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Malay should be ASEAN’s lingua franca, says M’sian minister

SERDANG (Selangor) — A Malaysian minister called today (Nov 3) for ASEAN to use Malay as the language of communication although the multi-ethnic region’s official language is English.

Malay, Indian and Chinese students at a school in Malaysia. Reuters file photo

Malay, Indian and Chinese students at a school in Malaysia. Reuters file photo

SERDANG (Selangor) — A Malaysian minister called today (Nov 3) for ASEAN to use Malay as the language of communication although the multi-ethnic region’s official language is English.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak said there are over 400 million people in ASEAN who can speak Malay, noting that there are about 300 million people in Malaysia and Indonesia alone whose first language is Malay.

“Malaysia should take this opportunity to promote Malay as one of the main characteristics of the ASEAN community,” Mr Salleh Said said in a speech at a seminar on the Malay language at Universiti Putra Malaysia here, noting that Malaysia is currently ASEAN chair.

He added that to form a community, ASEAN should use a homogenous language.

“We need to show that the Malay language is a relevant and dynamic language that can act as the ASEAN language.

At the same time, the Malay language corpus needs to be built up by taking into account the Malay language used in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, south Thailand and south Philippines,” the UMNO minister added. THE MALAY MAIL ONLINE

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