KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob who used Bahasa Melayu in a press conference with the leaders of Brunei, Cambodia and Thailand recently was considered exemplary in the effort to uphold the national language.
A total of 10 UMNO division heads in a joint statement said leaders should not be ashamed to use the national language in delivering keynote speeches at international events because Article 152 of the Federal Constitution, has provided for the Malay language as the national language.
According to the statement, this will elevate the national language to a wider stage, especially in the ASEAN region.
“We are not backward if we use the national language when on the international stage, much like other countries that always use their mother tongue in programmes involving the outside world.
“Malaysia should play a role in making the Malay language the lingua franca of the ASEAN group which consists of 10 countries namely Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Myanmar and Thailand,” according to the statement, which was also supported by UMNO Supreme Council Member Datuk Dr Fathul Bari Mat Jahya.
According to the statement, based on the actions exemplified by the Prime Minister, the international stage is the best platform to showcase the language used in the country and it is time for the Malay language to be used on the international stage.
“The history of ‘The Malay Archipelago’ was proven that the Malay language was the spoken language for hundreds of years in the Malay archipelago using the Jawi script in language, culture, religion, education, administration and economic activities,” the statement said.
In addition, the statement also encouraged all levels in the country, whether government or private to use the national language in official affairs in the country.
The statement was issued jointly by Bandar Tun Razak Umno Division Head Datuk Rizalman Mokhtar, Datuk Mohd Yusof Ismail (Alor Setar), Datuk Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said (Permatang Pauh) Datuk Azhar Ahmad (Beruas); Datuk Mohd Ridhwan Mohd Ali (Bukit Katil), Datuk Zaluzi Sulaiman (Pengkalan Chepa), Datuk Ismail Lassim (Kuala Pilah), Datuk Zurihan Yusop (Kuala Langat), Datuk Zakaria Dullah (Simpang Renggam) and Jeffery Nor Mohamed (Putatan),and Fathul Bari.