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Malay language plays vital role in national development, says minister

Language and literature are important elements of culture and civilisations and should not be overlooked in the country’s current development, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Nazmi bin Haji Mohamad said during the Malay Language Month Celebration 2023 at The Mall, Gadong yesterday.

The formulation of the Brunei Constitution 1959 and the establishment of the Language and Literature Bureau in 1961 were aimed to raise the Malay language as the official language of the country, he said.

The minister said, ”The momentum from the constitution has shown tangible and encouraging results. Malay language has played a role as the basis of the formation of the identity and image of the citizens and residents of the country. The use of the Malay language has frequently been highlighted by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam stressing not to be ignored.”

The minister said the circular, “has stated about the use of the Malay language in official government affairs while empowering Jawi writing which has become a must on signages, strengthening the Malay language itself.”

“It has also shown how the Sultanate values and preserves the country’s rich civilisation. The Sultanate’s philosophy, Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) and Zikir nation possessing comprehensive and inclusive Malay value add a form of stature to the Malay language,” he added.

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) has taken steps to revamp the website by using two languages, Malay language as the main language of medium and English language to facilitate visitors who are non-Malay speakers.

“This is also in line with MCYS efforts to give impact of ‘kemelayuan’ and the ministry to cultivate Malay language to the highest level.”

The minister hoped that MCYS’ strategic partners will continue with their support. “It is hoped that we will continue to preserve the knowledge of the language of our civilisation to produce Bruneians who understand our culture and become quality citizens,“ he added.

The minister stressed on the need to be aware that “our mother tongue is our identity as a Bruneian and the language we use shows our patriotic spirit as citizens and residents of Brunei Darussalam”. – James Kon

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Nazmi bin Haji Mohamad launches the Malay Language Month Celebration. PHOTO: JAMES KON