Asia

Let's make Bahasa Melayu the main language of Asean: Najib

Let's make Bahasa Melayu the main language of Asean: Najib
PM Najib Razak thinks that Bahasa Melayu should be the standard language across the Asean nations. Photo: New Straits Times
Published: 11:57 PM, July 26, 2017
Updated: 12:06 AM, July 27, 2017

PUTRAJAYA — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak wishes to see Bahasa Melayu become the main language of Asean and one of the world's major mediums.

Mr Najib said the government is committed towards empowering and globalising the national language.

"We will continue to uphold Bahasa Melayu and promote the national language at international level. "As the country strives to become among the top 20 nations by 2050, I would like to see Bahasa Melayu as the main language in Asean. I also hope Bahasa Melayu will continue to symbolise the national identity.

"In the daily context, everyone should converse and use Bahasa Melayu correctly especially in terms of its grammar," he said at the 11th Malay Language Public Speaking (PABM) 2017 competition final at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) on Wednesday (July 26).

Also present were the prime minister's wife, Rosmah Mansor, and Higher Education Minister Idris Jusoh.

Mr Najib also expressed his concern over how social media networks are slowly deteriorating the standard of Bahasa Melayu.

He said the use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and short messaging service (SMS) had jeopardised the usage of the language.

"I urge everyone to avoid using words in social media that can mar the beauty of Bahasa Melayu. Don't follow the trend in social media as this can tarnish the language, especially its grammar," he said.

Mr Najib also hoped that PABM's international contestants will continue to learn Bahasa Melayu as they are the 'small ambassadors' in empowering the language.

At the event, nine finalists from an initial pool of 52 contestants competed in the Malay World, Foreign Students Studying in Malaysia and International categories.

Winners will walk away with a RM20,000 cash prize, a trophy and a certificate.