Bahasa Melayu should rightly be called Bahasa Malaysia: Zam


The Bahasa Melayu subject in schools should rightly be called Bahasa Malaysia for better acceptance of multi-racial Malaysians, Deputy Minister of Information Datuk Zainudin Maidin was quoted in Utusan Malaysian Online on 15 February 2003.

He said this request was made by Malaysia's Father of Independence, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, during his time but it had been forgotten.

[Read the history HERE]

"Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad also mentioned it Thursday (13 February 2003) and reminded us of our origins.

"There's nothing to lose by calling it Bahasa Malaysia and in fact, the language will be better accepted by the other races in the country," he told reporters after a forum on the leadership and struggles of the Tunku in conjunction with his 100th anniversary.

The forum, jointly organised by the Tunku Abdul Rahman Foundation and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), was opened by Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad.

Zainudin said the understanding by some Malays that Bahasa Malaysia was only for the Malays and should not be used for religious functions apart from Islam must be rejected.

He said such an attitude was inappropriate, illogical and irrational and prevented Bahasa Malaysia from being used universally. - 15 Februari 2003


Malaysians were once not allowed to use the term "Bahasa Malaysia" >>> Read about it HERE


The term "Melayu" is more universal than the term "Malaysia".  By using Bahasa Melayu, it is to acknowledge it as a lingua franca in the Malay-Polynesia region of South East Asia.  Bahasa Melayu are also spoken in among minority group of South Africans, Sri Lankan, Cambodian, Khmer, Thai, the Philippines, etc.. Thus, to limit it to a Bahasa Malaysia is seeing it in a narrow perspective.  Zai Zanudin


Bahasa Malaysia or Bahasa Melayu,

Does it really matter to you,

Maybe to many or a few,

Or we say, "That's right...Phew!"

We only take PM's cue,

When we feel its due,

Is it a matter of language branding

To make a good ending

Beware the Tower of Bable or Babble.

- elaine yeoh @ colourblindness


Kavya, Mac 2003



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