KUALA LUMPUR – The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, today expressed concern that it would be most unfortunate if the Malay language were to lose its knowledge, administrative and commercial values in an era of globalisation and in the corporate world.
His Royal Highness said that at one time, driven by the heightened spirit of independence, various local authorities changed street names from those of colonial figures to local leaders’.
“Today, the reverse is taking place. More and more housing estates, parks, commercial buildings and tourist attractions approved by the local authorities carry English names,” he said at the Royal Address organised by the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka here.
The Sultan criticised huge government-linked companies, helmed by Malays, for showing disrespect to the national language and not providing genuine support to entities struggling to uphold the national language.
He said the national language, though assumed to have no international value, was a language that not only safeguarded historical links but also upheld the national identity.
Sultan Nazrin Shah called for a wise formula to create a bilingual society in the effort to develop human resources of a global nature without marginalising the national language.
“The country must be wise in striking a balance to avoid compromising the heritage and legacy of the people in the desire to develop human resources of a global nature,” he said.
His Royal Highness said that in accepting the fact that it was important for the people, especially the Malays, to master a universal language in acquiring knowledge and skills, the country should be careful about the methods employed so that what had been gained was not lost.
“We must not dismiss the Unesco finding that mother tongue is the key to effective learning,” he said.
The Sultan said the method to enable the people to master the English language should be formulated properly.
“It is easy to formulate a policy, but before an idea is translated into policy, it is obligatory to scrutinise the implementation mechanism. Delve into any problem in depth to come up with a more effective gem of a solution,” he said.
Sultan Nazrin Shah said the dignity and glory of the Malay language as the national language was part of the spirit of the independence agreement.
“That spirit must be kept alive, the torch of the struggle should be kept lit at all times.
“There are none who can erase the status of the Malay language on this earth except those Malays who are more international in character and do not at all appreciate their heritage,” he said, adding that they should uphold the will of the Malay Rulers who had handed power to the federal administration. – BERNAMA