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Allah and the Malay language


(Blackboard pic by ilco / sxc.hu)

IF the church were to agree to the ban of the word “Allah” for non-Muslims, would this solve our problems? The answer is no. Religious authorities in the West Malaysian states have banned more than the word “Allah”. In Pahang and Malacca, the word “nabi” (prophet) is banned, making it impossible to have the Bible or Torah translated into Malay. In fact, the word “Injil” (Bible) is banned in 10 states, including Pahang and Selangor.

The issue here is clearly not theological, whether “Allah” in the Christian sense is same with “Allah” as Muslims understand it. Instead, the issue is highly political: Can the Malay language be used in the religious realm by any faith or belief system other than Islam?

Md Asham Ahmad, a fellow at the Centre for Syariah, Law and Political Studies, Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim), expressed the apprehension of Malaysian Muslims: “Clearly what the Christians are trying to do is to deislamise the Malay language for missionary purposes.”

“Deislamisation” here means allowing the Malay language to be used by everyone, and not exclusively by Muslims alone. Underscoring this is the attempt by the Islamic authorities to define Islam and Muslims as being exclusive.


Darwin (Public domain; source: Wiki
commons)
This could explain why the Indonesian-language edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species is banned in Malaysia, while the English original is freely available. I cannot think of any other explanation why only Malay-speaking Malaysians need to be protected from the bad influence of the evolutionists.

Now, imagine if a Buddhist or Hindu canon was translated into Malay, or if an Indonesian-language text of such canons was imported from Java or Bali. Would the Buddhist or Hindu communities then be accused of attempting to proselytise Muslims?

Trinity

The logic here is simple:

The Malay language is spoken by Malay Malaysians;

Malay Malaysians are by constitutional definition Muslim;

The Malay language therefore belongs to Muslims and should not be deislamised.

With apologies to the doctrines of the Catholic and Protestant churches, this is a trinity of Malay ethnicity, the Malay language, and Islam.

This is why “Allah” is not at all an issue in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, which practises the same form of Islam prevalent in Malaysia: the Shafie school of jurisprudence in Sunni Islam. In Indonesia, Bahasa Indonesia is not a language owned exclusively by Muslims.

But Asham then asks: “If [the Christians] say it is their right to do mission to the Malay [Malaysians] … then shouldn’t we, the Malays, also claim our right to repel any effort to undermine our religious and cultural identity?”

Good question. If the Malay language is exclusively for Muslims, I suppose Malaysian Muslims do have such a right, even if this amounts to “religious protectionism”. Either that, or the Malay language is so central to the faith of Malaysian Muslims — more so than Arabic for Middle-Eastern Muslims or Hebrew for Jews.


Dante in an artist’s rendition of Inferno from The
Divine Comedy
(Public domain; source: Wiki
commons)
But then, two questions arise. Firstly, as Malaysian Muslims are increasingly multilingual, should “the right to repel any effort to undermine [Muslims'] religious and cultural identity” be gradually extended to cover other languages, too? For instance, should the original English edition of On the Origin of Species be banned to protect Muslims from confusion and erosion of their faith? What about Dante‘s anti-Islam classic, The Divine Comedy?

Then there is the more urgent question: Is a mono-faith Malay language tenable as the national language? In other words, if only Islam-compatible concepts are allowed in the Malay language, such that one can only learn about Islam and not other religious or atheist thoughts though the language, why should Malaysian non-Muslims learn Malay? Why not exclude non-Muslim students from Malay-language classes just as they are from Islamic studies?

If the Malay language is supposed to be the Muslim language on faith-related matters, is the promotion of it as the national language an unspoken long-term proselytising plan? Does this explain the commonplace complaint about Islamisation in Malay-medium national schools?

Interestingly, the use of Malay in East Malaysia was an issue in the 20-point agreement upon the formation of Malaysia. Therefore, the usage of “Allah” might not have become so widespread in Malaysian Borneo had the National Language Policy not been so successful there.

Tension within the constitution?

What this controversy now shows is the tension between a narrowly interpreted Article 3 (Islam as the religion of the federation) and Article 152 (Malay as the national language) of the Federal Constitution.

