Brunei Culture Minister: Shift in Attitudes Paramount to Preserving Malay Language

Datin Paduka Dr Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Jalil, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, as the personal representative of Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, reading the minister’s speech at the launching of the Language Month yesterday. – BAHYIAH BAKIR

Shift in attitudes paramount to preserving the Malay Language, says minister
August 25, 2017

| James Kon |

PRESERVING the Malay Language in the 21st Century is a particularly daunting task, given the diminishing use of fluent Malay among native speakers, as well as in government and non-government departments, educational institutions, commercial areas, radio stations and national television.

Could it be possible to revive Malay as part of our country’s identity and culture?
This question was raised by Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, in a speech that was read out by Datin Paduka Dr Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Jalil, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, at the launching of Language Month yesterday, organised by the Language and Literature Bureau (DBP).

Held at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Datin Paduka Dr Hajah Norlila was the minister’s personal representative at the launching ceremony.

Acknowledging the great responsibility to ensure a breath of freshness in the Malay Language, she said, quoting the minister, “Various efforts have already been, or are currently being undertaken, while many are still in the planning stage.”

The Language Month is celebrated annually in July as one of the efforts to strengthen the Malay Language among all levels of the local community.

Datin Paduka Dr Hajah Norlila quoted the minister, “The Language Month came about from the aspirations of a wise ruler who wanted the prestige of the Malay Language to be further refined, strengthened and enhanced in use by every one of the country’s citizens and residents. His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam understands how valuable this is for a civilised country, as a priceless heritage that must be nurtured and preserved to be passed on to future generations.”

The minister’s speech also outlined three important factors to the core essence of Language Month, namely mobility, motivation and mentality.

Language mobility, according to the minister, “lifts the Malay Language’s function through various means and actions, such as developing and enriching language; building and developing language and literacy skills; drafting terms; spelling and pronunciation; and in printing and publishing, as well as other forms of writing. All steps and efforts should be directed towards expanding and enhancing the use of the Malay Language in the country.”

The motivation factor, the minister explained, “calls on all the people in this country to play a role in upholding the mother tongue through any activity to boost the Malay Language. Government and non-government agencies can serve as an important catalyst in encouraging a friendly environment that is conducive to the Malay Language.

“Give priority to the Malay Language in terms of the economy and social aspects. Make use of the Malay Language in advertising, local films, business signage and others, to encourage the growth and development of Malay within and outside the country.”

The mentality factor, the minister pointed out, “is an effort to be more proactive and proud in the use of the national language. No matter how good any scheme can be, we will eventually revert to our own attitudes or mentality, whether to use the Malay Language or to put it aside in our lives.

“Under this year’s theme ‘Malay Language, Our Language’, let us come together to boost on the awareness of the identity of the Brunei people. Strengthen our language. Make proper use of the Malay Language, to educate our children, friends, youths and our future generation.”

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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