PETALING JAYA: The use of the Malay language should not only be made compulsory for correspondence with government departments and agencies, but also apply to official events and programmes, says an academic.
Teo Kok Seong, a fellow with the National Council of Professors, noted that some official government programmes still use English.
“For example, ‘flag-off’ events should be called ‘acara pelepasan angkat bendera’ or ‘majlis permulaan’. Why call them ‘majlis flag-off’?” he questioned.
“It was also the same during the recent National Sports Day. There was a programme called ‘Fit Malaysia’. English should not have been used.
“It should have been named ‘Malaysia Cergas’ or ‘Malaysia Sihat’,” Teo told FMT.
He was commenting on Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s directive for all correspondence with government bodies to be in Malay.
Anwar said that letters written in any language other than Malay would be returned.
Agreeing with Anwar, Teo said that the government must ensure all parties adhere to Article 152 of the Federal Constitution, which says that the function and role of Malay as the national language cannot be disputed.
Meanwhile, constitutional expert Wan Ahmad Fauzi Wan Husain said Malay should also be used as the medium of instruction in public and private universities.
“These days, university lectures are given in English, and questions have to be answered in English.
“By right, both Bahasa Malaysia and English should be used in the learning process, and students should not be stopped from answering in Bahasa Malaysia, which is the national language,” he said.
Wan Ahmad said teaching in Malay is important because it fosters national identity and love for one’s nation.