At a discursive level, the “Allah” controversy is simply an internal contradiction of Umno’s ideology: Malay supremacy (ketuanan Melayu). This ideology of Umno’s ethno-nationalism is built on a trinity of religious ethno-nationalism (Muslim interests), linguistic nationalism (the Malay language), and economic ethno-nationalism (special status of bumiputera in Article 153). However, one must be careful not to conclude that a person who follows any or all of these strands of nationalism is automatically an Umno supporter.

What can be concluded is that Umno’s political expediency to drum up what has been called Islamo-tribalism is not only undoing Malaysia’s reputation as a moderate Muslim country, but also undoing the national language project.


Khoo Kay Kim (Pic by Hafiz Noor Shams
/ Wiki commons)
The debate on Allah should therefore be shifted from theology and semantics to nationhood and politics. The direct stakeholders here are not only Malay-speaking Malaysian Christians, from among native East Malaysians and West Malaysian Orang Asli, but also the standard bearers of Malay linguistic nationalism.

So, what are the positions of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and the Federation of Malay Writers Associations on this matter? What is the position of single-stream education proponents such as Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim? Have they given up on the necessity of an inclusive national language, or have they agreed all this while that the national language should be for Muslims only?


Wong Chin Huat is a political scientist by training and a journalism lecturer by trade. He wonders, if languages are God’s creation, can humans claim copyright?

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38 Responses to “Allah and the Malay language”

  1. M.K. says:

    Except for the politicians and some NGOs, not many intellectuals are coming forward to express their opinions on this very important issue. Are they just afraid or being selfish?

  2. san says:

    I don’t know whether I am wrong, but I’m just sharing my thoughts…

    from the trinity defined in your article,

    1. The Malay language is spoken by Malay Malaysians;

    2. Malay Malaysians are by constitutional definition Muslim;

    3. The Malay language therefore belongs to Muslims and should not be de-Islamised.

    The conclusion I got is that the Malay language is to be spoken only by Muslims. it doesn’t show that the Malay language belongs to Malaysia as non-Malay Malaysians also speak the Malay language.

    My trinity:
    The Malay language is spoken by Chinese Malaysians

    Chinese Malaysians are by constitutional definition non-Muslim;

    The Malay language therefore belongs to non-Muslims.

    I am not a expert in logic, may be someone more knowledgeable can enlighten us. Thank you.

  3. Adam says:

    DeIslamisation of the Malay language! Even Arabic is used in other religions. Urdu which was supposed to be the language of India’s Muslims is also used in the Christian faith not only in India but in Islamic Pakistan.

    “If [the Christians] say it is their right to do mission to the Malay [Malaysians] … then shouldn’t we, the Malays, also claim our right to repel any effort to undermine our religious and cultural identity?” said Mr Asham of IKIM.

    Now Mr Asham, when did the Christians say this? Mr Asham has unearthed another problem here that seems to be one basis for protesting against Christian use of Allah. The problem is the lies against the Christian church, that Christians are propagating their faith to Muslims! The fact is Muslims are the ones actively propagating Islam to Christians so much so that in Muslim bookshops you can find numerous books that try to prove “Christianity is wrong”. Muslims* in this country continue to live in suspicion of Christians and make unfounded allegations. One example is Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria who claimed a church was baptising Malay children. Yet he was never charged under the Sedition Act!

    All these despite the fact that in Malaysia propagation of Islam is supported and financed by the government and that in West Malaysia propagation of other religions to Muslims is forbidden by law Even in East Malaysia, Christians do not spread their faith to Muslims. As for churches, most of which survive on the generous donations of members, they are totally helpless when accusations are hurled at them, as the MSM does not give them fair coverage like the February 12th 2009 forum on TV1 where not a single Christian representative was invited to talk on the “Allah” issue.

    Not only are the churches financed by the congregation, many of the members of the Christian congregation represent some of the poorest peoples of Malaysia. Compared to Muslims, these Christians can count on little help from the government. So, this fear people like Asham is talking about is imagined! This imagination is created none other than we all know who.

    *not all Muslims

  4. Lion says:

    The author forgot to ask a very important question:

    What constitutes Bahasa Melayu?

    From where does the word “lampu” come?

    How about “pisau”?
    “Dunia”?
    “Bandar”?

    And many, many other common words included in the Kamus Bahasa Melayu.

    If they want exclusivity of Bahasa Melayu to themselves, fine.

    Take out all the words they BORROW from other languages.

    Then they can keep whatever is left to themselves.

    We, the non-Malay [Malaysians], can continue to use our NON-Melayu languages, including English, Arab, Chinese, Tamil, Japanese, Thai without claiming any exclusivity over them.

