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Puad extols Bahasa’s richness

 | June 27, 2012

He tells Parliament the language can hold its own as a medium of instruction in technical subjects.

KUALA LUMPUR: Bahasa Malaysia is rich enough to be the medium of instruction in technical subjects such as science and mathematics, according to Deputy Higher Education Minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi.

He said Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka had, since 1960, published 289 reference books listing technical terms for many disciplines.

“The language can compete with other languages to be the language of education,” he told the Dewan Rakyat today during the question and answer session.

He also mentioned the National Translation Institute, which he said was “continuously translating” scholarly works to keep the national language “competitive and relevant”.

Puad was replying to Tuan Salleh Kalbi (BN-Silam), who asked why Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka appeared powerless against the proliferation of English-sounding terms with Bahasa spelling.

Fuad said that in the guidelines for terminology development, priority would always be given to words and phrases already found in Bahasa Baku. Should that fail, a search would be made through related languages, such as Bahasa Indonesia. Only when these fail would words from a foreign language be used to coin new terms.

“A word may be foreign, but after adaptation of sound and spelling, it becomes part of Bahasa Malaysia,” he said.

There has been much debate over the years regarding English words re-spelt as Bahasa words. Just last August, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka added akauntabiliti (accountability), kokun (cocoon) and akses (access) to its dictionaries.

Tuan Salleh also asked if it was possible for the government to issue a directive banning languages other than Malay from being used on signboards. He asked whether the government was “afraid of reflecting the strength of the Malay language”, adding that he meant no insult to other languages.

Fuad said the government would not use force in promoting the national language, preferring to educate the public on the importance of using it.


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