welcome 25 million visitors a*ally”, “Thanks of no Cigarette”, “Please pay your parking fee before existing”, “Shoplifters will be prostituted” and “To let, three badroom”.

However, these are no laughing matter as they indicate our lack of proficiency in the English language. They give the wrong impression to our visitors and are often subjects of ridicule.

Fractured English can lead to miscommunication and confusion among people who do not understand the language well. This can be especially problematic in situations where clarity is important, such as in emergencies.

Using fractured English can create a negative perception of the business or organisation. It can make the business appear unprofessional, uneducated or even disrespectful.

Fractured English can also lead to loss of business. People may be less likely to visit a business or organisation that uses fractured English on its signboards or advertisements.

It is time we take this matter seriously and re-examine our public signs, notices and other forms of communication.

While we need to emphasise Bahasa Malaysia and improve its use in our education system, official communication and literary efforts, we must not overlook the importance of the English language in the global context.

When we communicate with the outside world, it is imperative that we do so effectively.

There are examples of fractured English on certain government department websites. This may be due to officers relying solely on Google Translate without further consideration.

Aside from being amusing, some of them can lead to confusion, especially when providing guidance on the procedures for applying for specific services offered by the department in question. Some of the instructions are unclear or ambiguous.

With a ready supply of retired English teachers available, they can offer invaluable advice on the proper use of the language. They would likely be eager to contribute to such a national cause.

Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye

Kuala Lumpur