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Success Of National Language Policy Needs Involvement

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PUTRAJAYA – Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today urged people of all levels of society to work together for the success of the National Language Policy to ensure the government’s objective of making it a language of unity is achieved.

The deputy prime minister said this was because there was a difference in the appreciation of the national language among certain groups, making it difficult for the objective to become a reality.

“Year after year, I notice that appreciation for the national language differs among certain groups, that our hopes of making the national language a language of unity still unachievable.

“As such, I urge all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, to accord the highest value to the national language and work together to elevate the national language and letters,” he said when launching the national level National Language Month at the Putrajaya International Conference Centre (PICC) here.

Also present were the social and cultural affairs advisor to the government,  Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim and director-general of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) Datuk Dr Awang Sariyan.

To ensure that the national language belonged to all citizens, Muhyiddin proposed that the DBP worked with various associations and institutions of all ethnic groups to produce better results and contribute to strengthening the language.

The deputy prime minister also said the use of the national language in the ministries and state governments should be increased, especially in the quality of language used.

Although generally the language was widely used, he said the preliminary report of the audit programme for the Malay language conducted by DBP since last concluded that its use in official matters should be increased.

He also expressed concerns over the increasing use of unnationalistic names for housing estates, business premises or institutions in the context of developing the national image.

For this purpose, the local authorities should be more serious about enforcing the Advertising by-laws which, among others, made it compulsory to use the national language in advertisements, names of businesses, places, buildings and other signages, he said.

Muhyiddin said this was in line with the decision by the National Meeting for Local Councils on March 4 which decided that all signages in public places, whether by the private sector or government agencies had to be approved by the DBP and issued a certificate of approval first, especially in the language aspect.

He said the challenge to make the national language the lingua franca of knowledge and thought had become more difficult with the presence of new media which was prone to be free from all norms of decency, behaviour and language.

Besides encouraging a culture of manners, he said the media should also play its role as an agent of society or socialisation through the use of quality and organised language.

Commenting on the main role of the national language in the education system, Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said the government had drawn up the Malaysian Educational Development Plan 2013-2025 (PPPM), which among others stressed the use of the national language as a medium of instruction.

“In the case of institutions of higher learning (IPT), the government  launched the National Language Empowerment Plan in IPTs in 2011, where an audit of the percentage of use of the national language as a medium of instruction was conducted by the Education Ministry, DBP and Institut Alam dan Tamadun Melayu (ATMA) to ensure all IPT applied the national language as outlined in the PPPM,” he said. – BERNAMA

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