PM to confer with ASEAN leaders on making Malay second language

By Aisyah Husna

KUALA LUMPUR, 23 March 2022: Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob will meet with ASEAN leaders to suggest that the Malay language be used as the region’s second language, in an effort to promote the mother tongue on a global scale, BERNAMA reported.

Apart from Malaysia, the Prime Minister stated that the language was also utilised as a medium of instruction in numerous surrounding nations, including Indonesia, Brunei, and Singapore, as well as southern Thailand, the Philippines, and sections of Cambodia.

“There is no reason why the Malay language cannot be made an official language of ASEAN; we will coordinate this subject, and I will speak with the leaders of ASEAN countries that utilise the language to persuade them to make it the second official language of ASEAN.”

“After that, we will discuss with other ASEAN leaders whose countries also have residents who use Malay as a spoken language,” he said during the question-and-answer session in the Dewan Negara on Wednesday (March 23).

He said this in response to Senator Datuk Seri Zurainah Musa’s follow-up question about whether the government will engage with ASEAN leaders to coordinate the usage of the Malay language at the regional level.

Ismail Sabri elaborated, saying that only four of the ten ASEAN countries utilise English in formal international events, while the other six use their own mother tongues in official matters and must be translated.

The Prime Minister stated that he has previously utilised Bahasa Malaysia during official visits to Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia, and Thailand, as well as during his recent visit to Vietnam.

“We do not need to be embarrassed or ashamed to speak Malay on a global scale because this effort to preserve the Malay language is also in line with one of the main areas of the Malaysian Foreign Policy Framework, which was launched by the government on 7 December 2021.”

“This endeavour will be continued in any bilateral or multilateral international meetings and conferences, whether within or outside the country as necessary,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said the Foreign Ministry will provide translation training to officers stationed overseas in response to another supplemental question from Senator Datuk Isa Ab Hamid on whether the government had deployed highly proficient officers in Malay abroad. ***


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