PUTRAJAYA: Extensive use of social media has “polluted” the Malay language and this is worrying, says Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Prime Minister said that the widespread use of SMS, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms has caused people to ignore the beauty of language and matters like spelling and grammar.
“Language is an important and sensitive issue. The Government will continue to defend the Malay language as the main language of this country.
“While we allow English and other languages to be taught, the Government will not move from its stand for the Malay language to be the official medium in education,” he said when launching the finals of the International Malay language oratory competition Friday night.
Najib said that to increase the public’s knowledge of the Malay civilisation and the language, the Government had asked the Higher Education Ministry and Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka to collaborate with foreign learning institutions, adding that several malay studies chairs have also been set up in universities abroad.
The oratory competition is also an effort to further promote the language to the international community, he said, pointing out that the language is now one of the top 10 languages of the world.
With 300 million people speaking the language, Bahasa Melayu is the fifth most spoken language in the world, he said.
The Prime Minister said efforts to “internationalise” the Malay language required a concerted effort by those who speak the language, adding that in today’s borderless world, opportunities were in abundance to promote the language.
“Let us use the opportunity that is made available to us via cyberspace to introduce Bahasa Melayu to the world. Look at how successful South Korea is in exporting not only its language but also its culture and arts as well as the people’s way of life through their films and dramas.
“In fact, if we are creative and innovative, we can actually be as successful in getting people to appreciate our language and culture. Let us put on our thinking caps and find a way to get the world to be excited about us,” he said.
Tanzanian Abdallah Hassan Gharib, a student at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, emerged as champion in the international student in Malaysia category while the Malay World category was won by Muhammad Haziq Jamaluddin of UiTM.Japanese Hatsune Yanai emerged tops in the international section.