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Nadzri Zailani
Tuesday, Nov 4, 2014

Asia

'Malay language could face extinction'

The Brunei Times/ANN | Nadzri Zailani | Tuesday, Nov 4, 2014

The Malay language could be heading towards extinction due to globalisation, warned the acting director of Language and Literature Bureau yesterday.

During the seventh Brunei Darussalam - Indonesia - Malaysia Language Council (MABBIM) Lecture, Hjh Nortijah Hj Mohd Hassan (1st photo) said the Malay language is being marginalised and overshadowed by other world languages.

"It is not impossible that the Malay language will reach the brink of extinction if we do not make serious efforts to protect it," she said.

In the pursuit of learning other languages, the acting director said Malays have started to forget they need to uphold the Malay language.

Some individuals think that the language is one-dimensional, that it only aims to be spoken and not support the development of Malay as the official language, she added.

"The Malay language must be accompanied with a sense of spirituality and purity of the soul towards accepting the language so that it is able to shape the personality, character and intellect of an individual.

"It also depends on how we, the speakers, respond and act towards the native language...," Hjh Nortijah added.

She went on to say that strategic plans and sustainable support from all parties need to be created to develop intensive efforts to realise the empowerment of the Malay language.

In his lecture, Director of Continuing Education at Universiti Brunei Darussalam Dr Yabit Alas said one of the main challenges of the Malay language in the globalisation and technological era is pressure from the English language.

"Even though I mentioned that the Malay/ Indonesian language had its glory days, however due to various political and cultural developments such as colonialism, the development of the Malay/Indonesian language had slowed down," he said.

He added that other languages such as English had expanded and evolved, but the Malay language's expansion process was halted for around 600 years during the British rule of Malaysia and Brunei, while Indonesia was under the Dutch.

To enhance the role of the Malay language, Dr Yabit suggested increasing the publication of scientific books, which is what gets universities ranked.

He also recommended the introduction of rules where publishers are required to have at least 50 per cent of what they publish a year in Malay, adding that Indonesia practises such rules.

"The correct and proper use of a language actually mirrors how civilised the country is," he added.

About 300 government officers and students attended the lecture. MABBIM was established in 1972 to empower the use of Malay language.

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