PUTRAJAYA: The Education Ministry will redouble its effort to uphold Bahasa Melayu as the national language, not just in the country but also regionally and on a global scale.
Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the ministry, via Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP), will launch Dekad Bahasa Kebangsaan (National Language Decade) which will map out a comprehensive plan to make the national language the language of choice in the country.
“Malaysia is ‘too small’ (to do justice to Bahasa Melayu). We will also be promoting and empowering the national language throughout the Asean region.
“Asean is also too small for the national language. That is why we will be taking Bahasa Melayu to the world stage,” he said.
Maszlee was speaking at the ministry’s monthly assembly and Hari Raya Aidilifitri celebration here on Thursday.
He said, over the next five years, the ministry will also work towards placing DBP on par with centres and language institutes of developed nations.
“We will work hard to elevate DPB on the same level as the British Council, Goethe Institute and Nippon Institute.
“It is with this aim in mind that we are embarking on this venture and we aim to make it a reality,” he said.
Maszlee said that at the same time, the ministry is aware that the reading culture among Malaysians have yet to reach a satisfactory level.
“In reality, it is lagging behind compared to other developed nations. The Education Ministry, in cooperation with other ministries and its agencies, will revive the National Reading Campaign, first introduced in the 1990s, which will run for two years,” he said.
The campaign will involve two stages - the first two years will see a more aggressive, radical and unconventional approach to ensure that Malaysians inculcate the reading habit.
“From 2020 to 2030, the period will be declared the National Language Decade. DBP will once again be entrusted with spearheading this initiative and we hope that in 2030, Malaysians will be known around the world as a reading society,” he said.