However, Malay is also popular in the region too, with folks from Malaysia and Indonesia speaking it too.
On Wednesday (23 Mar), Malaysia Prime Minister (PM) Ismail Sabri said he will be discussing with regional leaders the possibility of making Malay the “second language” of ASEAN.
Justifying the proposal, Mr Ismail Sabri pointed out that many countries in the ASEAN bloc are already known to converse in Malay.
According to Bernama, PM Ismail Sabri announced plans to propose Malay as the 2nd language in ASEAN during a question-and-answer session in the Dewan Negara.
The Malaysia PM was responding to questions about promoting the language internationally.
Stating the reasons for the proposal, Mr Ismail Sabri pointed out that apart from Malaysia, Malay is currently spoken in several regional countries like Indonesia and Singapore.
As such, Mr Ismail Sabri shared that there shouldn’t be any reason why Bahasa Melayu cannot be made one of the official languages of ASEAN.
He also pointed out that currently, only four out of 10 ASEAN countries use English during official events. The other six speak in their own official language and require translations.
Mr Ismail Sabri shared that he himself would often bring notes and references written in Malay to ASEAN meetings. He further elaborated:
We do not need to feel ashamed or awkward to use Bahasa Melayu at the international level.
According to CNA, the announcement follows an earlier statement by the Malaysia PM to the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) General Assembly on 19 Mar.
In the statement, Mr Ismail Sabri said that foreign students enrolling in Malaysian universities must learn to converse in Malay.
Mr Yaakob told party delegates at the General Assembly,
The time has come for us to be proud of the Malay language.
Misuse of the language will also be penalized under new amendments for the ‘Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka’ Act, which coordinates the use of Malay within Malaysia.
Malay is Singapore’s national language and is widely acknowledged as an important touchstone of cultural heritage within our country.
Hopefully, the push for Malay as an official language within the ASEAN bloc will help Singapore, as well as other regional countries, stay true to our cultural roots.
Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at email@example.com.
Featured image adapted from PM Ismail Yaakob on Facebook.
It didn't receive the full funding that was committed as it didn't meet all its…
A tender for its operator was called on 28 Feb.
The second week of March may see 35°C temperatures when there is less cloud coverage.
Donations can also be made online.
SPCA had observed "concerning" signs of compromised welfare.
One of the Irish boys used a derogatory slang for Asians against the woman at…