Home TA Online Amid global crises, Malaysia chooses to market its national language instead

Amid global crises, Malaysia chooses to market its national language instead

Wouldn’t strengthening trade, food security, and socio-political and economic ties be a greater priority?

Ismail Sabri Yaakob - WIKIPEDIA

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The prime minister is busy promoting his idea of making the Malay language as a widely used medium of communication not only within Malaysia but also in Asean and beyond.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s missionary-like zeal would have fired up a deep sense of pride among some Malaysians under normal circumstances.

But given the global and national backdrop, this promotion seems like a sorely misplaced priority.

The world is emerging from Covid and grappling with the crisis in Ukraine and the unprecedented sanctions on Russia. The global economy looks fragile; environmental concerns are looming in the polar regions; and climate change is wreaking havoc.

With so many challenges and uncertainties, wouldn’t strengthening trade, food security, and socio-political and economic ties be a greater priority than marketing the nation’s national language in the region and globally?As it is, Malaysia is struggling with the damage to its reputation arising from the 1MDB scandal as more revelations surface in courtrooms here and abroad.

Fuel prices are rocketing and the nation is faced with a multibillion-ringgit debts involving a major Malaysian oil and gas company.

Food prices are spiralling as inflation soars across the country, hurting wage earners, small and medium businesses, and the lower-income group.

And despite the highest Covid vaccination rates in the region, people here still worry about the high infection and hospitalisation rates, including deaths.

The political situation in the country is far from stable as the stakes rise with a general election looming.

Against this grim background, it is puzzling why the Malaysian government seems so gung-ho about promoting the use of the national language outside its shores, especially within the Asean region.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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Paul Lim
Paul Lim
11 Apr 2022 4.32am

What a distraction is on more important issues at hand. Does it want to challenge Indonesia on Bahasa which itself does not push its Bahasa internationally. In the Academic world for the spécialiste of the Malay world, they study more Indonesian Bahasa than the Malaysian/Malay one. Bahasa will never be a Language of international trade and commerce. There is much more interest in Mandarin and Japanese for example in Europe than any other Asian language.

9 Apr 2022 11.11am

Promoting the Malay language internationally is a sound idea in terms of global security. Malaysia sits on an important international trade route, so if anything really bad happens here, it’ll severely disrupt global trade. Not all Malaysians speak English, which makes Malay a crucial language for intelligence gathering. What’s spoken in Malay now may involve countless lives around the world.

Pertaining to the Ukraine war, one scary thing is that I find that Malay comments on social media skew towards the Russian side. I believe this is due to insufficient efforts by Western powers to communicate their cause in the language their audience understands best (in this region, of course).

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