GEORGE TOWN — The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) has taken steps to underscore the Malay language’s role within Malaysia’s higher education sector, envisioning it as a driver for societal improvement.
According to BARNAMA News Agency, a significant move in this direction is the introduction of the Action Plan for the Empowerment of Bahasa Melayu as the Language of Knowledge at higher learning institutions. This plan includes replacing compulsory general university subjects for international students with a Malay Communication Course tailored to the study programs at universities.
Efforts by MOHE also extend to acknowledging language figures, establishing Bahasa Melayu chairs, and fostering partnerships with institutions globally that provide studies related to the Malay language.
The minister elaborated on these initiatives while inaugurating the 15th International Malay Language Final Speech Competition (PABM) 2023 at Dewan Tuanku Syed Putra, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). He highlighted the ministry’s aspiration to enhance the stature of the Malay language and its related field of study, positioning it as central to the country’s knowledge diplomacy.
Mohamed Khaled remarked on the significance of the Malay language in cultivating international relations through knowledge and science, aiming to transform it into a universally recognized medium that conveys the nation’s valued principles, transcending racial and national boundaries.
Emphasizing the language’s intrinsic role, the minister pointed out the national ethos of MADANI Malaysia, which is underpinned by a robust value system, representing the culture and dignity of the nation. He also reiterated the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s directive for official government correspondence to be conducted in Bahasa Melayu.
MOHE’s approach underscores the belief that language is the essence of national identity, warranting its active implementation across all domains and disciplines.
The PABM, established in 2007, comprises three categories and includes participants from Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, and other nations. This year’s competition saw participants from seven countries, including Malaysia, Brunei, Uzbekistan, China, Bangladesh, Sudan, and Timor Leste, compete in a virtual preliminary round before advancing to the in-person finals at USM.
The winners of the competition were awarded RM10,000 in cash, a challenge trophy, and a trophy. Runners-up and third-place finishers received RM8,000 and RM5,000 respectively.