  5. I like this article very much. I think it’s very fairly written, especially since the author is not of any of the faiths involved in this dispute. And it cuts to the heart of the matter.

    I have to confess that the issue can be quite emotional for me, being both East Malaysian and Christian. To me this is borderline religious persecution, the kind of things that happen in places where laws have collapsed completely like in Pakistan. How can you arrest or fine people for simply addressing God in the only language they know how? In what way can materials that are so blatantly Christian confuse a Muslim believer?

    But perhaps, for ‘the other side’ of the argument, this is a challenge to personal territory — after all, ‘Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa’. And the bangsa of Malay [Malaysians] is defined both culturally and constitutionally as Muslim. Globalization, Westernization, and many other things are changing and challenging the Malay identity — the presence of Christian material in any semblance of the Malay language is, to the Malay-Muslim mind, the worst kind of encroachment, because it is Christianization.

  6. dave says:

    Munshi Abdullah used Allah for God when he translated the Gospel (injil) into Malay so is he now being disowned by the Islamo-facists?

  7. jeremiah says:

    Excuse me, Mr Wong, but your logical trinity argument is wrong because the conclusion “the Malay language therefore belongs to Muslims and should not be deislamised” does not follow from the premise “the Malay language is spoken by Malay Malaysians”.

    The fact that I speak French and Hokkien does not mean these languages are exclusive to me. A spoken language is a medium of communication, and there are millions of non-Muslim Malaysians who speak Bahasa Malaysia.

    Secondly, the word “Allah” is not a Malay word as it predates the emergence of Bahasa and Islam. So are we talking about perception of cultural ownership? Or intellectual copyright?

    Finally, for non-Muslims to use a generic word that describes god is not deislamising anything, only according to the excuses made up by certain people. If I passed a law that the term “Holy Spirit” spelt in [upper case] could only be used by Christians, and non-Christians continued to publish and use this word, does that change the faith of Christians?

    Come on lah, let us not devalue the intellectual standard of this online debate by pandering to half-baked excuses.

  8. cruzeiro says:

    Precisely my perception! It is a constitutional and linguistic matter, not theological, as Umno would want you to believe. Fantastic analysis — bravo, Chin Huat!!

  9. Fuji says:

    Dude, this brings on a whole new can of worms. Not sure if the ordinary Malaysian can stomach all this or even imagine the consequences of what you have brought to the table.

  10. oh dear says:

    De-Islamisation of the Malay [Malaysian] language[?] That would mean the Malay [Malaysian] language is Islamic to start of with. Which means ALL words should not be uttered by Non-Muslims?

    Sensitive or Arrogant?
    Sensitive is when you are hurt by others’ actions. Most people pray to their God to guide the misinformed ones.
    Arrogant is when you demand others to follow you no matter what the truth is.

    Sensitive is thinking you are right but you are also able to see the others’ ‘rightness’
    Arrogant is thinking you are right and the only one.

    Sensitive is knowing God.
    Arrogant is saying you act for God.

    Sensitive is knowing God’s message of peace.
    Arrogant is trying to promote God through hate and anger.

    Sensitive is knowing God’s power.
    Arrogant is assuming God needs any protection at all.

  11. Fuji says:

    Actually one note to bring up again is that the BM is a rojak language, having adopted many words from different languages such as English, Arabic as well as Sanskrit. If that is the case, how does one claim copyright on this language?

  12. Maverick says:

    Fairdinkum,

    The box office movie in cinemas AVATAR (GODS coming down in bodily form to earth) is an Indian word. I suggest that all Indians start rioting in front of cinemas, temples and on the streets and create chaos. Advise our local law makers to debate this in Parliament. To lend support we could also summon Samy Vellu as our patron. Long live THE INDIANS. Malaysia Boleh, Work with Me and 1Malaysia.

  13. Lawrence Sii says:

    I fully support the writer’s view and interpretations as shared. Whoever tries to exclude others from using generic words for addressing God and related matters is showing how shallow-minded and lacking of confidence he or she is in his or her own faith in the only God of humankind. I believe there are many more people as such in this earthly world causing racial unrest, war and downfall of nations.

