Monday February 18, 2013
Johari: Strengthen Bahasa Melayu and promote it to the world
KUCHING: A flourishing Asean as a new global economic frontier also opens up opportunity for Malaysia to promote its national language to the world.
Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said there should be a vision to make Bahasa Melayu a lingua franca especially among neighbouring countries that had Malay communities.
“Bahasa Melayu can be a lingua franca if we promote it well and strengthen it. Our neighbours Brunei, Indonesia and also in certain parts of the Philippines speak Bahasa Melayu. What differs is the dialect.
“If we can come together and share our knowledge about the language, we will be able to make it a lingua franca and later promote it to the world,” he said when launching a number of contests held by the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka in conjunction with its Malam Lestari Bahasa here on Saturday night.
Recalling his experience while travelling to Cape Town in South Africa, Johari said he met with Malays who, despite living in South Africa all their lives, were able to communicate in Bahasa Melayu.
He said the families kept the tradition of communicating among themselves in their mother tongue.
As such, he said, he saw no reason why others who were now living away from home, could not preserve their national language by speaking it even if they were in a foreign land.
Even more so, he said, in these days of the Internet where one could easily access sites in Bahasa Melayu.
Johari said he also found that performing arts were among the most effective ways of promoting Bahasa Melayu.
“I notice that till today, P. Ramlee films never lose their appeal among the people regardless of race. You have the Chinese, Indians, Ibans and others who continue to enjoy his films.
“Though P. Ramlee films are all in Bahasa Melayu, those who don’t really speak the language, somehow understand them,” he said.
“This is why I personally feel that the film industry is one way of promoting our national language.”
As such, he plans to take advantage of the first-ever Asean International Film Festival and Awards 2013 (Aiffa) here next month.
The three-day festival — from March 28 to March 30 — will feature over 60 films from the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore and Malaysia at the Sarawak Cultural Village here.
Johari later gave away certificates of appreciation to those who had helped Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka to promote Bahasa Melayu as a language of knowledge.
He also launched the various contests — Sayembara Dekon, Sayembara Monodrama, Peraduan Menulis Semula Cerita Rakyat, Peraduan Penulisan Kreatif 2013 (Cerpen), Anugerah Citra Majalah Sekolah and Anugerah Buletin Jabatan.