Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob reprimanded private companies, government-linked companies (GLCs), and government agencies for not prioritising the use of Bahasa Melayu (BM)
Speaking at the Malay Language Public Speaking Competition (PABM) yesterday, 28 November, Ismail said organisations these days are not using BM enough at their events, meetings, conferences, and on their products, reported Harian Metro.
According to him, it is the rakyat's role as Malaysians to ensure that the national language flourishes.
Hence, he requested these organisations to adopt the use of BM more widely from here on.
"Currently, it has become a trend not to use BM in private programmes, even GLCs and government agencies are the same," Ismail said
"Agency and GLC meetings also use English. In fact, it is a norm that company names, housing projects, and product brands are not in BM."
"I hope every conference and meeting, among other things, must use BM after this. Who else can (uphold the dignity of) BM except ourselves?"
Free Malaysia Today reported the Prime Minister as saying that the government will support efforts to elevate the national language, adding that Putrajaya wants to make BM an 'international language of the 21st century'.
Ismail also said that Malaysians should be proud of BM, as it is recognised as one of 20 official languages in the world out of 6,000 languages in use today
He said the rakyat should feel proud of their national language as it is ranked the 10th most popular language in the world.
In 2016, Bernama reported then education minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid as saying that 'Ethnologue: Languages of the World' — a comprehensive online referral centre for languages run by the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) International — had named Bahasa Melayu-Indonesia as "one of 10 most widely used languages in the world".
"As the Malaysian Family, whom this mother tongue belongs to, we should feel proud, despite the strong dominance of the English language, as Bahasa Melayu remains powerful, with its own unique rhythm, which has remained evergreen in the world's civilisation," Ismail said, reported Bernama.
The conversation about the use of BM came into in the limelight this month after a Free Malaysia Today journalist was allegedly "bullied" by Cabinet members for not asking questions in BM.
During the interview on 14 November, Cabinet members Idris Ahmad and Datuk Haji Awang Hashim were criticised for "bullying" a reporter: