Archive for the ‘Bahasa Melayu’ Category

A Bahasa Malaysia for all

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

IT MAY seem strange to many that I wrote in English this article promoting Bahasa Malaysia. But I don’t find it strange. I did so because I do not want to be accused of being an Umno patriot, a cendekiawan Melayu (Malay intellectual) or even someone biased towards Bahasa Melayu because it’s his mother tongue.

I want people to understand that I can switch between Bahasa Malaysia and English anytime. If I were to give a ceramah in Bahasa Malaysia, I would do so 100%. If I were to lecture in English, again I would do so 100%. None of this bahasa rojak (mixing of languages) business.

In this article I wish to explain my history of teaching in Bahasa Malaysia, my concerns about the future of this language and how I think we should go about making Bahasa Malaysia the pride of Malaysians.

I was first introduced to the world of knowledge in Bahasa Malaysia when I began my teaching career in 1987 at a local public university. I was asked to teach Structures 1, 2 and 3 and Theory of Architecture 1, 2 and 3 in Bahasa Malaysia.

At first I grumbled and grudgingly taught the subjects for a year until I went to a conference on translation. At the conference, one British professor who spoke Bahasa Melayu with an Indonesian accent explained that all great civilisations achieved huge advancements in scientific and philosophic thoughts in their own languages. This was how Japan, China and Korea vastly improved their technological and economic prowess.

I left the conference with a new sense of purpose and zeal and commenced my writing, which has continued until today. I promised myself that I would transfer everything I knew about architecture into Bahasa Malaysia.

To date, I have written over 200 encyclopaedia entries and over 200 papers and media articles in Bahasa Malaysia. Of my 52 published books, 22 are in Bahasa Malaysia.

Something happened in my 10th year of teaching. The university leadership started to use two important terms: internationalisation and world-class. The leadership said that in order to be world-class, we have to be internationally acknowledged, and in order to be so, we have to go English.

I was not convinced that we needed other people to acknowledge that we were good. I read Professor Sham Sani’s professorial lecture on internationalisation, where he said, being internationally acclaimed means that other people want to know what you have that is valuable to all of mankind.

They don’t care which language you use to phrase the construct of that knowledge. I decided to go against the university directive and lectured in Bahasa Malaysia and graded assignments in the same language.

One day, I walked into my undergraduate class and found a student from Yemen and another from Iran. The university had started recruiting foreign students for our undergraduate intake apparently because having such students was an important criterion for being ‘international’.

I had no choice but to switch to teaching in English.

From then on, things went downhill for Bahasa Malaysia. The university revealed that promotion relies heavily on work that is published in international high-impact journals. Journal and book publication in Bahasa Malaysia suffered a huge setback.

All our universities were in English mode because of their focus on rankings and internationalisation. I have never agreed with and will never support the idea of university rankings as a measure of excellence.

To me, knowledge is always about creating a new culture of understanding within the immediate community where one’s knowledge was generated. If the generation of knowledge does not go hand in hand with the production of an enlightened citizenry and a sustainable economic and health environment, I consider this an indication that the universities are not performing well.

Churning out millions of graduates to fit in the workforce is not a real measure of a university. Universities are about ideas, innovations, effective communication and building societies.

If education was to serve only professors, academics and vice-chancellors so that they get overseas trips and fat salaries, the purpose of the university as an agent of social change would be defeated.

One academic pointed out that we are seeing rising religious intolerance among Malays because Bahasa Malaysia has a diminishing role in knowledge constructs. Concepts of democracy, liberalism, pluralism and progressive ideas are now left to clerics who paint a negative construct for all these civilisational ideas.

That is why the racial and religious tension we experience today ominously resembles that of the 1960s. We have not progressed!

To forge ahead and shift our national narrative towards a more harmonious and progressive Malaysia, Bahasa Malaysia must make a comeback.

When I read Hikayat Abdullah and Hikayat Hang Tuah, I was fascinated by Kassim Ahmad’s analysis of the myriad of words and terms that came from nine different civilisations. Most of the Malay words we know come from Indian, Chinese, Arabic, Javanese and Sanskrit. There were those adapted from Portuguese.

Now, Bahasa Malaysia is invaded mainly by English terms. I think that in order for Malaysians to be proud of Bahasa Malaysia, it needs to return to adapting words from the other 38 ethnic groups in our country.

Instead of just choosing English terms, why can’t some of the terms related to social, religious and everyday objects adapt and adopt our ethnic languages in Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula? That way, we acknowledge the importance of all our ethnic groups.

