Non-Malays unpatriotic for neglecting BM, says ex-editor
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — A former newspaper editor has reignited the debate on language proficiency among Malaysians when he questioned today the patriotism of non-Malays, especially Chinese, who do not embrace the Malay language.
Datuk Ahmad Rejal Arbee wrote in Umno-controlled Berita Harian today that after 53 years of independence, non-Malays should be proud of the national language if they were loyal citizens.
“They get so sensitive when their patriotism is doubted but make no effort to use and understand Malay,” the former Berita Harian group editor said.
“What loyalty is there if they do not try to learn and use their own national language?” he wrote, adding that what was learnt in Chinese vernacular schools was only to pass exams.
Ahmad Rejal said that there were non-Malays that did not care about and deliberately “belittled Malay” despite calling Malaysia their country.
Recently, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed had said that non-Malays should cut ties with their countries of origin if they did not want to be considered immigrants in this country.
He had said that Malaysia was Tanah Melayu (Malay land) and all Malaysians should accept the culture and language of the dominant community.
Newspaper circulation, especially for the English and Bahasa morning newspapers, have fallen in recent years although Chinese dailies are enjoying growing circulation. However, Bahasa tabloids that focus on entertainment and gossip are selling three times more than other newspapers.
Ahmad Rejal, who was once editor-in-chief of national news agency Bernama, wrote today that despite non-Malays being able to learn and use their own mother tongues, they simply did not make any effort to uphold the use of Malay.
“Can you blame Malays for assuming that Chinese do not want to uphold Malay as the national language?
“When can we hope for Chinese and Indians to speak in the national language in their daily speech?” he added, claiming that in Indonesia, it was the norm for Chinese to speak in Indonesian.
Now a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Fellow, Ahmad Rejal called on the Education Ministry to have must-pass oral exams for students taking Malay.