    If we have an open mind and loving heart and are sharing the same and only God, why we can’t live peacefully together as brothers and sisters in harmony? Why should we keep arguing on generic terms and forbidding others from applying? Are we concealing ourselves within a nutshell? At the end of the day, where we are heading to? Remaining as frogs living in a small well claiming that the small well opening is the world or the universe?

    Human beings are so small and fragile on this earthy planet. Just take the earthquake in Haiti. Shall we keep arguing on such a superficial issue rather than focusing on how to build the country’s economy and to rebuild the environment to save this sick planet so that we can continue to enjoy our earthly life? [...]

    Be practical and do the right things, rather than argue for exclusivity and superiority.

  14. You could translate the bible into the Klingon language [...]

  15. oik says:

    You misrepresent (I suspect intentionally) what En. Asham said. What he meant by “deislamise” was to take Malay terms and strip them of their Islamic meaning. In Malay, Allah is a proper noun referring to the God of the Muslims. It is not a generic word for god. Ask any Malay person you bump into and I guarantee you they will agree.

    Why is he linking this to Christian missionaries? Well, maybe it is because that is what they themselves say. Here’s an example from Encountering the World of Islam by Keith E Swartley:

    Christian advocates for using “Allah” among Muslims in non-Arabic-speaking lands counter that introducing foreign terms for God will create immense hurdles in communication, perhaps even guaranteeing that a truly indigenous church-planting movement will never occur. The task , they say, is not to discard such easily redeemable terms, but to fill them with biblical meaning. The more a Muslim’s understanding of Allah is informed by the Scriptures, the more biblical his or her theology of God will become.

  16. Kakami says:

    Dear God, some Malay [Malaysians] will inject culture into everything! I doubt that it is even REMOTELY possible to de-Islamise the Malay language for the simple reason that Islam is a religion, or, as I see it for myself, a way of life, and Malay is a race. Therefore if anything, we should de-MALAYnise Islam because the religion is supposed to be blind to culture, race, etc.

    I do not think that just because we allow use of the words Nabi or Injil or Allah, all of a sudden we’d lose great numbers of Muslims. How silly of us, how fickle and simple-minded if all it takes to get us to denounce our religion are a few words used by the other faiths!

    Another important matter is how (and I regrettably admit) many of the Muslims forget the constant mention of “People of the Book”. One is free to ponder these “People”, but my point is, we are NOT exclusive. And just as importantly, we have NO right to judge the beliefs of others.

    If I’m not mistaken, during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), he did not prohibit the spreading of teaching of other religions. He only cautioned EVERY faith to not impose or force upon their beliefs onto others. This is how it should be.

    These Malays who get so defensive over the use of “Allah” are forgetting that the name is not what matters, it is the SUBSTANCE. If you are confident of what “Allah” means to you, then how can you become confused just because someone else believes in another concept?

    I sure am going to register to vote now that I can. Hopefully the opposition would offer a truer, more vivid form of unity than the common goal to unite against the BN. Out with the racial divides. WE NEED THIS CHANGE.

  17. kahseng says:

    Now perhaps the language-nationalists and self-righteous English-language crusaders can get an inkling of why some of us defend mother-tongue education. Language roots far into human psyche, cognition, spiritual depths, and underpins the individual’s freedom of mind and spirit. Let individuals and families decide for themselves what language to use.

    This is also why government and religion should never mix. Our trouble here is the mixing of government and religion. The government is perhaps a necessary evil, and is useful to provide basic services. But to believe excessively in the government’s ability to solve our problems — and therefore deserve the powers and resources it forcefully collects — is akin to submitting to an additional religious faith.

    Our public education and centralised economic system has institutionalised the government — by brainwashing us with the ideas of “unity”, conformity, the social need for the NEP, etc — as a belief system, rather than as just a civil service system.

    We need to dare to separate from them.

  18. B. A. Low says:

    (Bahasa Malaysia + Allah) X Christians = Burned Churches

  19. bazeer ahmed says:

    Much water, in fact troubled water, has run under the bridge.You say what you want to say and I say what I want to say. But we don’t see the light or the end of any tunnel. May I suggest that too much unwanted and unwarranted opinions have been said. And many of these opinions are from immature and emotional minds.

    Very harsh words against people and doctrines have been written. This creates not more understanding but animosity among human beings. We can put forth any argument, but it needs to be subtle and intelligent. May we have intellectual discourse instead. It would be better if we can gather more information as regards to others, rather than gather information to suit our own biased arguments.

