KUALA TERENGGANU, 2 Dec 2008: The status of Bahasa Malaysia (BM) must be changed to the language of acquiring knowledge so that it could be developed to be on par with the English language, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.
He said that in line with the English language which was used as the language of knowledge whether in the fields of science, mathematics or other disciplines, BM must also be in the same arena to ensure that it was not only a language for casual communication.
“It is also possible for us to champion the Bahasa Malaysia and Indonesian language to the international arena because the number of people who speak the language is great, in fact far greater than those who speak Spanish, German, French or Russian.
“In order for it to become an official language that is also recognised by the United Nations, several conditions must be fulfilled including the capability of the language to become a language of knowledge including its contributions in the various aspects of life,” he said.
He said this when opening the International Seminar on Bahasa Malaysia in Communications in the Era of Globalisation organised by Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) together with Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and the Malaysian Association of Bahasa Melayu Educators, here today.
The seminar was attended by participants from Indonesia, Brunei, Russia, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.
Rais said Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Southern Thailand and Malaysia could by themselves turn BM into an Asean language that was clear and capable of progressing.
He said if BM was not commercalised, then the commercial value of the language would not grow.
“While the English language and Mandarin have commercial value, BM does not because it is only considered as a national language,” he added. — Bernama