Bahasa Indonesia should be made the Asean official language, not Bahasa Melayu, says Indonesian Minister

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Jakarta: Indonesian education, culture, research and technology minister Nadiem Makarim has rejected the Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’ s proposal which suggested Malaysia and Indonesia should work togather to make ‘Bahasa Melayu’ the official Asean language.

The Indonesian Minister said “Bahasa Indonesia” (BI) should be made the Asean official language, instead, as it is spoken by 279 million people in Indonesia and also used in 47 countries.

“Besides this, BI is taught as a subject in many universities across Europe, the US, Australia and also prominent colleges in Asia.

“With these qualities, BI has been acknowledged globally which puts the language ahead of others if Asean were to use a common language at its meetings,” he told the Indonesian media yesterday.

“As the minister responsible, I object to the proposal. Such a suggestion needs to be discussed and debated at a regional level before any decision is made.

“Looking at it historically and linguistically, BI is a better choice. I urge the entire community to work hand in hand with the government to continue to empower and defend the Indonesian national language,” he added, referring to Ismail proposal.

On his short trip to Indonesia recently, the Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail has proposed that Malaysia and Indonesia work together to elevate Malay language (Bahasa Melayu) and make it the Asean and international language,
citing that it is spoken by 300 million people from Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Timor-Leste.


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