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Use of Bahasa Melayu not compulsory in private institutions, says Deputy Higher Education Minister

Publish date: Wed, 22 Mar 2023, 03:22 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The usage of Bahasa Melayu in private higher learning institutions is not compulsory, says Datuk Yusof Apdal.

The Deputy Higher Education Minister said this was because the operations of private institutions were not publicly funded, hence no emphasis was given to them to use the national language.

“Private higher education institutions are using their own funds to operate.

“With that, they are given the leeway in the usage of language,” he said in responding to Datuk Seri Jalaluddin Alias (BN-Jelebu) in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (March 22).

Jalaluddin asked if the private institutions' practice of not using Bahasa Melayu as the main operating language was against the National Language Act 1963/67 (Act 32).

“There are private institutions and government-linked companies (GLCs) that do not use the national language as the main language (of operations). Is this against the law (Act 32)?” he said.

Yusof said the matter of language at GLCs is beyond the purview of the Higher Education Ministry.

He also said the Higher Education Ministry has been promoting the use of the national language in public higher learning institutions through several action plans.

“The latest Action Plan on Empowering Bahasa Melayu as the Language of Knowledge (2023-2030) has been developed to continue the effort.

“Under the action plan, the objectives include inculcating Bahasa Melayu as the language of knowledge; to produce graduates that are skilled in Bahasa Melayu; to realise the language as a medium of national development; to strengthen the role of the language as a source of reference on par with foreign languages,” he told Zulkifli Ismail (PN-Jasin) who enquired the extent of the enforcement of Act 32 in higher learning institutions.

The ministry, said Yusof, has also been recognising academics in the Malay language field since 2012 in the empowerment of the language.

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