The government will be empowering the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) to allow the DBP to take action against any violations of Bahasa Malaysia usage, including at the district level, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Speaking at the UMNO general assembly 2021, Ismail said under the current DBP Act 1959, the government agency did not have the power to carry out enforcement on language offences.
“The DBP Act will be strengthened by giving DBP enforcement powers. For example, the use of Bahasa Malaysia on signboards, DBP can take action against language abuse,” he said.
Moving forward, he said that all foreign students in the country must now learn the national language. He added that the matter was agreed upon by Higher Education Minister Datuk Noraini Ahmad.
That’s not all about it, the prime minister said that a circular had been issued to agencies, ministries and government-linked companies to use Bahasa Malaysia in each of their programmes.
He said UMNO must uphold the national language, Bahasa Melayu, as stipulated in Article 152 of the federal constitution and Clause 3.5 of the UMNO constitution.
“The time has come for us to be proud of Bahasa Malaysia. Therefore, there is no reason for us to feel awkward when speaking the language even on the international stage because ‘Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa’ (Language is the soul of the nation),” he said.
During his official visits to Cambodia and Thailand last month, Ismail has been using the Bahasa Melayu during a press conference with the leaders of the two countries.
He said that he will do the same during his next visit to Vietnam.
“There is no reason why we cannot use our own mother tongue,” he said.
Ismail also highlighted that the Bahasa Melayu is the second language of Asean and there are more than 300 million people in the region speaking the language. It is also the seventh most spoken language in the world.
Nonetheless, being a Malaysia, it is definitely a must for us to be able to speak and comprehend our national language.
What do you think about this? Share your thoughts!