Another way to enhance Bahasa Malaysia as a language of pride is to allow and encourage its use in discourses, forums and discussions in private universities. These institutions need to look at the important role of memartabatkan (upholding) Bahasa Malaysia by allowing Masters and PhD theses to be written in that language. After all, we have more than enough Malaysian academics raised with Bahasa Malaysia to read and evaluate these academic works.

Internationalisation or being world-class does not mean that we abandon Bahasa Malaysia.

First of all, the priority of the university is to educate the people in the country so that they are aware of new developments and concerns such as concepts of liberty, plurality and a spiritual universal construct that can be shared in a language that all the citizens are proud of. The way forward for our beloved nation must include a progressive Bahasa Malaysia for all.

By Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor of Architecture at UCSI University. The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own.

Platform to produce literary talents

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

Maszlee says the ministry will ensure that government schools create a national literary corner from next year to cultivate a love for literature.

DEWAN Bahasa dan Pustaka is proposing the establishment of an “Akademi Sasterawan Harapan” as a platform to produce more literary talents.

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the effort to establish the academy could be carried out with the assistance of talented writers and guided or coached by national laureates who were still around.

He said the academy should start with intakes from primary schools, secondary schools up to universities.

“We know national laureates come and go and also various programmes have been organised but what I want to point out is to restore the learning tradition, we want to create writers from a very young age. ” he said.

Maszlee was speaking at the presentation of the Malaysia Premier Literary Award and “Hadiah Sastera Tunas Cipta” 2017/2018.

In addition, starting next year, Maszlee said the ministry would also ensure that government schools create a national literary corner to cultivate a love for literature.At a ceremony aimed at recognising the country’s national laureates, winners of several categories were honoured for their novels, short stories, poems, essays and literary critics.

Among them was the recipient of the Prominent Journalist Award Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar who won in two categories, the first for the autobiography “Jejak Seni Dari Pentas Bangsawan ke Media Prima Berhad” and the other for the short drama category titled “Pokok”, to take home RM9,500. -

by Bernama.

The Malay World, according to Ismail Hussein

Thursday, October 17th, 2019
Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Pendeta Ismail Hussein is considered to be responsible for our consciousness of Dunia Melayu

THE term “Dunia Melayu”, or Malay World, has been articulated without being precise as to its essence and parameters.

Such ambivalence may not augur well for Malaysia, and in the nation embracing culture as integral to its foreign policy.

In national popular consciousness, as a category and vocabulary used among the Malays in Malaysia, the term Dunia Melayu also can be seen to fairly overlap with the period of the New Economic Policy.

Gapena (The Federation of National Writers’ Association, Malaysia) has been synonymous with the Dunia Melayu movement with its first Dunia Melayu Symposium held in Melaka in 1982.

That provided the opportunity for most of the participants to begin engaging with other Malay, the so-called Malay diaspora.

Malays in Sri Lanka, and Madagascar began to emerge in the national discourse.

The second symposium then, was jointly held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, three years later.

This was when Gapena transcended the geographies of the Malay Archipelago, contributing to the general awareness among scholars, researchers, journalists, writers, culturalists, and the Malay laity about the existence of the Malay stock (Rumpun Melayu) outside the Dunia Melayu motherland.

The rumpun would generally be accepted as comprising Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, and much recently, the peoples of the Philippines.

The man considered to be responsible for our consciousness of the Dunia Melayu was Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Pendeta Ismail Hussein (1932-2014).

Ismail was the long-time leader of Gapena and an academic with Universiti Malaya and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

He was a student of University of Leiden Dutch scholar professor A. Teeuw from 1962 to 1964.

The problem of nation building is linked to the notion of nationhood in the wider geographical and historical context.

In this sense, the history of Malaysia needs to be reminded, and continuously foretold for future generations.

In his speech at the ceremony on the handing over of his books to the Kedah Public Library in Alor Star, and the Ismail Hussein Collection Exhibition by the Sultan of Kedah in 1988, Ismail expounded the notion and the different layers of Dunia Melayu.

The narrative on the Malays produce the term The Malay Archipelago (Kepulauan Melayu) and the Malay racial stock (Rumpun Bangsa Melayu).

Ismail articulated four levels of existence with reference to the Malay World.

In his 1988 speech, for the first time, he identified the four layers of the Malay world.

