Bahasa Malaysia, and Bahasa Melayu, will never be able to unite the people in Malaya as long as . . .


Bahasa Malaysia, and Bahasa Melayu, will never be able to unite the people in Malaya as long as they are linked with the so-called Malays, khatt, Jawi, Islam, Article 152, Article 153 and the NEP.

The Definition of Malay in Article 160 shows that it’s an artificial construct, an aberration in law, in short bad law. The so-called Malays in the Definition do not exist as a race, among others. Read the Definition.

Along with the Definition, Article 152, Article 153 and NEP have degenerated, through deviations and distortions, into an evil caste system plaguing the country, indeed a curse which sees no signs of being lifted or ended.

Education in Malaysia has been highly politicised, for vote gathering reasons, given the existence of the Ministry of Education in Putrajaya. Education Ministers are seen as political clowns who keep putting their foot in the mouth when not shooting it.

There’s a dire need for a change in approach on education.

For starters, while its commendable that education has been democratised and liberalised, there’s too much of a good thing. In catering to the lowest common denominator, the gov’t should not push every Tom, Dick and Harry in the kampungs to enter university. The quota system should comply with the reasonable proportion in Article 153.

The critical disciplines should not be subject to the quota system.

Those who fail to enter university should be encouraged to enter training institutes. These focus on skills for the workplace.

The Education Ministry should be abolished and replaced by an Education Commission reporting to Parliament, appointed by the Agong, and represented in the states by Education Bureaus.

Parliament should recommend the members of the Education Commission, not the Prime Minister.

The emphasis in education should be on providing choices. Having said that, Islamic education should be abolished, on national security grounds.

The states should have complete autonomy in education. Sabah and Sarawak are likely to lead the way. Already, these two Borneo territories have demanded that the education portfolio be returned to them.

In Sabah and Sarawak, language does not have the same meaning as Malaya’s racially-charged and tinged explosive mix.

There are no Malays in Sabah. The Sarawak Malays, or Orang Laut, come under Article 161A.

The people in Sabah among others speak Bahasa Sabah, a local version of the Johor-Rhio-Lingga version of Bahasa Kebangsaan, previously the lingua franca in the Archipelago.

Bahasa Sabah, or Sabah Malay, has a non-ethnic image.

Basically, it’s the medium for verbal communication, but not used in school settings.

It’s quite common to see Indians and Chinese, for example, speaking in Bahasa Sabah among themselves.

The Kadazan mostly speak Bahasa Sabah at home. Many of them may have forgotten how to speak Kadazan.

The Dusun and Murut still keep their languages.

In Sarawak, there’s a version of Malay called Sarawak Malay or Bahasa Orang Laut, quite different from Johor-Rhio-Lingga. It’s somewhat like Iban.

Everyone in Sarawak speaks this local Malay but only for communication between the Orang Laut and non-Orang Laut, and among the Orang Laut.

Again, like in Sabah, language in Sarawak does not evoke the same racially-charged and tinged passions as Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Malaysia in Malaya.

In Malaya, Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Malaysia have been saddled with an ethnic image. Non-Malays in Malaya are put off by this and its association with Islam, khatt and Jawi. So, the Tamils and Chinese in particular tend to cling on to their languages, come hell or high water. Sikhs preserve the Punjabi language. Other Indians in Malaya still use their various languages.

English, of course, does not have an ethnic image in Malaysia and is not seen as linked with Christianity.

In Bidayuh and Iban country in Sarawak, away from the coastal stretches, these ethnic languages are used by all locals.

Generally, they use English or Bahasa Malaysia with outsiders.

It’s quite common to see non-Chinese in Sabah and Sarawak attending Chinese schools. This has helped the Orang Asal in particular to venture into many businesses previously done only by Chinese.

There are no Tamil or Punjabi schools in the two Borneo territories.

The Churches have played an important role for centuries in preserving many languages in Malaysia.

Other places of worship are just confined to one language. For example, English is not used by mosques. The Arabic used is not understood by the Muslims who are mostly Malay. Sometimes, Malay is used.

Hindu temples use Sanskrit alongside other Indian languages.

Sikh gurdwaras use Punjabi.

Buddhist pagodas use Pali, a Sanskrit dialect, alongside Sinhalese and Chinese.

Chinese temples use dialects.

FOOTNOTE: Bahasa Melayu, based on a Cambodian dialect, was superimposed with Tamil, Sanskrit and Pali by Hindu and Buddhist traders and missionaries from southeast India.

Bahasa Melayu is the basis of Bahasa Malaysia. Words from other local languages and dialects, and English, have been superimposed on this.

According to Article 152, Bahasa Melayu is the Bahasa Kebangsaan.

The advent of Bahasa Malaysia has killed Bahasa Melayu as the Bahasa Kebangsaan.

Bahasa Melayu, however, continues to be used, just like Bahasa Sabah, Sarawak Malay or Bahasa Orang Laut, and the various local versions of Malay spoken in Kelantan, Terengganu and other places in Malaya.

Read further . . .

Author: fernzthegreat

Joe Fernandez holds a honours degree in management, majoring in economics, and has opted from academia in law to being a jurist. He was trained professionally on the job as a journalist. He's a longtime Borneo watcher, keen on the history and legal aspects of Malaya's presence in Sabah and Sarawak. He teaches the English language privately and has emerged as a subject matter expert in public examination techniques.

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