communicate in Bahasa Malaysia not as some sort of patriotic impulse
but rather because this is the language that cuts through class and
non-Malays use the language among themselves more often than they use
English, especially when interacting with people from different
backgrounds and educational levels where mother tongues and English are
just not utilitarian.
Indeed, it is the default language among
non-Malays for mundane everyday activities and this myth that English is
used by the non-Malays as some sort of lingua franca is complete horse
And let us not forget that when it comes to interactions with the bureaucracy, non-Malays of course have to use Bahasa Malaysia.
is actually strange because the upper echelons of civil service are
dominated by people who determinedly expose their offspring to
English-medium educational establishments and live lives far removed
from the hoi polloi who they defend race, religion, and language for.
like the Malays with their regional patois, this pidgin Malay is not a
perfect articulation of the language but, so what?
speakers do not have a perfect mastery of the language although we will
often get racial and religious supremacists who mock those who
supposedly have a poor command of the language.
influential preacher Zakir Naik speaks in English and we have crowds
hanging on to his every word. When he is asked questions, it is asked in
English or through a translator, so this should tell us something about
how these language supremacists operate.
Real reason for enforcing BM
and bigots do not really want to evoke love and patriotism for the
country. What they want is to evoke obedience and subservience to their
ideology. What they want is for the “pak turuts” (yes men) to bend the
knee while serving the economic interests of the political elites.
reported in the press, “DBP also proposed that the National Language
Act be amended in line with the amendments to the DBP Act so that it can
carry out its duties as a language enforcer more effectively.”
this merely means is the state has another set of enforcers, in this
case, language enforcers, to enforce hegemony on anyone they think is
disrespecting the language and what this does is create another level of
laws that would restrict freedom of speech and expression.
these enforcers will do is define the context when the use of BM is
disrespectful and you can bet your last ringgit that disrespect means
the use of BM while dissenting against unjust and unfair policies.
you may say this is an overaction, but how else could fascists make the
case that the use of the language is disrespectful, except when the
language is used to mock fascist policies?
Look, this weaponising of our language is merely an extension of the agendas of extremists who make up the political mainstream.
Remember when that PAS operative said all top positions in government should only be for Malays
in the 2019 Malay Dignity Congress? At the same event, Universiti
Pendidikan Sultan Idris (Upsi) graduate Nurul Fatin Aqilah Rahim said
“Vernacular schools must be abolished in stages because
education is key to unity. There should be a single medium language and
curriculum in all schools.”
You know how the racists and the crypto-racists (hidden racists) always go on about vernacular schools?
advocate that all children regardless of race and religion should be
mixed together but they conveniently forget national schools are
cesspools of racial and religious indoctrination.
The main reason
why parents send their children to vernacular schools is because of the
oppressive shadow of race and religion in public schools.
take out race and religion in public schools you can bet your last
ringgit that vernacular schools will slowly disappear from the education
landscape and the pedagogy from those schools will be absorbed into
To answer the question in the title, they
probably won’t find anyone in this country who does not use some form of
Bahasa Malaysia, but what they will find are people who will resist
their fascist agenda in any language.