  20. Aquarian says:

    The main purpose of language is for communication. The more accurate you can convey a message through the language, the more useful and priced is the language. Nowhere in history has a language been restricted to just a single race or religion, and the reason is clear. Restricting a language and making it so exclusive to any single group will only kill the language eventually, like the long-forgotten Latin.

    For this reason, I cannot see how any lover of language, especially lover of the Malay language, can see any logic in this present controversy over the word “Allah”. Restricting its use to an exclusive group does not make the group stronger. It makes it weaker, and will eventually cause its demise.

    Thus this restriction is not the way to preserve Malay culture or ethnicity. It certainly is not the way to deal with the “fragile” sensitivity of the Muslims in this country. Any confident Muslims will tell you that he or she is not threatened by the use of “Allah” in any publication. And if a Muslim feels threatened because he [or she] lacks confidence, then the right thing to do is to enhance his [or her] confidence through more education, not perpetuate it through this form of expedient measure.

  21. salim says:

    Injil? What Injil? Your bible is not the Injil taught by Prophet Isa a.s..That’s the reason why it is banned by the religious authority. Very sorry. When Islam arrived on the shore of a nation, it Islamised the whole front of the nation. This includes the Arabic language, Malay, Farsi, Urdu, Turkish, Swahili and others. So please open up.

  22. Ian Parker says:

    Just one point. What are the rules for machine translation? Could this be interpreted as a conspiracy to prevent machine translation and the [associated] exchange of ideas?

    By the way, Google does not translate Malay (at the moment). It does translate Arabic. Arabs have never objected to this.

  23. brownfox says:

    The Malays can’t claim Allah, it belongs to the Arabs…

  24. timothycheng says:

    When a non-Malay [Malaysian] who cannot read English well enough to understand the English Bible becomes a Christian, what do you expect him [or her] to do when you do not allow him [or her] to use the words that you in Islam claim belong to you?

    [What if] the only bible he [or she] can read is the BM bible, in order to learns things about the sovereign God who made him/her and change him/her to love people like you? Isn’t this act of not allowing others to use the words very oppressive? You hate the Israel people for oppressing the Palestinians; aren’t you people doing the same thing? Oppressing others unless they masuk Islam?

  25. c says:

    Allah is not a Malay word. It’s Arabic, because the Qur’an is in Arabic. And all the words that have been banned in some states are all Arabic. We just spell it in the Malay language. So, what is the reason for Christians to use Arabic words?

  26. atalost says:

    Just comparing:
    The children just reach home and start to call out “Ayah, I sudah balik”. Their neighbour comes out and asks the children’s father to instruct his children not to call him “ayah”. Confused, the children’s father asks, “Why?”. In reply, the neighbour says that his children call him “ayah” and if other children also said “ayah”, his own children will be confused and will start calling the neighbour “ayah”. I rest my case. ALWAYS AT A LOST.

  27. Anak Malaysia says:

    A B R A H A M
    I B R A H I M
    / \
    ISMAIL ISSAC (ISHAK)
    / / \
    ARAB WORLD JACOB ESAU
    (12 KETURUNAN) / \
    ISRAEL PALESTINE
    (12 KETURUNAN)

    All the [monotheistic] religions:
    1 Jews – Torah or Taurat – Moses (Musa),
    2 Christian – Bible or Injil – Jesus (Isa)
    3 Islam – Quran or Kuran – Mohammad

    They all descended from Abraham/Ibrahim. We (Muslim and
    Christian) are all their followers. By Nature we are all brothers and sisters.

    So why don’t we call (Christian and Muslim) ourselves brothers and sisters.

    Before the coming of the above religions to our country, we all believe that we were also from the same tribe.

    Above all we are from Adam and Hawa (Eve), created by God.

  28. Francis T Rozario says:

    Allah = my constitutional right, respect it, don’t tell me you’ll “tolerate me,” don’t offer me a “compromise” but rather respect my rights as enshrined in the Federal Constitution – the right of freedom of expression and the right of freedom of worship.

  29. Billy says:

    God created humanity and religion was supposed to bring humanity together. It is so sad to see Umno, a human political party, treating God like some kind of “McDonald’s” or “KFC” trademark, [with copyrights only] to the Malay [Malaysians] and nobody else. God must be shaking his head in disbelief.

