(Bukit Mertajam, Friday):
should be proud of our linguistic diversity which is a great national resource
that should be leveraged to our advantage in the era of globalization to play an
important social and economic role on the world stage.
this reason, Malaysia whether government or the civil society should celebrate the International Mother Language Day on
February 21 every year in a big way, starting next year, as the country is the
home of several mother tongues of its citizens.
unfortunate that the International Mother Language Day had been ignored by the
Malaysian government in the past three years
since its proclamation by UNESCO’s General Conference in November 1999, with
the first celebration held on February 21, 2000, although Malaysia was one of
the 28 countries which seconded the proposal submitted by Bangladesh.
Director-General Koichiro Matsuura said at the first International Mother
Language Day Celebration on February 21, 2000 that “by
deciding to celebrate mother tongues, UNESCO’s Member states wished to
recall that languages are not only an essential part of humanity’s cultural
heritage, but the irreducible expression of human creativity and of its great
the fact that close to 6,000 languages are estimated to be spoken in today’s
world, Matsuura said: “They testify to humanity’s astounding ability to
create tools of communication, to its perception and reflection. They are the mirror of the souls of the societies in which
they are born and they reflect the history of their contacts. In this sense, it
could be said that all languages are cross-bred.
the promotion of linguistic diversity and the development of multilingual
education from an early age helps preserve cultural diversity and the conditions
for international understanding, tolerance and mutual respect.”
Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad should explain to Parliament why the
government has lost its initial enthusiasm and support for the International
Mother Language Day as it had failed to celebrate the significant occasion in
the past three years although it was one of the 29 countries which brought the
International Mother Language Day into existence.
that as it may, Malaysia should henceforth celebrate the International Mother
Language Day every February 21 in a big way, and there cannot be a better start
than in the display of Chinese and Tamil notices at the Kuala Lumpur
International Airport at Sepang to inform the world of the country’s
Tourism Minister, Datuk Abdul Kadir had said that Chinese notices would be put
up at the KLIA once there are one million tourists from China.
This is a totally wrong approach, as Malaysia should put up Chinese and
Tamil notices at KLIA not just because of the lure of money but because Malaysia
is proud our linguistic and cultural diversity – regarded and accepted by the
government and nation as our great national resource rather than as a
“headache” to nation-building.