Dewan Bahasa slams ministry for rebranding Hari Sukan Negara in English

Dr Mahathir Mohamad launching Hari Sukan Negara in October last year. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP), the government body responsible for developing the national language, has criticised the youth and sports ministry’s decision to rename Hari Sukan Negara to Malaysia Sports Challenge 2019 (MySC’19).

Citing the Federal Constitution and the National Language Act, DBP said Bahasa Malaysia is the official language and must be used in writing and in speech at the federal level.

“The rebranding exercise shows that the youth and sports ministry is not in line with the government’s aspirations to expand the use of Malay in official government programmes,” it said in a statement.

DBP said that in the event a programme is held at the international level, it would suggest for the name of the programme to be in dual languages, with the Malay name given priority.

“DBP is urging ministries and government agencies to uphold the national language as part of our identity and as a medium to communicate and promote unity.”

Yesterday, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim Chee Kiong said the ministry’s decision to name its new month-long sports and fitness programme “Malaysia Sports Challenge 2019 (MySC’19)” in English was not in any way an insult to the national language.

Sim said it was aimed at reaching a wider audience as the ministry takes another step to transform the country into a sporting nation.

He also said naming it in English will attract the involvement of the international sports sector, adding more prestige to the programme.

“We have many international sporting brands with a customer market here. We want to attract their attention and participation in the programme,” he told reporters.