You May Soon Be Fined Up To RM50,000 Or Jailed For Disrespecting Bahasa Melayu

Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka board chairman Prof Datuk Seri Dr Awang Sariyan said that "the proposed fine is not to punish but to evoke love and patriotism to the country".

Cover image via Bernama & New Straits Times

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Individuals may soon be liable to a RM50,000 fine or sentenced to imprisonment if they are found disrespecting the national language, Bahasa Melayu

According to Bernama, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) board of governors chairman Prof Datuk Seri Awang Sariyan said these two punishments are currently being proposed as amendments to the DBP Act 1959.

He said the amendments are in their final stage of discussion before they are presented to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob next month.

"This is not about grammar or spelling errors, but disrespect for the national language. The proposed fine is not to punish but to evoke love and patriotism to the country," he told reporters after DBP's 66th Anniversary celebration in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 22 June.

Awang said the DBP has also proposed for the National Language Act to be amended in line with the DBP Act so that it can carry out its duties as a language enforcer more effectively

Prior to this, the government said it would amend the DBP Act to allow the national language reference body to take legal action against people found violating the usage of Bahasa Melayu.

"The National Language Act is the parent act to the DBP Act. If it is expanded, the government can ask DBP to implement the language policy more effectively," he said.

On the amendments, Awang said it should be implemented holistically, not only in terms of enforcement but also in the aspect of internationalisation, accreditation, and licencing of literary languages.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via New Straits Times

Last year, Malaysians were left conflicted after DBP standardised the spelling of 'kuetiau' in Bahasa Melayu:

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