The first was what he called the ‘Dunia Melayu Inti’ (The Core Malay World); the second ‘Dunia Berbahasa Melayu’ (The Malay-Speaking World); third is the ‘Dunia Rumpun Melayu’ (Malay World Racial Stock); and the fourth ‘Dunia Melayu Polinesia (The Melayu-Polynesian World).

Each ‘world’ overlapped and is not mutually exclusive.

Each world, according to Ismail, represented its own ‘alam.’

The core (inti) comprises the geo-cultural territories of Malaysia, Brunei and the coastal Malay-Muslim communities in the Nusantara region.

In the core Malay World, Islam is synonymous with the Malays, where ‘Masuk Melayu’ (becoming Malay) would at the same time mean ‘Masuk Islam’ (becoming Muslim), and vice versa.

Then there is the Malay-speaking world comprising nation states that have adopted Bahasa Melayu as their national language.

Apart from Malaysia, the others are Brunei, Indonesia and Singapore.

We must not forget that the Malay-speaking world also comprise Malay communities in what is now Thailand fairly stretching to the Ithmus of Kra, the Mergui Archipelago in the Tanintharyi (Tanah Sari) area in Myanmar, facing the Andaman Sea, various parts of the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Not all in the Malay-speaking world are ethnic Malays or from the Malay stock.

There are those who are ethnic Indians and Chinese.

And not every one in the Malay-speaking world is a Muslim.

There are also Malay-speaking Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and animists.

Subsequently, there is the Malay World Racial Stock.

According to Ismail, this would include the indigenous people of Taiwan (but I would also include the Chams, native to Cambodia and Vietnam, which Ismail did not mention).

Tacit in Ismail’s projection is the geographical, historical and cultural stretch of the Malay Archipelago, including the islands of the Philippines.

And finally, the largest expression of the Malay refers to the Melayu-Polynesian World, located in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from Madagascar to Rapanui (Easter Islands) and from Hawaii to the Aotearoa (literally “land of the long white cloud), the Maori name for New Zealand, and thousands of islands

Almost all the Melayu-Polynesian nations outside the Malay Archipelago are not Muslims.

The extent of the Malay world, as identified and articulated by Ismail, demonstrated diversity and inclusiveness within the ‘tanah air’ comprising almost a quarter of the surface of the earth.

The collective histories and memories evoke a concrete and immediate reality of the Malay peoples.

At the same time, stretching the Malay world to the furthest imaginable realm evokes the grand tradition of a people.

Ismail’s reconstruction of the Malay world must be seen in light of national polemics in the Malay character, indigenity and origins.

The nation’s trade, cultural and foreign policies must factor in some 350 inhabitants of the Dunia Melayu.

here is Malaysia, and there is the rest of the Dunia Melayu straddling the two great oceans.


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Opening the windows of our mind

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

THE pre-eminence and official position of the Malay language is deeply entrenched in our Constitution. Article 152(1) prescribes that the national language shall be the Malay language and shall be used for all official purposes.

Official purpose is defined in Article 152(6) as any purpose of the federal or state governments or a public authority.

The official position of the Malay language is further reiterated in the National Language Act 1963/67, the Education Act 1996 and the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996.

The Education Act, for example, states succinctly in Section 17(1) that “the national language shall be the main medium of instruction in all educational institutions in the National Education System”.

The exceptions from compulsory use of Bahasa Malaysia are many and the discretion of the government is wide. Its use or non-use is a matter of political judgement and educational vision.

Constitutional exceptions: Despite Article 152, the country’s multilingual character is safeguarded by the law. The Constitution permits linguistic diversity and places special emphasis on familiarity with and use of English in several sectors.

No person shall be prohibited or prevented from using (other than for official purposes), teaching or learning, any other language: Article 152(1)(a). Federal and state governments have the right to preserve and sustain the use and study of the languages of any other community: Article 152(1)(b).

Article 152(2) provides that for a period of 10 years after Merdeka and thereafter until Parliament

provides, English may be used in Parliament, state assemblies and for all other official purposes.

The National Language Act in Section 5 provides that with the permission of the presiding officer, English may be used in Parliament or any state assembly.

Article 152(3) and Sections 6-7 of the National Language Act provide that all post-September 1967 laws

at the federal and state levels must be in two languages: Malay and English, the former being authoritative.

Article 152(4) and (5), when read with Section 8 of the National Language Act, provide that all court proceedings shall be in Malay. However, the presiding judge may permit the use of English.

