Chakap-lah Bahasa Kebangsaan sahaja!

Speech by Editor of Rocket, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, and DAP Organising Secretary, at the second anniversary celebrations of the Rocket journal by the Penang DAP Branch at Dawood Restaurant on Monday, August 19 at 5 p.m

As I was crossing the Perak state border into Penang by car this afternoon, I saw a large hoarding board put up by the Penang State Government welcoming visitors. The hoarding board, in huge letters, carried the words “Chakap-lah Bahasa Kebangsaan sahaja!”

What struck me was the word “sahaja.” The declaration that people should speak in the National Language only clearly illustrate the “one nation, one language” policy of the Alliance Government.

The Alliance is interpreting Malay as the sole official language to mean Malay as the sole language.

This policy has already been implemented in Television Malaysia.

Recently, the government dubbed the popular television series, the Samurai, from English to Malay.

The Minister of Information, Inche Senu bin Abdul Rahman, subsequently announced that the experiment was a great success, and that other popular series were being dubbed as well. The next in line were “The Men from UNCLE”, “The Champions” and “The Thriller”.

There is not even a single language sub-title to help viewers who are not proficient in the Malay language.

Television authorities seem to have forgotten that every television owner, whether he is proficient in Malay or not, has to pay $24 television licence every year.

It is therefore wrong and unfair to penalise those not proficient in Malay by not having sub-titles in other languages in television programmes dubbed in Malay.

Influential circles have declared that all television films and programmes would, in the process of time, be dubbed in Malay – in accordance with the government policy to make Malay as the sole official language.

A basic question of principle is involved here.

Firstly, this is an infringement of Clause 152 of the Malaysian Constitution which guaranteed the sustenance and free use of all language in Malaysia. How is this guarantee upheld if the policy is to ‘chakap’ or ‘guna’ Bahasa Kebangsaan sahaja.

If the Alliance government does not adopt a liberal and broad-minded approach to the language problem, a lot of division and disunity will be created among the people of this country.

As far as television programmes are concerned. Television Malaysia must firstly, provide multi-lingual sub-titling for all television programmes to allow all communities to enjoy the programmes, and secondly, avoid dubbing films which would involve the decline and disuse of other languages.

Audited on 2021-04-08