Do not be “overly obsessed” with protecting Bahasa Melayu that we overlook or reject some aspects of foreign civilisations which are good for Malaysia, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“Foreign elements” which helped to enrich knowledge, enhance technology and even the local culture should not be pushed aside, he said.
“One has to be rational in choosing and determining what is good and beneficial and not reject globalisation and changes outright.
“While language reflects a race, the ability to speak, read and write in other languages must not be seen as an erosion of one’s intelligence and identity.
“In Malaysia, knowing another language does not mean Bahasa Melayu will be weak and meaningless,” he said at the International Malay Oratory Competition Finals 2009 last night.
Najib stressed that despite the language being relatively young in terms of terminology in science and technology compared to English, it did not mean Bahasa Melayu has been set aside.
He gave the assurance that the Government will continue to be committed in enhancing the importance of the Malay language.
“We will continue to uphold Bahasa Melayu as the premier language of this country.
“Even though we allow room for the English language to exist in the country’s education system, Bahasa Melayu will continue to be the official language of this system,” he said.
Noting that information technology has allowed Bahasa Melayu to exist in cyberspace and gave others the opportunity to learn it, Najib said language experts should use the k-economy to gain knowledge.
“Malaysia’s role in the Organisation of Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement must be used to the fullest to introduce Bahasa Melayu to institutions of higher learning of member countries.
“This could be the country’s valuable export as along with the language, comes other knowledge and fields of expertise,” he said.
Malaysians urged not to reject aspects of foreign civlisations blindly
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