SHAH ALAM: The national unity ministry, through the National Archives, is planning to hold a colloquial language (dialects or vernacular speech) convention next year to collect language-related data.
Its minister, Aaron Ago Dagang, said the convention will be part of the “Ini Warisan Kita” programme to preserve local culture.
The convention will gather all vernacular languages in the country and record their vocabulary officially to serve as a reference for future generations.
“We will try to hold this colloquial language convention next year as we don’t have a record of the number of such languages in the country.
“Each community has its own unique dialect. So we will try to collect them all,” he told reporters after the close of the “Food Unites: Ini Warisan Kita” programme with the “Makan sama-sama edisi nasi lemak” theme here today.
The “Ini Warisan Kita” programme, launched in June, is an initiative by the ministry to safeguard the country’s heritage.
This encompasses the various ethnic customs and cultures replete with a variety of beliefs, Aaron said.
It would also highlight elements of ethnicity, language, traditional games, arts, musical instruments, customs as well as the diverse traditional cuisines of Malaysians.
Aaron said the two-day “Food Unites” segment allowed the ministry to highlight nasi lemak as its theme, with 11 of the most popular nasi lemak stalls in the Klang Valley taking part in the event.
“Nasi lemak is a beloved staple dish for Malaysians and has become a famous Malaysian food identity among foreign tourists.
“This theme is also symbolic of Malaysians’ togetherness in creating an opportunity to blend the different cultural traditions in the country and foster understanding, tolerance and love among the different communities,” he said.
Aaron said his ministry had in the past implemented language-based programmes, including organising Thai language classes for students in Kelantan schools.
It has also held exhibitions of five ethnic minorities — the Siamese, Baba Nyonya, Chetti, Portuguese and Mahmeri Orang Asli — at shopping malls.
Meanwhile, the “Ini Warisan Kita Siswa Volunteers to Sabah and Sarawak” mission has conducted community service activities there.