  30. Marie says:

    In some of my first classes in linguistics, we had to list down some 200 basic words of one language and compare it to another related language. Usually many words appear alike with some spelling/sound difference. When some words are the same, we were told that this is because one of the group had no word for that particular meaning in their language. So that means they borrowed the word, and over time, the word became naturalized, their own.

    I am a Bornean Christian Malaysian, and I have never used the word that everyone is talking about in my prayers. I have seen them in text, in hymns and in Bible readings, because of Malay/ Indonesian translation.

    My question is: Are Bornean peoples’ languages without a word for “God” in their own languages that “Allah” is used? Or is it because Bornean Malaysian people have lost their command of their native languages, or rather they do not use their native tongues for prayer and church-related matters, that they prefer “Allah”? If so, than this is like when I say “God” instead of “Kinoingan”.

    If so, then this is a sad day for Bornean languages as well…

  31. aha! says:

    @C,

    If the words are Arabic,

    1) what are the Malay translations?
    2) what right has Malaysia got to ban them?

  32. chinhuatw says:

    @oik,

    I did not (certainly not intentionally) misrepresent what Mr Asham said.

    In his earlier paragraph, he said: “All the key terms (together with their meanings and significations) that make up the worldview of the Malays are derived from the Quran. As a matter of fact these key terms are shared by all Islamic languages, not just Malay language.”

    His view here is clearly the Malay language carries the Malay world view which is from Islam, hence the Malay language should not be de-Islamised. But the Malay language was and is used by other people in the Nusantara besides the Malay-Muslims. There are Malay/Indonesian-speaking Hindus and Buddhists in Java and Bali for example.

    Hence, as a vehicle of communication and thought, the Malay language therefore carries world views of not only Islam but other faiths and ideologies too. The respectful phrase to address a Sovereign still used widely here, Duli Yang Maha Mulia, is clearly not one of Islam.

    To claim that others (missionary included) cannot borrow any word to mean what is permitted by official Islam is in that sense making Malays a Islam-compatible language. Where and how did I misrepresent Mr Asham?

    @Fuji,

    Did I open up a new can of worms? A new can of worms, you bet, but I did not open it up. It is the Home Ministry. Interestingly, the former Home Minister who started the fire (in a metaphorical sense) who was incidentally the son of a great champion of Malay language (who was in turn of the Arabic heritage). Is that a joke by History?

    @Jeremiah and san,

    Usage of a language certainly does not turn into ownership of a language, not least because language is a “public good” and its usage not exclusive.

    For the logic in my trinity to be complete, you indeed need one more premise that links usage to ownership of language. My simple logical deduction is merely to fresh out what could possibly be the logical link of the exclusive claim of Allah. Showing that possibility does not mean that I agree with it.

    San, I see your point, although non-Malay Malaysians are not by constitutional definition non-Muslims.

    Mr Jeremiah, keeping the standard of debate sometimes begins with careful reading and correct understanding of texts.

  33. ha ha ha ha says:

    I just remembered the time they wanted to make Malay the language of ASEAN. Ha ha ha ha! Then they’ll go around banning words? No wonder it was rejected. Kepala besar.

  34. puaka says:

    @LION,

    Malaysia comes from the word “Malay”…!

  35. Elephant says:

    I have the perfect solution to all this rubbish and claims. Why doesn’t t the Church simply declare that the Herald and all its Bahasa bibles are in Bahasa Indonesia! Then everybody will be happy. There is no ban on Bahasa Indon and the government certainly cannot claim exclusive rights to the language. All the church members can still understand the language. Problem solved.

  36. dominik says:

    The problem is that since the 1970s onwards, the Malaysian government has been stressing on the importance of the Malay language and insist that ALL Malaysian students are to be taught in Bahasa Malaysia, and are encouraged to speak in BM. To say that the Malay language is only spoken by Malay [Malaysians] is not correct. It is spoken by most people in Malaysia, especially among the younger generation.

    I agree that if the government imposed a ban on certain words, then the Malay version of the Bible or of other religions cannot be allowed into Malaysia.

    The Christians, especially the Catholics, do not evangelise to the Malays as we know from the beginning that we are not allowed to. So there is no problem at all. The question is, why so much fear among the Malays (or a certain section of the Malays)?

    From my observation over the last 40 years, the Malay culture is slowly but surely giving way to the adoption of the Arabic culture, especially in the way they dress. Will the Malay culture disappear completely in time to come? That one can only see it on display in the museums?


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