Sunday, June 13

‘National language struggling to find its place’

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KUCHING: With the widespread usage of the English language, the national language is struggling to find its place amongst citizens.

Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) Malaysia board of management member Datu Adi Badiozaman Tuah, who said this, added that English is used globally and that international trade and the setting up of international companies and foreign investments had strengthened the language’s hold in Malaysia.

This in turn stunted the development and usage of Bahasa Malaysia in high economic value sectors, he noted.

“This directly influenced Malaysians with negative perceptions towards the national language, that it has lower economic value in the global market, and low ability as an education medium,” he said at DBP’s monthly assembly and launching of the bookshop here yesterday.

To make matters worse, Bahasa Malaysia is sidelined in events or official correspondence, and several policies and political views were not in tandem with the National Language Policy.

DBP faced an economic-political environment that is not Bahasa Malaysia-friendly. The current social-cultural environment was challenging and complex, and DBP had to address these strategically to strengthen the language in the state, he said.

Among the steps to be taken to mitigate this was to expand the usage of Bahasa Malaysia amongst civil workers and youths, develop and promote writers who can produce high quality works, produce quality works that showcase the rich cultural, historical and intellectual strength of Sarawak, strategic effort to enrich the national language with local dialects and to promote the language internationally, he added.

The newly launched bookshop will start operating in February and opening hours are on Mondays to Fridays and on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 9am to 5pm.

Also present was DBP Sarawak branch director Dr Hazami Jahari.