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Indonesian minister rejects Malaysian PM’s proposal for Malay to be second official language for Asean

KUALA LUMPUR — Indonesia’s minister of education, culture, research and technology Nadiem Makarim has rejected Malaysian prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s proposal that the Malay language be used as the intermediary language between the two countries as well as the official language of Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean).

Indonesian minister rejects Malaysian PM’s proposal for Malay to be second official language for Asean

This handout photo taken and released by the Presidential Palace on April 1, 2022 shows Indonesian president Joko Widodo shaking hands with Malaysian prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob during their meeting at the presidential palace in Jakarta.

KUALA LUMPUR — Indonesia’s minister of education, culture, research and technology Nadiem Makarim has rejected Malaysian prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s proposal that the Malay language be used as the intermediary language between the two countries as well as the official language of Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean).

Mr Nadiem said he had made his sentiments known during Mr Ismail Sabri’s visit to Indonesia.

“I, as minister of education and culture, research and technology, of course, rejected the proposal.

“However, due to the desire of our friendly countries to propose Bahasa Melayu as the official language of Asean, naturally, this desire needs to be studied and discussed further at the regional level,” said Mr Nadiem in a statement on Monday (April 4).

“I urge the entire community to work hand-in-hand with the government to continue to empower and defend the Indonesian language,” he added.

Mr Nadiem was also of the view that the Indonesian language is the more appropriate choice as the official language of Asean considering its historical, legal and linguistic advantages.

Mr Nadiem, the former chief executive officer of Go-Jek, explained that Bahasa Indonesia has become the most widely-spoken language in Southeast Asia. 

In fact, through his assessment, he said the reach of the Indonesian language extends to 47 countries around the world.

Furthermore, he said, the Bahasa Indonesia for Foreign Speakers, or Bahasa Indonesia Untuk Penutur Asing (BIPA), had also been offered by 428 institutions, both facilitated by the Language Development and Development Agency of the Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture, Research and Technology, as well as those conducted independently by BIPA activists, governments and institutions around the world.

It was reported that Malaysia wants to have Bahasa Melayu or Malay recognised as a “second language” by the Asean.

Mr Ismail Sabri had said the aim was to raise the profile of the national language on the international stage.

Asean is a regional grouping that promotes economic, political, security and socio-cultural cooperation among its 10 members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. MALAY MAIL

Related topics

ASEAN Malaysia Indonesia Malay language

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