Even Brother Indonesia Looks Down On “Bahasa Melayu” – When You Step Out Of The Country, Malay Language Is Useless

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Apr 06 2022
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Every Malaysian prime minister has his own signature concept or inspiration to build a legacy – or simply a gimmick to fish for votes. Najib Razak had introduced “1Malaysia”, a copy version of the “One Israel”. Claiming the concept was to bring Malaysians of all races to unity, Mr Najib had instead mobilized “Red Shirt” gangsters to terrorize minorities Chinese and Indian, including vernacular schools.


Muhyiddin Yassin’s version was “Kerajaan Prihatin” or a caring government. Yet, his short 17-month legacy will be known by historians as an era of SOP U-turns, policy flip-flops, double standards, incompetence, hypocrisy, corruption, Coronavirus mishandling, economic mismanagement and of course – illegitimacy. At the end, his regime was known as “Kerajaan Gagal” (failed government).


Ismail Sabri is now toying with “Keluarga Malaysia” (Malaysian Family), a slogan towards achieving harmony and prosperity for all people in the nation. Coming from a racist man who supported a thief just because he is a Malay caught stealing a smartphone from a Chinese trader at a shop in Low Yat Plaza, and even had set up “Low Yat 2” specifically for Malay traders, it is indeed laughable.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri - Clueless

Unlike Najib, who could leverage on his father – “Razak” – legacy, and Muhyiddin’s “Malay First”, Ismail has no strong identity as a “Malay hero”. The Low Yat 2 business plan to empowering Malay vendors after racial riots at IT Mall Low Yat in 2015 has been a disaster. His advisers soon hatched a brilliant plan – make Bahasa Melayu or Malay language as the second language in Southeast Asia.


Extremely please with the new political product, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri proudly announced two weeks ago (March 23) that his unelected government will discuss with regional leaders to accept his new idea. He argued that only 4 out of 10 ASEAN countries use English in official events at the international level, while the rest 6 countries use their mother tongue.


He claimed that during his visit to Cambodia, he was informed there were 800,000 Malay-Chams who used Malay. In Vietnam, he said there were some 160,000 Malay speakers among those of Malay-Cham ancestry. He concluded that since Malay is also being spoken in Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Cambodia, there is absolutely no reason why Malay cannot become an official language of ASEAN.

ASEAN Countries - Map

In truth, turtle-egg Sabri can’t speak proper English. In fact, he is an accidental prime minister, who happened to be at the right time at the right place. Unlike former prime ministers Mahathir Mohamad and Najib Razak, he is in a lower league. He realized the challenge after one of his ministers tried to skip an international conference due to a poor grasp of English.


After being mocked and ridiculed, Environment and Water Minister Tuan Ibrahim reluctantly flew to Scotland in November last year to deliver his speech at the 26th UN Convention on Climate Change – in Malay language. Using Tuan Ibrahim as an excuse, PM Sabri ordered government officials to only speak Malay or Bahasa Malaysia when representing the country at functions overseas.


Actually, there’s nothing wrong about speaking in one’s mother tongue at an international conference or meeting. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping deliver their speeches in Russian and Chinese all the time. However, it’s one thing to speak in Malay at official events at the international level. It’s another thing altogether to demand that the language becomes a lingua franca by other countries.

Nazri Aziz, Wife and Son Jean Pierre Azize

Besides, how could the Malaysian leader convince neighbouring countries to speak the language when his own community – ethnic Malay – prefers English over Malay, or at least mixing both in daily life to show off one’s status? In fact, despite screaming about Malay supremacy, senior ministers of the ruling party UMNO are not proud of their own Malay language.


Rais Yatim, president of Dewan Negara (Upper House), named his four children as Malini Rais, Dino Rais, Danni Rais and Ronni Rais – clearly not Malay names. Nazri Aziz, a former minister who criticised Kuala Lumpur for having too many street names and buildings in English, has not only named his son “Jean Pierre Azize”, but also enrolled the 5-year-old junior in a French school in France.


But Sabri’s political stunt was a non-starter and DOA (dead on arrival) when Indonesia instantly shot it down. Indonesia’s minister of education, culture, research and technology, Nadiem Makarim, has rejected the idea to use Malay language – even between both countries, which supposedly are part of the same Malay Archipelago and share common historical roots, cultural heritage and religion.

