G's story

Bahasa Melayu OR Bahasa Malaysia?
October 3, 2010, 11:49 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Long time ago, I was wondering which is correct, Bahasa Melayu(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malay_language) or Bahasa Malaysia (no such links in Wikipedia).
Then like god sent, I watched an show on Bernama, where a senior government official, a very well and convincing punjabi guy providing his comments on why it will always be Bahasa Melayu and NOT Bahasa Malaysia. And as you can see above, even in Wikipedia, there was NO such links for Bahasa Malaysia. Only a search for Bahasa Melayu returned a precise result (fair enough).

Today, as I am reading the TheStar (http://thestar.com.my/ – a Malaysian mainstream English medium newspaper – for you non-Malaysians out there), I came across the term Bahasa Malaysia again! And this is a very language related article mind you!

The article in question is “The Encyclopaedia salesman” – a great article on Jimmy Wales, the guy who gave us Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/).

Thestar Article link – TheStar , written by Elizabeth Tai (starmag@thestar.com.my) – StarMag

Hopefully, Elizabeth (the author of the article reads this blog and provides some answers).
Or anyone else can?


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Personally I’d say Bahasa Melayu is the correct term. Bahasa Malaysia would be a misnomer because it will be mixed with all the local dialects and twangs of the various ethnics in Malaysia. Just look at Indonesia. They refused to associate their language with Bahasa Melayu and insisted on being called Bahasa Indonesia. What happens now? It’s all a mixed up of terms and shortforms that its difficult for a foreigner (even Malaysians) to comprehend.

Just my two cents.

Comment by Hadramie

Hi Hadramie,

Thank you for the comments.
I do agree with you.
My question is that, if theStar is a mainstream publication, then dont you think that they should be using the correct term?

Check out the article here:
The Star Article

Look at the middle of the article, and look for this sentence “from Arabic to Zulu, and, yes, Bahasa Malaysia, too.”

A more confusing situation is when the Prime Minister’s department starts using the term “Bahasa Malaysia” too. Which I just found out when googling my way through the net.

PMO’s Bahasa Malaysia debate link


Why use a different term here?
Where can we the Malaysians refer to?
Dewan Bahasa Pustaka?

Refer to this as well – again from our Prime Minister’s office – Press statement from PMO

This article talks about our DPM who announces press statement regarding SPM/UEC.

To confuse matters further, our very own Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia – defines the national language subject as “Bahasa Malaysia” – Refer here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sijil_Pelajaran_Malaysia

Any comments? Anyone?

Comment by gvanan

Now I know why the change back to Bahasa Malaysia took place (because it was earlier changed by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that’s why):

Malaysia’s national language is Bahasa Malaysia, not Bahasa Melayu
_Posted by omong on June 4, 2007_ (http://omong.wordpress.com/2007/06/04/malaysias-national-language-is-bahasa-malaysia-not-bahasa-melayu/)

“The Malay language belongs to Malaysians of all races and not just the Malays. The term Bahasa Malaysia would instil a sense of belonging,” Zainuddin told The Star yesterday.

He said the term Bahasa Malaysia was introduced by Tunku Abdul Rahman after the country’s independence to inculcate a Malaysian identity.

“It was generally accepted and no one asked for a change until (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim became the education minister (in 1986)”.

“He dropped the term Bahasa Malaysia for Bahasa Melayu and it has remained that way. But now, we feel we should go back to the original term,” he said.

Source: The Star


Comment by Hadramie

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