| Zee Yusri |
IN AN effort to empower Malay language as the nation’s official language and as a ‘language of knowledge’, the Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) yesterday morning held the finals of the ‘Pertandingan Pidato Bahasa Melayu’ (Malay Language Oratory Competition).
The competition was held at Balai Sarmayuda at DBP and had Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, as the guest of honour.
Among the seven finalists, Tajjul Hakim bin Haji Masri @ Muhd Akmal Hakim from Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar Secondary School, emerged as the champion winning B$1,000.
Second place went to Siti Fatimah @ Hani Marhani binti Zulsah from Pengiran Anak Puteri Hajah Masna Secondary School, who won B$700.
Siti Amal Nazirah binti Awang Ahmad from Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Science College came third and took home B$500.
The other four finalists received a consolation prize of B$150 each and all seven finalists received certificates and plaques.
The prizes were presented by the guest of honour.
The objectives of the competition were to build the character, confidence and self-assessment of the orator; increase their knowledge and experience; strengthen their communication skills and the use of the standard Malay language; instill the love for the Malay language and generate creative competitiveness.
Before the prize presentation ceremony, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports delivered a speech in which he highlighted the key points in strengthening the Malay language and the roles of educators in this endeavour.
“This oratory competition acts as one way to improve the functionality of the Malay language. Especially when such competitions can produce speeches that require good language use both in structural or figurative style and rich vocabulary,” Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair said.
“There are challenges that could lead to the mutilation of the Malay language, like in short message services (SMS), where the formation of a sentence does not follow the rules and patterns of the Malay language in terms of spelling, vocabulary and so on,” he added.
He further pointed that if these issues are not taken seriously, children will become accustomed to using such spelling and language, which may affect their use of the language in their school work or writing.
“This problem can also be the cause of their failure to master the use of the Malay language and to pass the subject with flying colours.
“Educators play a major role in promoting the importance of the Malay language and reinforce its status through instilling confidence in the students towards the Malay language.
“I want to emphasise that the role of strengthening, upgrading and developing the Malay language is not only shouldered by the DBP and the Ministry of Education alone, but by all communities in Brunei.
“The importance of Malay as the country’s official language is indisputable, therefore all parties need to learn and master the use of the Malay language system properly, in order to maintain its quality,” the minister concluded.