Move to amend Act to prevent misuse of Malay language

In the spotlight: Ismail Sabri Yaakob reading a poetry entitled ‘Bahasa Akal dan Budi’ during the Malam Gema Puisi 2023 which was part of SAABM 2023 at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Efforts are being made to amend the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Act 1959 to prevent any misuse of the Malay language, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The former prime minister said a final draft of the amendment has been sent to the Attorney General’s Chambers for a review before it is tabled in Parliament.

“Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) plays a key role in improving and enhancing the Malay language in line with contemporary developments.

“However, DBP has limited power to take action against any misuse of the language,” he said during the International Symposium on the Malay Language (SAABM 2023) yesterday.

Ismail Sabri added that DBP should have power to take action against property developers who give foreign names to its properties.

“Many residential properties have French, Spanish and Italian names instead of local names.

“However, we can’t do anything about it because the town council gives approval to these names and DBP doesn’t have any jurisdiction on this,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said amendment of the Act will give more power to DBP to protect the special status of the Malay language in the country.

Separately, Ismail Sabri said the Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob Chair, which was recently opened at the Thai Global Business Administration Technological College (TGBC), was aimed at promoting and empowering the Malay language in South-East Asia and abroad.

The research chair is also the first in Thailand which conducts studies on the Malay civilisation and language, he added.

“TGBC and the Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi (RMUTT) will be an educational hub to expand research on Malay civilisation in Thailand.

“It is a big move to raise the status of the Malay language in South-East Asia and the world,” added Ismail Sabri.

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