Malaysia PM Ismail Sabri and Indonesia President Joko Jokowi Widodo

Nadiem said the rejection was made known to Ismail Sabri during his brief working visit to Indonesia last Friday (April 1). The clueless Malaysian prime minister might have mistaken it as an April Food joke, but the Indonesian minister has made it clear that it should be Indonesian language – not Malay language – that should be the appropriate choice as the official language of ASEAN.


He lectured that contrary to PM Ismail’s claim, it is Bahasa Indonesia that has become the most widely-spoken language in Southeast Asia. Compared to Sabri’s weak and dubious justification that the Malay language is being spoken in 6 out of 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Nadiem claims the Indonesian language extends to 47 countries around the world.


Adding salt to insult, Indonesia’s National Agency for Language Development and Cultivation chief Prof Endang Aminudin Aziz said the use of Bahasa Malaysia in Indonesia is more of a district language and not used nationally – suggesting that Indonesian language is superior than Malay language. Obviously, it was a slap in the face of PM Ismail Sabri.

Indonesia - Skyscrapper

In terms of populations, Indonesia has 280 million, while Malaysia has only 32 million. Even then, based on population estimates in 2015, despite being the largest ethnic group in the country, Malays form only 50.8% of Malaysia’s demographics. Not every Malaysian speaks the Malay language, but the same cannot be said about Indonesians.


This is not the first time that Malaysia has proposed using Bahasa Melayu as an official language in ASEAN. Back in 2017, former PM Najib made a similar proposal, but none of the neighbouring countries took it seriously. Every leader knew Sabri’s latest move is another nationalistic drama to score points on the domestic front, the same way Najib did it to deflect his 1MDB scandal.


There’s a reason why Article 34 of the ASEAN Charter states that the working language of ASEAN shall be English, and has remained so since its founding in 1867. It is to prevent any single country from pushing for a specific language as primary or secondary language, which would then attract dispute and competition from another country to do the same – precisely what PM Sabri is doing now.

Malaysia University Graduates Unemployable - Poor English

ASEAN has more important issues to solve, rather than entertaining the Malaysian premier’s personal aspiration or populist endeavour. Issues such as the economic impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, South China Sea dispute, Covid-19 pandemic and other bread-and-butter problems are more urgent than Mr Ismail’s silly appetite for playing language politics.


Essentially, if Ismail cannot even convince his own Indonesian brother to support his proposal to elevate Malay language within ASEAN, he should stop dreaming about making it as a lingua franca at the international level. Like it or not, this is a simple economics of supply and demand – the Malay language will automatically become official language when there is sufficient demand for it.


Instead of running around like a headless chicken, he should realize that one cannot force other nations to accept one’s mother tongue as if the world revolves around the Malays. The world has to accept it willingly, just like how Bahasa Melayu became the lingua franca in the Malay Archipelago in the 15th and 16th century, when Malacca was one of the trading centres between west and east.

Melaka - Malacca

Traders eagerly and voluntarily learned Malay language, leading to wider acceptance over time, because everyone wanted to trade and profit from the booming economy. The same economic prowess enjoyed by Malacca is the same reason why everyone, including Americans and Europeans, is willing to learn Chinese language today.


As Ismail government tries to shut down vernacular schools, did they know that ever since a Chinese language course started in 2006 in the UAE, the Chinese-language education has seen the number of enrollments increased from merely 20 students to a whopping 45,000 last year? The first Chinese school outside China was opened in Dubai in 2020. There are now 142 schools (Dec 2021) in the UAE offering Chinese language classes.


Likewise, wealthy Chinese readily splash top dollars to send their children in the U.S. and U.K. to master the English language in order to learn science and technology from the Western powers. People are willing to learn a foreign language because there’s something to gain or learn – either economically, technologically or cultural.

Chinese Students Graduate In US Universities

Foreigners wanted to learn Chinese because China is the second largest economy so they wanted to either do business or learn its 5,000 years of civilization. Chinese wanted to learn English not only because it could get them jobs in multinational companies or expand their business, but also because English is the language of science, aviation, computers, diplomacy and opportunity.


