Awg Tengah: Learning English not a threat to Malay language

Awang Tengah (standing fifth right) poses with the top three winners. Also seen here is Hazami (standing fourth right). — Photos by Chimon Upon.

KUCHING: The role of the Malay language is not diminished even though the state government is taking proactive measures to encourage the community to master the English language.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan made this remark when addressing the Sarawak Civil Service ‘Sayembara Dekon’ Chief Minister’s Trophy 2017 finals on Tuesday night, saying the people were also encouraged to learn as many languages as they can.

“Malay is still an official language and I urge all parties to uphold it without casting aside the importance of also knowing English,” he said.

“Mandarin, Japanese, Arabic and so on, knowing many languages will give you an advantage,” he added, stressing knowing these languages is very important, especially for youths, in this digital era and because the state government is adopting digital economy.

“We don’t want our young people to be sidelined because the digital world is dominated by the English language. We want them to be responsible for being able to master the digital world with effective use of English. We want to them to be responsible for translating relevant digital information into Malay when needed.”

Awang Tengah was representing Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at the event.

‘Dekon’ is a combination of declamation (deklamasi) and acting (lakon) in which the script is written as poetry. This is the seventh year it was held.

Three finalists battled it out to win the Chief Minister’s Trophy.

Kumpulan Bayu in a scene from ‘Bangkit’, which won this year’s championship.

Kuching Port Authority’s Kumpulan Bayu won first place with their performance entitled ‘Bangkit’.

They took home the championship trophy and cash prize of RM2,000.

Meanwhile, ‘Di Balik Awan’ by Kumpulan Puspa Kencana from Miri District Education Office was in second place, taking home cash prize of RM1,800.

In third place was Osman Zaini from SK Rajau Ensika, Simunjan with his piece ‘Saudara, Mereka’, winning RM1,500 cash.

All winners also received certificates and books published by DBP.

Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) Sarawak director Dr Hazami Jahari, representing DBP director general Datuk Abdul Adzis Abas, was present.

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