KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is on the right track to further empowering Bahasa Malaysia among its people without neglecting the principle of strengthening the English language as stipulated in the national policy, said
Federal Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.
The empowerment of Bahasa Malaysia was an ongoing process, and various programmes had been and were being carried out in that direction, he said in the latest post on his blog, http://sskeruak.blogspot.com/.
Salleh said the Sabah Legislative Assembly decided on March 7, 1972, that Bahasa Malaysia must be used orally or in writing in all official business with government ministries, departments, offices and agencies.
On Sept 16, 1973, Bahasa Malaysia was declared the official language of Sabah by the then chief minister, Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun, he said.
Four years later, on Jan 1, 1997, the Sabah branch of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka was established and served as a catalyst for the empowerment of Bahasa Malaysia in Sabah, he said.
Salleh said Bahasa Malaysia was the language of unification of the people of various communities in Sabah and it had been the lingua franca of the multiracial society of the state since independence.
Bahasa Malaysia became the language of communication of the people and its use and role became all the more significant following the end of the British colonial era, he said.
Salleh also traced the history of the use of Bahasa Malaysia in the country. He said that after independence, Malaysia’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-haj introduced the term ‘Bahasa Malaysia’ and its use as the national language. Bahasa Malaysia came to be widely used, he said.
In 1986, the term ‘Bahasa Malaysia’ was replaced with ‘Bahasa Melayu’ in accordance with Article 152 of the Federal Constitition, he said.
On June 4, 2007, the federal cabinet decided to revert to the use of the term ‘Bahasa Malaysia’ and directed its use in all correpondence, notes and documents, he added.
Salleh’s post on his blog comes in the wake of the announced decision by Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem in making English, along with Bahasa Malaysia, as the preferred official language of the state administration. – BERNAMA