Last week, a video showing Chinese vernacular school students singing the national anthem in their mother tongue went viral, leading to an investigation by the Ministry of Education (MOE)
The video, which spans one minute and 23 seconds, shows a classroom of Year Five students of various ethnicities singing 'Negaraku' in Mandarin while standing straight.
According to New Straits Times, the video recorded on 19 September last year was believed to have originated from a school in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan.
The video sparked anger among netizens, with many disagreeing with the national anthem being sung in a language other than Bahasa Malaysia
"What the hell... This is too much," commented a Facebook user.
"Even Singapore doesn't dare to change their national anthem to Chinese," said another netizen.
Some netizens noted that it is not the first time 'Negaraku' has been sung in other languages, citing examples that it was also sung in Arabic.
"It was common to hear the national anthem sung in Arabic in the past," added a netizen.
After investigations, the Ministry of Education revealed that the incident was part of a lesson to teach students about the meaning behind the national anthem
Education director-general Amin Senin said the video was captured during a lesson in a confined classroom, reported Malaysiakini.
"Our investigations found that the conduct only took place during classroom lessons that were meant to improve the understanding towards the meaning, purpose, and conventions when singing the national anthem 'Negaraku' by citizens in this country," Armin said in a statement last Friday, 6 December.
He added that schools must adhere to the National Anthem Act 1968 and warned against making alterations to the national anthem when it is sung during official functions.
The Ministry of Education also stated that they are aware of similar incidents found in other schools
Bersatu Youth's education bureau has filed a police report over the viral video, adding that the national anthem was also sung in Arabic, reported Malaysiakini.
Its exco Mohd Ashraf Mustaqim described such incidents as a treasonous act against patriotism and nationalism.
"It is clear that the singing of 'Negaraku' either in Mandarin or Arabic is wrong and transgresses the position of 'Negaraku' as the official national anthem through its own language, which is Bahasa Melayu," Ashraf said.
Since the controversy, reports have also shown that the translations of 'Negaraku' have been part of the Chinese and Tamil school syllabus since 2014
A report by New Straits Times yesterday, 8 December, confirmed that the Year Five Chinese-medium History textbook contained a full translation of the national anthem on page 128.
The textbook was first published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) Kuala Lumpur in 2014, with its third version published last year.
A similar version is also found in the Tamil-medium Year Five History textbook. However, the translation is written phonetically based on the Bahasa Malaysia lyrics.