People also learn German because the language is the gateway to physics, engineering, medicine, chemistry and other world-class education. That’s why American pharmaceutical Pfizer depended on BioNTech, a Germany biotechnology company in the development of Covid-19 vaccines, not to mention why Islamist party PAS leaders love German-made Mercedes Benz so much.


It is the same reason why foreign workers – Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Burmese, and Nepalese – have no problems learning Bahasa Malaysia. Learning the local language is essential to getting jobs here. It’s their economic and survival necessities for them to master the Malay language. Perhaps the Malaysian prime minister has targeted the wrong market, and should approach these countries instead.

Foreign Workers Immigrants in Malaysia

Foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah should not have embarrassed the country by sending an official letter in Malay language to the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. It was a dumb political stunt as the letter would go straight to the dustbin. This is not a rice cooker which you need a user manual in various languages for customers in different continents or countries.


So, can Ismail Sabri explain why ASEAN, let alone the world, should learn the Malay language? What are the values one can gain by learning Bahasa Melayu? Narrow-minded Malays may not like this, but once you step out of Malaysia, the national language is pretty useless. It’s amusing that unlike Malay and Indonesian languages, the U.S. and U.K. have never fought over which version of their English should be the lingua franca.


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Before you go to hard on the Malay language, try to recall who had a very important role in the switch from English language to Malay language as the teaching language in Malaysian schools. That was a major step ……. backwards in educating the future generations of Malaysians, and we are seeing the “fruit of that labour” today. That person was your favourite, your idol … Anwar, when he was a minster in the Malaysian government!

Not sure if you’re really Muthu as claimed, but the Muthu I know is very much cleverer.

Here’s some hard-facts for you:

1) The switch from English to Malay education actually happened on Jan 1, 1970 when all English-medium schools beginning Standard-1 were changed to Malay-medium. Hence, by 1983, those kids who entered primary schools in 1970 would have studied all subjects in Bahasa Malaysia, and would continue to do so in secondary schools up to university (if they are lucky enough to get a place).

2) Who was the smart education minister who made the switch? It was Rahman Yaakub, who danced to the tune of Malay extremists who demanded Malay education after the 1969 racial riots.

3) And who was the prime minister at that time? It was your favourite idol – Najib’s father.

4) Mahathir only came to power in 1981- 2003. I’m very sure “my idol” Anwar became a minister only during Mahathir administration.

Dude, you should do more reading or at least check for facts before making a fool of yourself.

I am always at a loss over why our wretched sh*thole country makes such a fuss over its pidginspeak. Or why those lectured over not using the “language” squirm at being coerced into having to use it or learn it. Malay is an easy tongue to learn though I’ve never bothered to learn it seriously – or even find the need to learn it – reclining under the coconut trees is better.

To begin with my drift, the seriously deficient tongue is a washed-out pirated copy of the Indonesian language. It is a smattering of aboriginal noises with a rojak of many foreign tongues like Indonesian, Indian, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and a fat helping of Manglish. If you have a little command of Manglish and you can spell English badly, you’re already there! If you are a Chinese, in particular, Hokkien, you’ll have quite a fair bit of Malay vocabulary, think teh, mee, bihun, tekor… you won’t go hungry if you dodge nasi lemak…

I have precious little use for Malay, if I encounter some wonders who can’t manage any other language, I do my own sign language, keep speaking anything else but – or if the someone insists I speak Malay, I just tell him (or her) to fcuk off. Strangely, most people incapable of English seem to understand at least the word fcuk – and seem to take offence.

My livelihood and my life do not depend on any ability with Malay. Nearly all my Malay friends can speak English. Where anything requires me to read Malay, I simply ignore it. And I haven’t noticed any detrimental consequence. At present I am having to ignore the regular cock and bull from that Covid app, I haven’t missed anything, so I guess. If I had, I won’t be too bothered, the app is crap and I don’t want to put up with it.

Malay is a useless “language”, and I can say I can’t be proud of it when it seriously plagiarised other tongues and has only just over two hundred words that are genuinely “Malay”. We would be better off properly learning and using English, at least a fair part of the world uses it. Or, if that may be a reason, a big part of the world uses Chinese, so one should consider learning and using Chinese, since China is also a huge and powerful country – many people all over the world think Malaysia is a part of China. And China has loads of money, even street kids everywhere are intelligent enough to learn Chinese, that’s how you can get a few cents off the Chinese.