Article 161(3) and (4) state that any restrictions on the use of English in judicial proceedings relating to Sabah and Sarawak cases cannot become law without the consent of the legislatures of these states.

Article 161(5) allows the use of native languages in Sabah and Sarawak for purposes of native courts, native codes and native customs.

Exceptions under the NLA: The National Language Act (NLA) in Section 2 commands the use of Malay for all official purposes. However, it contains a number of significant exceptions.

Section 4 provides that “the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may permit the continued use of the English language for such official purposes as may be deemed fit”.

It is noteworthy that this provision has no time limit and is not confined to any particular sphere.

However, a gazette notification has outlined the areas where English may be used.

This notification can be added to and expanded at the government’s discretion.

Such a discretion is indeed exercised in relation to the International Islamic University Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Mara, many public and private universities and colleges as well as the 69 fully residential schools.

In tertiary institutions, all twinning programmes and external courses use English. Many continuing education programmes in government departments also employ English.

National television and radio use the whole spectrum of languages spoken in the country.

The application of the NLA in Sabah and Sarawak is not automatic. The NLA applies in Sabah and Sarawak only if the state legislatures adopt it: NLA Section 1(2).

The federal and state governments have a very wide power “to use any translation of official documents or communications in any other language for such purposes as may be deemed necessary in the public interest”: Section 3, NLA.

Education Act 1996: The national language need not be the main medium of instruction in national type (vernacular) schools established under Section 28.

In addition, Section 17(1) authorises the Minister to exempt any other educational institution from using Malay as the main medium of instruction.

The power of the Minister is broad enough to extend to all types of primary and secondary schools. The permutations of law and policy are immense.

Section 143 exemption: The Minister of Education has discretion to exempt any educational institution or any class or classes of institutions from the Act except as to registration.

English as a compulsory subject: In all national primary and secondary schools, the English language is a compulsory subject of instruction.

No statutory guidelines are given as to how many hours per week English may be taught; therefore, the Minister’s discretion is very wide to enhance the teaching and learning of the language and the level of competence that must be attained and whether a pass or credit in English is a prerequisite to obtaining the necessary certificate or accreditation.

Private educational institutions: Under Sections 73(3) and 75, private higher educational institutions are provided much latitude and autonomy.

Section 75(1)(a) implies that Malay need not be the main medium of instruction, but in such a case it shall be a compulsory subject in the curriculum.

Mandarin and Tamil: In the broad spirit of Article 152, the Education Act 1996 in Section 2 provides that the Chinese or Tamil language shall be made available in national primary and national secondary schools if the parents of at least 15 pupils in the school make such a request.

Indigenous languages: Likewise, indigenous languages, Arabic, Japanese, German or French or any other foreign language may be made available if it is reasonable and practisable so to do.

Act 555: The Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996 permits private universities to flourish and gives them considerable autonomy in the matter of language of instructions, but with the requirement that the Malay language shall be taught as a subject and shall be a prerequisite to the award.

In sum, the Constitution and the laws require us to honour and promote the national language, but also to keep the windows of our mind open to the world by learning and using English and other foreign languages.

With the permission of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Minister, the use of English and other languages in our schools and universities is neither illegal nor against national policy.

The following types of schools can be exempted from the national Malay language policy:

> Government schools that are national primary, national-type primary and national secondary

> Government-aided schools that are national primary, national-type primary and national secondary

> Private schools

The Minister’s discretion is very wide to enhance the teaching and learning of the English language and the level of competence that must be attained as a prerequisite to obtaining the necessary certificate or accreditation.

The law permits considerable flexibility and many permutations of the law and policy are possible. Any changes are a matter of courage and imagination.

To paraphrase Jesse Jackson: Leaders of substance do not follow opinion polls; they mould opinion, not with guns or dollars or positions but with the power of their souls.

By Shad Saleem Faruqi
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Students of different races play vital role in empowering national language

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

SEPANGGAR: The involvement of students of various races in activities that can empower Bahasa Melayu is crucial, said Sabah Minister of Education and Innovation, Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob.

He said, activities such as the State-level Bahasa Melayu Co-Academic Competition organised by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) and Malaysian Education Ministry is one of the examples that could elevate the national language among the youths.

The competitions held at Kampus Intan Sabah yesterday during the event consist of the Teen Forum, Sahibbah for Primary Schools and Secondary Schools, Poetry Recital, and Syair Presentation.

