NOW RAIS YATIM TOO WANTS MALAY TO BE THE ‘LINGUA FRANCA’ – ADVISES ‘DIPLOMACY’ WITH ‘ALLY’ INDONESIA – BUT WASN’T HE ONCE ACCUSED OF A SCANDAL WITH HIS MAID? HOW DIPLOMATIC IS THAT!

Asean diplomacy vital to make Malay lingua franca, says Rais

KUALA LUMPUR: Understanding between Malaysia and Indonesia is vital to enable Malay to be made an official language of Asean, Dewan Negara president Rais Yatim said.

He said Wisma Putra played an important role to link the country’s objectives with those of its neighbours.

Rais suggested that Article 34 of the Asean Charter, which states the use of English as the Asean working language, be amended to include Malay.

“We must do this through Wisma Putra and Asean diplomacy to amend it, but if it’s only Malay, maybe Indonesia will not agree and that’s why we need to negotiate.

“What’s important at this point is to include the idea of a ‘Malay-Indonesian’ language into the charter,” he said.

He suggested several short-term and long-term initiatives to enhance the use of Malay, including through local arts and culture, Malay world studies, and increasing the number of Malay language teachers in universities abroad.

The roundtable session, which was organised by the Institute of Malay World and Civilisation, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), with the assistance of the Prime Minister’s Department and Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, and held in conjunction with the Malay Language Internationalisation Symposium ends today.

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