BANGKOK, Feb 26 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Malaysia will use Bahasa Melayu at every official function it is involved in, including at international meetings, as part of efforts to strengthen the national language.
Ismail Sabri said he used Bahasa Melayu when holding bilateral meetings and joint press conferences during his official visits to Brunei and Cambodia earlier, and now Thailand.
“Earlier I said that we need to use Bahasa Melayu for all official government transactions. My discussions overseas are also official government dealings. That is why I use Bahasa Melayu.
“It is time for us to be proud of Bahasa Melayu, which is our national language… we are responsible for strengthening Bahasa Melayu.
“So, there is no reason for us to feel awkward and embarrassed to speak Bahasa Melayu overseas as other people are proud of using their own languages,” he told Malaysian journalists here at the end of his three-day official visit to Thailand today.
Ismail Sabri had used Bahasa Melayu when holding talks, restricted meetings and joint press conferences with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha yesterday.
According to Ismail Sabri, ASEAN has the most number of people using Bahasa Melayu and he did not rule out the possibility that it could one day become an ASEAN language.
“This matter may be discussed with ASEAN leaders in the future,” he said.
Ismail Sabri said in ASEAN, six countries use their own languages in official events they participate in and thus need to be interpreted, while four other countries use English.
“If a country uses its (own) language, we use Bahasa Melayu. If the country uses English (as official language), we use either English or our own language (Bahasa Melayu),” he added.