KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) is free to act in its capacity as guardian of the national language as long as it is within the law.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz said the action by DBP to potentially fine anyone who misuses Bahasa Malaysia, especially in online advertisements, up to RM1,000, indicates that it is a last resort.
“This means the public no longer respects the national language as they ought to. So long as the fine is within their legal purview no one can gainsay them otherwise.
“It is appropriate for them to do so, as the sovereignty of Bahasa Malaysia should be upheld since it mirrors the nation’s soul. It should not be sidelined, nor its position disrespected,” he said at Parliament yesterday.
Nazri was responding to the proposed amendments to the National Language Act 1963 and Education Act 1996, which are set to be discussed later in the ongoing Parliament session. The amendments if passed will empower DBP to fine incorrect Bahasa Malaysia usage.
Putrajaya has agreed “in principle” to the measures, with the suggestion to be discussed by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the special cabinet committee he chairs.
Once an agreement has been reached, DBP will be able to enforce the measure once the government has tabled the amendments.