BANGI – The mastery of Bahasa Melayu among the new generation of Malaysians is a must regardless of a person’s racial background, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak stressed.
In stating this, Najib said all races, including the Chinese and Indians, must at least be well-versed in the national language.
Stressing the importance of maintaining the standard of the language, Najib said terms such as “gua” and “lu” (I and you) were a language of the past and should not be practised by the current generation of Malaysians.
“The new generation – regardless if they are Chinese, Indians, Ulu or Kelabit – must speak well in our national language. This is what we need to fight for,” he said.
“Even if they enter the Chinese or Tamil vernacular schools, they need to speak Bahasa Melayu well. This is our language and our identity,” Najib said in his opening speech of the 2017 Culture Congress at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
Also present during the opening ceremony were his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Socio-Cultural Advisor to the Government Tan Sri Rais Yatim.
Najib admitted that there was indeed a polemic when it comes to balancing the usage of Bahasa Melayu and other languages, such as English, but added the government had never restricted the use of other languages.
“We do not stop and we even encourage the mastery of second and third languages as we want the Malays and Malaysians to possess a strong identity,” he said.
“We encourage and praise those who want to speak English fluently. Today’s world is not only about economy and nationalism. We need to be a globally competitive race,” he added.
Najib also lamented the advance of internet and social media which in turn had somehow brought in foreign cultures that are a contrast to our own.
“Furthermore, the usage of bahasa-bahasa rojak (mixed languages) has eroded the strength of Bahasa Melayu itself,” he said.
The congress also saw the passing of eleven resolutions which aimed to strengthen the Malaysian culture.
One of the resolutions sought for the national language to be made a language of knowledge, administration, trade and legislation in the country. – The Sun