Preserving and empowering the Malay language requires dedication, and the command of standard Malay must be mastered as much as possible as a language of knowledge that is intellectually valuable and able to be highlighted globally.
This was said by Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) Acting Director Suip bin Haji Abdul Wahab in his welcoming remarks during the 10th installment of the Language Month Celebration 2022 at DBP’s Balai Sarmayuda yesterday.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Awang Haji Nazmi bin Haji Mohamad was the guest of honour. Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports permanent secretaries, deputy permanent secretaries, department heads, senior officers, former DBP directors, recipients of the Southeast Asia Writer Award, DBP strategic partners, language, literature and culture activists, as well as higher education lecturers and students also participated.
The celebration, themed ‘Empowering the Malay Language’, aimed to elevate the Malay language as the official language of the country and the identity of the nation; foster a sense of shared ownership of the Malay language; socialising the Malay language through public participation; as well as echoing and enlivening the Language Month Celebration nationwide.
The event began with the recitation of Selawat Tafrijiyyah led by Mohammad Hardi bin Mahdeli, followed by the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah and Doa Selamat.
A Language Pledge was also read, presented by DBP officers and staff led by the recipient of the Language Ambassador Award 2015 Irwan Rino bin Nordin.
The DBP acting director said the annual event, organised by DBP since 2012, was part of the department’s efforts to continue intensifying the implementation of activities that can inspire the community to prioritise the use of Malay as the country’s official language.
“As an institution responsible for upholding the Malay language in the country, this department will continue to fight to strengthen the language,” he said, adding that DBP also optimises the use of digital platforms in ensuring the socialisation of the Malay language.
The acting director also shared activities conducted by DBP to encourage the use of the Malay language, including Malay language empowerment and upliftment programmes that raise responsibilities as human capital such as monitoring Malay Language in Brunei’s restaurants (Lantera Bahasa), monitoring signboards, auditing Malay language of government websites, providing diverse library activities, Malay Roman and Jawi Spelling System courses for government departments and private sector, translation services, monitoring and formulating current terms, Brunei Malay Arts and Culture Festival, contests and competitions that shape individual knowledge and personality development, and awarding of figures according to certain criteria.
“All programmes and activities planned and implemented take into account the form of filling that is useful to the target audience to increase professionalism and knowledge in line with the progress of today’s world,” said the Acting Director.
“The next generation plays a big role and should have the spirit, soul and high commitment to ensure sustainability and sovereignty of the Malay Language,” he added.
The event also saw the launching of four new books – Dinamika Bahasa Melayu Jilid I, Istilah Kekerabatan Dialek Melayu Kedayan, Riak Bahasa Bil 29 and Buku Mini Bahasa Melayu Brunei Edisi ke-9 – by the minister and a poetry recital by Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali student Nur Faizah binti Mohamad Khairol Azmi titled Siapa Aku?, an excerpt from Mataim Bakar.
A talk on ‘Empowering the Malay Language: An External Struggle’ was delivered by Cultural Elite Dr Haji Hashim bin Haji Abdul Hamid, a recipient of the SEA Writer Award in 2003, the Master of Arts Award in 2008, Meritorious Youth Leader Award in 2011, and ASTERAWANI Activist Figure Award 2012.
The guest of honour also presented prizes to winners of the Novelette Writing Competition to first place winner Pudarno bin Binchin with Puteri Kukachin, second-place winner Liyana binti Haji Julay with Hadiyatul Haramain and third-place winner Awangku Md Nur Safiuddin bin Pengiran Haji Harun with Su.Ria.
Meanwhile, prizes were also presented to winners of the Seven Tribes Folklore Writing Contest. First-place was winner Hajah Armah binti Haji Bair with Si Belalong dengan Naga, second-place winner Norhairunissa Radhiah binti Haji Bini with Asal Mulanya Kuala Belalong Ambuk Tunggal while Awangku Md Nur Safiuddin bin Pengiran Haji Harun was in third place with Pangku Basman.
In the Picture Book Writing Competition, Ziqri dan Si Tenggiling by Muhamad Norhadi bin Ibrahim was placed first, while Nasihat Ibu kepada Jimin by Awangku Md Nur Safiuddin bin Pengiran Haji Harun was second, and Kisah , E, I, O, U by Muhamad Najmuddin bin Mohammad in third.