PM: Foreign Students Must Learn Bahasa Melayu While Studying At Malaysia's Universities

Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad has reportedly agreed with the suggestion.

Cover image via Aswadi Alias/New Straits Times , Zafirah Khalid (anyflip) , MuharniMus (YouTube)

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Foreign students will have to learn Bahasa Melayu when they are studying at universities in Malaysia, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Saturday, 19 March

According to Free Malaysia Today, the Prime Minister has spoken to Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad about the matter and she has agreed with the move.

Besides that, Ismail also announced that the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) Act will be amended to include enforcement powers.

"The DBP Act will be strengthened by giving DBP the enforcement powers. For example, [for] the use of Bahasa Melayu on signboards, DBP can take action against language abuse," Bernama quoted him as saying at the 2021 UMNO General Assembly at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur.

Popular private universities in Malaysia (from left to right): Sunway University, INTI International University, International Medical University.

Image via Sunway University, Uniserv Education, and IMU

Ismail told party members at the assembly that they must champion the use of Bahasa Melayu, which he hopes would become ASEAN's second language

He said efforts to uphold the national language are in line with Article 152 of the Federal Constitution and Clause 3.5 of the UMNO Constitution.

In a circular issued to agencies, ministries, and government-linked companies (GLCs), they are instructed to use Bahasa Melayu in their programmes.

"The time has come for us to be proud of Bahasa Melayu. Therefore, there is no reason for us to feel awkward when speaking the language even on the international stage because bahasa jiwa bangsa (language is the soul of the nation)," said the UMNO vice president, reported Bernama.

The 2021 UMNO General Assembly on 19 March.

Image via Aswadi Alias/New Straits Times

According to him, Bahasa Melayu is spoken by over 300 million people in ASEAN and is the seventh most widely used language in the world

During his official visits to Cambodia and Thailand last month, Ismail said he used Bahasa Melayu during a press conference with the leaders of the two countries and would do the same during his visit to Vietnam on Sunday, 20 March.

Previously, the Prime Minister pushed for broader use of the language internationally, instructing government officials to use Bahasa Melayu while speaking at conferences and other engagements abroad, reported Free Malaysia Today.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Image via Bernama via New Straits Times

In November last year, Ismail reprimanded private companies, GLCs, and government agencies for not prioritising the use of Bahasa Melayu:

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