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11:17am 06/06/2022
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Criticizing BM initiative further divides the nation
By:Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

In this article, I have one simple but highly important message: by criticizing openly the government’s sudden initiative to use Bahasa Malaysia as the official language in international relations, Malaysians will further divide this nation and win Barisan Nasional the next general election.

Firstly, I wish to clarify that even though I am a Malay and speak Bahasa Melayu or Bahasa Malaysia culturally, I am in no way writing this article to support Umno or any ultra Malays using Bahasa Malaysia as a tool to gain political popularity.

For me, if the country suddenly decides to go all English, you would not get any arguments from me. However, until that happens and Bahasa Malaysia is our national language by agreement or by default or by political arm twisting, the die has long been cast.

Malaysians must understand that the decision to suddenly want to market the use of Bahasa Malaysia as the Asean language and the use of official speeches and correspondence as well as policies on international affairs in Bahasa Malaysia is nothing more than an election baiting tool of Umno and the BN.

Malaysians should be matured enough that 2022 is an election year and issues of Melayu and Islam will be topmost over the next few months.

After that will come the threat of Christianity, the threat of the Chinese and the threat of liberals supporting LGBTs will destroy our lifestyle and culture.

This is biasalah in Malaysia!

When an Umno PM uses this ‘memartabatkan Bahasa Malaysia’ he is clearly rallying his own Hidup Melayu mantra and later on wear a kopiah and wave the green Islamic flag for jihad menegak Islam.

This is just a war cry and clearly taunting Malaysians who are still gullible enough to take the bait.

I have read several opinion pieces by Malaysians disagreeing with the Bahasa Malaysia initiative by extolling the great virtues of English.

These articles seem to place Bahasa Malaysia as a ‘small’ or a ‘pariah’ language.

When Malays read these articles, they will immediately and angrily assume what Umno and BN want; that non-Malays have insulted their language and culture and threatened the nation’s Malay heritage and the Sultan.

This BM initiative is just an election bait, so don’t take it seriously. Much of these rabble rousing and shield thumping on language will go away when the election is over!

There you go, a winning formula for Umno and BN.

My advice to Malaysians is firstly understand please that this is just an election baiting method. So, don’t take the bait! Just keep silent and when the election is over, much of these rabble rousing and shield thumping on language will go away or reversed.

And even if the policy is not reversed, so what? What harm can it do the nation?

Yes, we will spend a little bit of money hiring translators and there is some inconvenience in doing business but this is nothing strange in international affairs. Is that not so?

Secondly, what is so wrong for Ismail Sabri to announce the Asean Bahasa Malaysia initiative and the International Affairs BM policy?

Is not Bahasa Malaysia our official language?

Malaysians should not write opinion pieces putting down Bahasa Malaysia as a seventh rate language. This is not about communication. This is about political pride and of course political baiting.

Thirdly, if there are genuine issues that Bahasa Malaysia may cause economic distress or poor relations among foreign governments, please do write and express your opinion in Bahasa Malaysia! Janganlah tulis dalam Bahasa Cina atau Inggeris.

Malaysians must know that the Malays already feel insulted when all private universities conduct their lectures and meetings in mediocre English. There is hardly any place for BM.

Malaysians must understand that the Malays feel that other races have many things to hide when their newspapers print only in their vernacular languages and none of the news appear in Bahasa Malaysia.

So, for the sake of the future of our children, please do not criticize the Bahasa Malaysia initiative openly and harshly. It will all pass after the election.

Let’s not divide the country further by being so arrogant in our superiority of the English language.

There is nothing wrong with Bahasa Malaysia sebagai Bahasa Ilmu, falsafah, sains dan politik. Nothing at all.

We are Malaysians and Bahasa Malaysia is our national language. We should be embarrassed if we speak it poorly and never even improve since our school days.

Most importantly, don’t fall for the election baits by the opportunist politicians bent on creating a war of cultures among us so as to win the votes of one race or a group of races.

The opposition like the DAP should also heed my words unless, of course, they want to earn votes from non-Malays by happily accepting the bait, hook, line and sinker. Then I would say that the DAP is no better than PAS or Umno in this sense.
We Malaysians love our country and must understand how to manage our government and political leadership.

We must never let the political leadership manage us in any issue, or else we will forever be stuck with this kind of government till the days of our great great grandchildren.

Finally, please accord the dignity of our national language for the sake of our future in managing our future government.

(Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor of Architecture at a local university and his writing reflects his own personal opinion entirely.)

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Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
Bahasa Malaysia

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