‘Allah’ – the Malay word that isn’t

‘Allah’ – the Malay word that isn’t
By Zan Azlee

Malaysia is a multicultural, multiracial and multireligious country, according to the government of Malaysia. And, Malaysia is also supposed to be harmonious, peaceful and tolerant, according to the government of Malaysia.

There are a lot of initiatives and efforts done to ensure that Malaysia continues to be a multicultural, multiracial, multireligious and harmonious country. And having a common national language is just such contributor to encouraging and promoting harmony and a self of belonging.

In Malaysia, the obvious language that is used to pull people together is Bahasa Malaysia. It is taught in schools and is also the official government medium of communication. Basically, almost every single Malaysian can speak the Malay language in one form or another and this is the common denominator for us all.

I like that we have something that is inclusive and makes all Malaysians similar. By having a common language, we all have something to call our own. A language that has been spoken since the 7th century (most likely even before that) and was the business language of the Southeas Asian region has deep history.

Anyone from around the world had to master the Malay language if they wanted to be able to trade and do business successfully. And it was a welcome to have Arab merchants, Chinese diplomats, European explorers and African traders learning the language when they came to our land.

The 17th century Dutch scholar, Francois Valentijn, even wrote that the Malay language was the lingua franca of the eastern region, much like French and Latin is in Europe. He added that it was a language that was even spoken and understood in the lands as far as Persia to the west and the Philippines to the east.

People around the world actually embraced the language. How cool is that? So it should be no problem for Bahasa Malaysia to be embraced within Malaysia itself. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

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