KUCHING: Malaysians should practise what they preach in terms of highlighting the importance of the Malay language.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the Malay language was a reflection of Malaysians, and its celebration should not be relegated to just during the language month.

“We should foster a collective awareness for all to embody the national spirit through the national language,” said Abang Johari.

His text of speech was read by Welfare, Community Well-Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah during the launch of the National Language Decade Movement at the Institute of Language and Literature (DBP) building here yesterday.

Fatimah (second right) receives the oath scroll from Mohd Danial Mohd Donny as Abdul Wahab (right) and Norizan look on. Photo: Ramidi Subari

“It should be an ongoing effort as instilling pride in the national language is not seasonal. We cannot deny the role that the national language plays in terms of developing a courteous and first-class citizen.”

Abang Johari cautioned that the Malay language would be extinct if not used continuously.

“Fostering the use of the language should be addressed in the programme as strict implementation and enforcement is crucial in line with Malay being the official language of the nation.”

He highlighted the role of DBP in ensuring the language was adopted and accepted by all walks of life.

“This is by implementing three key policies which are the national education policy, national cultural policy and the broadcasting policy.

“Regardless, in the future, there are two things to attend to, which are reaffirming the national language policy and solving the implementation issue of the national language policy,” he said. 

The chief minister pointed out that if Malaysia was to be a developed nation, they had to take the use of the Malay language in their stride.

“It should be given an economic and commercial value in line with the nation’s advancement. The national language should be used widely in all fields, be it in the public and private sector,” he explained.

Also present were state DBP director Abdul Wahab Hamzah and Sarawak Deputy Federal Secretary Norizan Jili.