BREAKING NEWS! . . . Malay word in Malaysia comes from language, there’s no Malay race . . .

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Lawyers Google translate English submissions into atrocious Bahasa . . .

Bahasa translation is marked ‘original’ for court, English original is marked ‘translation’!

https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2022/04/787377/be-proud-speak-write-and-read-malay

This is politics. It has nothing to do with language.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2022/04/07/does-asean-need-a-second-language

In Malaya, non-Malay lawyers in particular allegedly Google translate submissions in English into Bahasa Malaysia. The Bahasa Malaysia version is marked “Original” and is neither corrected by the lawyers nor even read. The English original is marked “Translation”.

Obviously, the court cannot look at the Bahasa Malaysia submission because the Google language is atrocious.

It looks at the submission in English.

This is a hypocritical situation created by rotten politics.

Unknown to lawyers, E-filing has introduced a new dimension in court. Titles in the system are only in Bahasa. The AI in e-filing will accept only Bahasa titles. If the content is in English, the AI being “stupid” won’t know as long as the title is in Bahasa. The AI will not reject e-filing under Bahasa title and carrying content in the English language.

In one case, an Applicant acting Acting in Person wanted to e-file a Discovery Application. The court clerk couldn’t e-file the Application because the title was in English. The Bahasa title, Aplikasi Penemuan, wasn’t in the system. Finally, the Applicant filed it under Affidavit — the Bahasa word being the same as in English –although the content wasn’t under that category.

English is the language of the court in the Borneo Territories i.e. Sabah and Sarawak.

The media should seek clarification on the court’s bahasa policy, for want of a better term, in Malaya. Instead, it behaves like the proverbial ostrich with its head buried in the sand and/or the three monkeys.

Opinion isn’t law. Only the court can declare law.

Under Article 152 of the Federal Constitution, Bahasa Melayu — Johor Rhio Lingga version as spoken — is the Bahasa Kebangsaan (national language) in Malaysia.

As the current debate between Indonesia and Malaysia on bahasa shows, Bahasa Melayu (20K words according to DBP), Bahasa Malaysia (40K words according to Kamus Dewan) and Bahasa Indonesia (more words than Bahasa Malaysia) are not one and the same.

Bahasa Melayu, not originated by a race, is the basis of both Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia.

Bahasa Melayu comes from a Cambodian dialect. Superimposed on this were words from Tamil, Sanskrit and Pali. Buddhist scriptures are in Pali, a Sanskrit dialect. Sanskrit is used in Hindu temples.

Bahasa Melayu became the lingua franca of the Archipelago — Malay Archipelago — during Hindu and Buddhist times. The original script was Indian.

Both Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia have words from other local languages and dialects and English. In addition, Bahasa Indonesia has Dutch words.

The local languages and dialects in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia are not completely the same.

In the Philippines, Tagalog is the basis of Filipino. Superimposed on this are words from other local languages and dialects, Spanish and English.

Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines can come together and create a new language for the Archipelago by merging Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Indonesia and Filipino.

Call it Bahasa Melayu Baru after the Malay Archipelago.

The terms Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Indonesia and Filipino should be dropped.

Court . . .

If court filing should be in Bahasa Kebangsaan, I would like to point out that Bahasa Malaysia has since replaced Bahasa Melayu in official use, in schools and the media.

Bahasa Malaysia is not the Bahasa Kebangsaan. Also, Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia cannot be passed off as Bahasa Melayu.

The High Court can declare, with reference to the Federal Court, on a point of law on this matter.

Valid version . . .

On a separate but related issue, we know from history, that the 1st language of the Federal Constitution is English which has more than a million words, a billion if extended words are included. The Bahasa version which followed much later was mere translation.

I believe, to the best of my knowledge, that the translation isn’t the valid version in law.

The High Court can declare, with reference to the Federal Court, on a point of law on this matter.

I hope that in the interest of justice, not only being done but being seen done, the honourable court would not degenerate into politics on the Bahasa issue.

Malaysia . . .

The word Malay in Malaysia comes from the Malay language, not any Malay race. There’s no Malay race in the world.

The Definition of Malay in Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution is about a form of identity, not race.

There’s case law on this from the High Court of Malaya.

Read . . . Petmal Oil (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd v. Che Mariah Mohd Tahir (Trading As Delta Mec Enterprise) [1994] 3 CLJ 638

Malay reservation land — tanah Melayu — is gov’t reserve land, untitled, created by gazette on Orang Asli land i.e. Native Customary Rights (NCR) land. They can be degazetted and returned to the Orang Asli or used for public purposes.

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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