PUTRAJAYA, March 12 (Bernama) — The government will always ensure that policies it formulates will support efforts towards the development and empowerment of the Malay Language nationally and internationally, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
“The Malay Language, which has long been the official spoken language and the national language, will continue to be nurtured, streamlined and developed both in the country and abroad,” he said when opening the Malay Language International Oratory Competition for the Prime Minister’s Trophy, here Friday.
Najib said the Malay Language was not without impediments in the form of various challenges and obstacles in this era of globalisation and global development of ICT which had created a world without borders.
He said there were more than 6,000 languages currently in use in the world but only 20 languages had been categorised and accorded the status of official languages.
“In this context, we must feel proud that the Malay Language is one of these 20 languages and occupies the 10th position among the most popularly used languages in the world,” he said.
The government will support the Malaysian National Institute of Translation (ITNM) in enriching Malay Language literature as the means of thinking of Malaysians besides continually internationalising national works through translation to match globally recognised works,” he said.
He said that so far several outstanding works had been translated into the Malay Language, among them Siddharta, A History of Mathemathics, Culture and Imperialism, The End of History and The Last Man, Revival and Reform in Islam and The Great Ideas.
“I am told that Masnawi, the famous work of Jalaludin al-Rumi in Persian, is being translated. A unique thing is that my work entitled ‘Menakhoda Zaman’ (Helming the Times) is being translated into Persian,” he said.
Najib said the government would consider giving a special allocation to ITNM as a motivation for the translation into the Malay Language of major global works.
The prime minister said that taking into consideration the use of the Malay Language in the Malay archipelago would give a figure of about 300 million people.
This would make the Malay Language the fifth largest spoken language while on another aspect it would gain status as the fourth largest in the world in terms of extent of use, he said.
“Nevertheless, the number of speakers of the language cannot be taken as an accurate gauge because there are several other features which have to be met for the Malay Language to remain a global language.
“The influence of a language plays a dominant role in developing a particular race, what more our efforts to empower the Malay Language to the global stage,” he said.
On the competition, Najib said it should not be confined to an oratory contest but should be expanded to encompass various significant programmes which can provide value added for the development and empowerment of the Malay Language.
“This will give a huge and meaningful impact not only to the Malay Language but also definitely to our country,” he said. This fifth edition of the competition sees the participation of 56 countries, up from 23 previously.
Malaysian Amiruddin Abd Rahman emerged champion in the archipelago category while Halil Ibrahim of Turkey took the international category title.
The winners in both categories take home US$5,000, a challenge trophy and certificate, among other prizes.
Source : Bernama