“For me, each of the competitions shows our initiative to preserve our national language, in line with the objective of the Federal Constitution. It also creates awareness among the youths about the importance of national language in developing a nation.

“I hope these competitions could educate our students, regardless of their race, language, and background on the importance of using the correct national language,” he said.

He said this in his text speech which was delivered by Assistant Minister to Minister of Education and Innovation Mohammad Mohamarin during the closing ceremony of the Bahasa Melayu Co-Academic Competition.

He added that the youths are the nation’s most important assets, as they will be the next leaders in the future; therefore they need to be efficiently equipped with knowledge and education.

Besides that, the school’s involvement in empowering the usage of national language among students is also pivotal.

“This is in line with the competition’s objective which is to provide a platform for students to use standard Malay language among themselves,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sabah Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka Director Aminah Awang Besar stressed that the involvement of DBP in the competition is one of their continuous efforts to preserve the national language.


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Bringing Bahasa Melayu to the fore

Monday, April 15th, 2019
Teo (fourth from right) launching the MABBIM meet and unveiling the language body’s latest resource books.

Teo (fourth from right) launching the MABBIM meet and unveiling the language body’s latest resource books.

THE Education Ministry wants to widen the use of Bahasa Melayu (BM) not only within the country, but internationally.

Measures to promote it include requiring that students get at least a credit in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), organising the National Language Decade campaign, and working with non-governmental organisations to help improve the mastery of BM especially in vernacular schools.

“We also want Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) to be the go-to body for BM like how the British Council is for English,” Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said when opening the 58th meeting of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia Language Council (MABBIM) at Wisma DBP in Kuala Lumpur on April 10.

Held from April 8 to 13, the event saw 11 papers presented at the MABBIM language seminar.

“Closer collaborations between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei can make that happen.”

In his speech, DBP director-general Datuk Abang Salehuddin Abang Shokeran said, since its inception 47 years ago, MABBIM has carried out various efforts to build and promote BM and Bahasa Indonesia, including publishing dictionaries, and research and resource books, and organising language workshops.

“BM is an important language of communication in South East Asia. We’re drawing up plans to make it an international language amidst the challenges of IR 4.0 (Fourth Industrial Revolution).”

By Christina Chin
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Candidates can take SPM Bahasa Melayu as single paper

Monday, April 8th, 2019
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said in such cases candidates would only be given the results slip of the particular subject and not the SPM certification. NSTP/MOHD YUSNI ARIFFIN

KUALA LUMPUR: Students who want to take Bahasa Melayu as a single paper for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination can do so with the approval of the National Examination Board.

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said in such cases candidates would only be given the results slip of the particular subject and not the SPM certification.

“If the candidate only takes BM paper, then the result slip will only be given for that subject and this can only be done with the approval of the National Examination Board,” she said.

Teo also clarified that the full SPM certificate would only be given to candidates who took six compulsory subjects and scored at least credits for both the BM and History papers.

The six compulsory subject for all SPM candidates are BM, English, Islamic Studies or Moral Studies, History, Mathematics and Science.

Earlier today, during the question and answer session, Teo said SPM candidates were allowed to take one subject instead of the prerequisite six subjects, if candidates were given prior approval.

She was replying to Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong (Ayer Hitam-BN) who had asked whether SPM would be made into an open examination, where candidates would be allowed to sit for a single subject.

By Beatrice Nita Jay.

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Cambridge IGCSE to offer Bahasa Melayu subject

Thursday, November 15th, 2018
(File pix) (From left) Cambridge AssessmentInternational Education Southeast Asia & Pacific regional director Dr Ben Schmidt, Education Ministry private education division deputy director Ahmad Lotfi Zubir and Cambridge International country director (Malaysia and Brunei) Ng Kim Huat during launch of Cambridge IGCSE First Language Malay syllabus recently. Pix by Amirudin Sahib

MALAYSIAN students undertaking the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) as a pathway towards tertiary education can now choose Bahasa Melayu as a subject.

The Cambridge IGCSE First Language Malay (0696) syllabus, introduced recently by the Cambridge Assessment International Education, offers a higher level and more challenging studies in Bahasa Melayu.

Schools can start teaching the syllabus in September next year, with the first exam being set for June 2021.

Prior to its introduction, Cambridge IGCSE offers only the Malay Foreign Language (0546) subject for students with no basic grounding in Bahasa Melayu.

Cambridge Assessment International Education Southeast Asia & Pacific regional director Dr Ben Schmidt said the 0696 syllabus is catered for Malay native speakers.

