He said that in facing globalisation, it was important to have a rational attitude and consideration in harnessing the logical benefits instead of blindly rejecting globalisation.
“It must be remembered that language is the soul of the nation. Mastering foreign languages does not necessarily erode an individual’s identity and intellect but will strengthen his identity and love for his nation and language.
“In the context of Malaysia, mastering foreign languages should not be seen as negating the importance of the Malay language itself,” he said in his speech at the International Malay Language Debate Final for the Deputy Prime Minister’s Trophy at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre, here.
Najib’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, and Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin were also present at the event.
Najib said that in the ICT era, the Malay language should take advantage of the development of the K-economy to make available sufficient avenues of knowledge for the people.
He said the Malay language should be resilient and resolute enough to steer users of the language along the development of the K-economy in a world which was getting ever more complex.
“At this juncture, it should be acknowledged that the Malay language is still regarded as young in terms of science and technology terminology compared to the English language which is now accepted by the world as the language of ICT,” he said.
However, this did not mean that the Malay language would be sidelined, he said and stressed that the government was committed to continuing with the growth of the Malay language in terms of importance and command and would continue to safeguard the Malay language as the premier language of the land.
“Although we give room for the English language in the education system, the government will not back down from its position of ensuring that the Malay language continues to be the official medium of instruction in education in the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Najib proposed that the Higher Education Ministry, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and publishing companies in the country work together to provide an unending supply of reading and reference material on the various aspects of the Malay, Malaysian and Asean civilisations to selected institutions abroad.
This was to ensure that information on these civilisations and the country reached the international community, he said.
Najib also said that he wanted private institutions of higher learning in the country to be serious in introducing courses on the Malay language and Malay and Malaysian civilisations in their curriculum.
“It has been emphasised in the Education Act 1996 that the three compulsory courses at the private institutions of higher learning, especially for foreign students, are Malay language, Malaysian Studies and religious or moral studies.
“This is because in our effort to become the regional and international centres of excellence in education, we want the basic elements of our civilisation, particularly the Malay language, to be introduced to the international students,” he said.
Source : Bernama