The relative lack of the use of and ability with English prevents greater tourism and investment to Bolehland. Just look at how well Singapore has developed its tourist industry, and the amount of foreign investment it has. Friends wanting to invest here have complained about the fcuking non-existent level of English errr not to say the appalling lack of a decent work culture helps either… so I should take back what I’ve just said, if our English is hunkydory, we are still a sleepy, slow-witted lazy bunch, anyway..!

With a tongue that steals so much from English, we might as well go for the real thing, we should make a better job of stealing if we can’t cook up our own words through our own effort – or genius since Malay is the tongue of some kind of “civilisation” and “supremacists”, wtf!

We, or our “supremacists”, steal cuisine, art, craft, music, other bits of culture… everything except bog rolls from others, there shouldn’t be any shame stealing English as she is spake totally, wtf!

And with our “chosen ones”, everyone else less-endowed can manage the tongue of the “supremacists” better than the “supremacists”, wtf!

Building up a decent level of English should make it easier for those who want to go elsewhere to do so. And should help the intelligent to stay elsewhere forever too, just why would you want the monkeys to run the zoo?

It’s time Malaysians stop shagging off and thumping the chest about the wholly-inadequate Malay “language”. It has hardly a vocabulary without stealing from other languages. And since stealing is the case, why not just learn whatever foreign language with a decent vocabulary? We cannot adequately learn science, maths, technology, or get anywhere near any industrial revolution with the poor ignorant caveman’s gutteral called Malay.

And don’t tell me anything about Arabic, the Arabs laugh at our monkeys at their parrot recitals while at no time being the least capable of ordering camel urine at an Arab restaurant! And all while looking like fcuking pantomime clowns dressed as “Arabs”. The idea is to get out of the Stone Age and into the modern era, feeling proud about our pidginspeak and making a big deal of our fcuking rojakspeak of assorted pirated foreign tongues is not going to do nobody any good. We should be looking good in the international arena speaking amazing English (or Chinese) than insisting on our pidginspeak which no one outside our shores give a blessed shiite about.

Many countries in the world are still trying to make their language known. You need to have those extra plenty to cut the grade, maybe great civilisation, scenic beauty, great cuisine, culture, history, famous writers, poets, artists, craftsmen etc. Malaysia unfortunately cannot contribute with its only highly-noticeable wonders – arseh*le politicians.

We mustn’t leave the subject of control freakery. Being “pious” for our religious frauds is about using an ideology to lord it over others. When it is well nigh impossible to prove any deity has any faith in or even any bother about us, let alone anointed or appointed us to serve him, our frauds need only strut around and pretend so. Our sh*thole country is blessed with not too few such charlatans, Alhamdulilah! The fcuking fuss over our pirate copy of bits and pieces of other peoples’ tongues serves our little control freaks and fascists the same purpose – to lord it over others. Unfortunately, like our dictated religion, the “language” bit of domination doesn’t work either, there are just too many of the nons who have better command of our patois than our “chosen ones” – just like the Chinese and Indians are centuries ahead with the religion of the “chosen wans”! Wan would be pig-stupid to lord it over others when he’s already lost the fcuking game long before it’s even started!

Think over what I wrote and consider what could be the best way out short of inventing a truly great tongue we can genuinely call our very own. Please don’t go berserk and run amuck (amok for some of you, one of the few words uniquely us – and Indonesian, borrowed by others who do not seem to have similar psychological affliction). No need to put on your red t-shirt and scream venom at me. If you can’t read my kampong Manglish, just fcuk off!

And if you do not rise from the dead to disagree with what I’ve written, I shall deem you pretty freaking useless, can’t think properly, can’t argue your way out of a wet paper bag, can’t manage a bit of Manglish, can’t get off from under the coconut trees to use wan finger to type… or you simply have to agree with me like you have to, Alhamdulilah!

Sorry I can’t give you a broken Manglish Malay version of my broken Manglish, go to the nons to get yourself your broken Manglish Malay take of my drift, there’s a good monkey!

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