Candidates should have studied a Malay-language curriculum at lower secondary level or an equivalent national education framework.

“We regularly review and update the programmes and qualifications that we offer to ensure they reflect the latest developments in teaching and learning in each country.

“These updates are implemented to ensure that what we offer is parallel to the needs of schools around the world. In Malaysia, there is growing demand for a first language qualification in Bahasa Melayu.

“This is a positive sign that native speakers are looking to advance their comprehension skills, and want to learn to respond knowledgeably and critically on a wide range of topics. With that, we are excited to introduce the Cambridge IGCSE First Language Malay,” said Schmidt.

“We will hold discussions with local universities and professional bodies to gain recognition for this qualification.”

The syllabus aims to harness the learners’ ability to communicate clearly, accurately and effectively in Bahasa Melayu, besides developing an effective writing style. Learners are also encouraged to read widely for their own enjoyment and develop an appreciation of how writers achieve their flair.

The syllabus is modelled after the successful and widely-recognised Cambridge IGCSE First Language English syllabus.

However, it is in no way meant to be an equivalent of Bahasa Melayu in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).

Education Ministry private education division deputy director Ahmad Lotfi Zubir said: “The Cambridge IGCSE First Language Malay syllabus tests a different set of language skills than SPM Bahasa Melayu.”


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Standard BM framework a first

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is the first country to come up with a standardised framework for Bahasa Melayu.

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the Bahasa Melayu Standard Framework will be used by all the institutions under his ministry from next year onwards.

“We will also give the framework to the other ministries to be used,” he told reporters after closing the National Language Month 2018 yesterday.

Dr Maszlee launched the framework at the same event

“We will also send the framework to the 21 (learning) institutions worldwide (that have Bahasa Melayu programmes),” he said.

On whether the framework would be applied to members of Parliament, he said that he, as Education Minister, would encourage his fellow Cabinet ministers to improve on their Bahasa Melayu language skills from time to time.

Institute of Teacher Education Bahasa Melayu Campus senior lecturer Lokman Abd Wahid said the framework is similar to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which is standardised and used internationally to determine English proficiency levels.

He said there were six proficiency levels in the framework.

Lokman, who is also the Malay language education programme manager at the ministry, said this framework would ensure Bahasa Melayu proficiency evaluations could be standardised.

He said there were plans to establish a Bahasa Melayu Council (Majlis Bahasa Melayu) to ensure the quality of the framework was maintained and improved from time to time.

He said the 18-member council would be similar to the British Council, which oversees English language usage.

By Rebecca Rajaendram
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Education Ministry to embark on ambitious plan to empower Bahasa Melayu

Thursday, July 12th, 2018
Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the ministry, via Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP), will launch Dekad Bahasa Kebangsaan (National Language Decade) which will map out a comprehensive plan to make the national language the language of choice in the country. BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA: The Education Ministry will redouble its effort to uphold Bahasa Melayu as the national language, not just in the country but also regionally and on a global scale

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the ministry, via Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP), will launch Dekad Bahasa Kebangsaan (National Language Decade) which will map out a comprehensive plan to make the national language the language of choice in the country.

“Malaysia is ‘too small’ (to do justice to Bahasa Melayu). We will also be promoting and empowering the national language throughout the Asean region.

“Asean is also too small for the national language. That is why we will be taking Bahasa Melayu to the world stage,” he said.

Maszlee was speaking at the ministry’s monthly assembly and Hari Raya Aidilifitri celebration here on Thursday.

He said, over the next five years, the ministry will also work towards placing DBP on par with centres and language institutes of developed nations.

“We will work hard to elevate DPB on the same level as the British Council, Goethe Institute and Nippon Institute.

“It is with this aim in mind that we are embarking on this venture and we aim to make it a reality,” he said.

Maszlee said that at the same time, the ministry is aware that the reading culture among Malaysians have yet to reach a satisfactory level.

“In reality, it is lagging behind compared to other developed nations. The Education Ministry, in cooperation with other ministries and its agencies, will revive the National Reading Campaign, first introduced in the 1990s, which will run for two years,” he said.

The campaign will involve two stages – the first two years will see a more aggressive, radical and unconventional approach to ensure that Malaysians inculcate the reading habit.

“From 2020 to 2030, the period will be declared the National Language Decade. DBP will once again be entrusted with spearheading this initiative and we hope that in 2030, Malaysians will be known around the world as a reading society,” he said.


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