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Malaysia 101: Being Proud Bangsa Malaysia, Unique Bahasa Malaysia

Bangsa Malaysia Unity Bahasa Negaraku Hand

At the end of the day, all are in the boat and proud to call ourselves Bangsa Malaysia but politicians and lopsided national policies make one think that we are in a different country. Image source: Mob’s Crib

Concept of Bangsa Malaysia

Bangsa Malaysia is a term that means “Malaysian nation” in English. It is a policy that was introduced by Mahathir Mohamad, the seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia, to create an inclusive national identity for all inhabitants of Malaysia, regardless of their ethnic, cultural or religious backgrounds.

The policy aimed to promote unity, harmony and integration among the diverse communities in Malaysia, by encouraging them to identify themselves with the country, speak Bahasa Malaysia (the Malay language) and accept the Constitution.

However, the concept of Bangsa Malaysia has been controversial and debated among different political groups and leaders. Some have argued that it is a vague and unrealistic idea that contradicts the Constitution, which grants special rights and privileges to the Malays as the indigenous people of Malaysia.

Others have claimed that it is similar to the “Malaysian Malaysia” slogan that was used by Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime Minister of Singapore, when Singapore was part of Malaysia in the 1960s. This slogan was rejected by the Malaysian government at that time, as it implied equality for all races without regard for the historical and social context of Malaysia.

On the other hand, some have supported the idea of Bangsa Malaysia as a way to foster a sense of belonging and patriotism among all Malaysians, and to overcome racial divisions and discrimination.

They have argued that Bangsa Malaysia does not deny or undermine the special position of the Malays or other communities but rather acknowledges and respects the diversity and richness of Malaysian culture. They have also suggested that Bangsa Malaysia should not be defined by political or legal terms, but by social and moral values that reflect the aspirations and ideals of the Malaysian people.

Common Unity Language

First, go and read this post from Demi Negara titled “Racial Polarisation and Forging of Bangsa Malaysia” – it is thought-provoking and hits us hard

Then read this post from Rocky’s Bru titled “If PAS is not race-based party…

We have shouting about Bangsa Malaysia for some time now and that concept came close before the last general election but we are yet to be a true Malaysian.

Demi Negara rightly pointed out this shortcoming with this statement:-

As a start, we do not even have a proper common LANGUAGE. What is there to share if we can hardly communicate our mutual hopes and aspirations, with the linguistic connection between the racial divide bridged only via gross dilution of syntax and context, and with our true feelings often lost in translation somewhere

That’s right – how many of us can speak the national language rather fluently?

Final Say

If we can’t speak with one voice, how then we are expected to be living united as one people? I have high regard for the national language which itself is a strong fusion of many languages – Sanskrit, Mandarin, English and more.

Can we start the journey towards Bangsa Malaysia by starting speaking in the same language? We have to disregard the racial segregation that the politicians are working so hard to achieve. There is more to Bangsa Malaysia than just staying united against oppressive laws and unjust politicians.

Can we make the change?

Read also

Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia

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3 thoughts on “Malaysia 101: Being Proud Bangsa Malaysia, Unique Bahasa Malaysia”

  1. bro dont’ go there.. people are fighting for the SRJK schools… i myself went to SK but sad to say is not the first choice of many parents nowadays…

  2. Eksk – the way I look at it, it is a different issue. The post is about Malaysians speaking Bahasa Malaysia as the common language. Are we fluent enough to use it, do we use it in our daily life, etc.

    The issue on the SRJK school is more towards the quality of education. Our education system is already in a bad shape and the twisting of the curriculum is not helping much to improve the quality of education. I went to SK schools and things are not as bad one would imagine. The quality of SK as I mentioned has alot to desire for.

  3. Bro, whats the point of speaking it fluently? At the most, can we get a job in government now that we know how to speak Malay fluently? Oh no, wait a minute, I am not a Malay, so I am disqualified anyway.

    Maybe I can consider a career as a dangdut singer? Or maybe get a career as RTM Malay host? Wait a minute, I am not a Malay, so I am disqualified straightaway.

    I am not against learning Malay for the sake of it, in fact I schooled 12 years in Malay. But as soon as we are done with school, the only places we use Malay is the market and government departments.

    Ok lets say, for arguments sake, all of us can converse in Malay rather fluently, do you think racism in this country will fly out of the window? Lets say that instead of English/Tamil/Chinese, everyone will be blogging and voicing out their opinions in Malay, do you think that will solve problems?

    The whole picture is painted as if all communities are living in separate islands and each community DOES NOT understand any language beyond theirs. The fact is, and cold truth is, each and every community in Malaysia understands Malay. So no problem of communicating opinions. The problem is refusal to listen by the government, and NEP.

    To promote unity, you need each and every race to respect others. In order to give and take this respect, you don’t need to know Malay, just a warm heart and a mind clear of propaganda will do. But sadly, that’s not case right now.

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