[lg policy] Malaysia: Najib: Vernacular languages encouraged and will be supported

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Sat Jan 31 15:38:15 UTC 2015

*Najib: Vernacular languages encouraged and will be supported*

KUALA LUMPUR: The use of vernacular languages, especially in the education
system, is encouraged in line with the national intention to promote
multicultural and multilingual policies, said the Prime Minister.

To the Indian community, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said: “All necessary
assistance will be provided by the Government to the community to ensure
their language and culture will flourish.”

He added that Malaysian students could learn Tamil from the pre-school
level right up to tertiary level. Currently, there are 523 Tamil primary
schools in the Malaysian education system.

“Tamil language and literature are also taught in secondary schools, and
students can pursue undergraduate and post-graduate studies in Tamil
language and literature at public universities,” he said when launching the
9th International Conference on Tamil Studies at Universiti Malaya here

The conference brings together 1,500 scholars in Tamil studies from South
Asia, North America, Europe and Australasia.

On the subject of education, Najib said next year would mark 200 years
since the establishment of Tamil vernacular schools in Malaysia, a
milestone for the Indian community.

“In April this year, a new Tamil primary school in Lunas will be­­­­­­­gin
operations. “The Government has also approved the setting up of six new
Tamil primary schools,” he said.

Najib also acknowledged the contributions of the Indian community to the
nation’s progress, and said the community had also progressed in line with
Malaysia’s growth.

“For example, Malaysian Indians make up 11.1% of professionals in the
country. Many in the legal and medical professions are from the Indian

“There are also many towering figures from the community who have made
significant contributions and achievements in education, business and
sports,” he said.

Najib, who also chairs the Cabinet committee on the Indian community, said
the Government had started many initiatives for the community’s benefit.

“Malaysian Indians are the sons and daughters of this soil and we will
ensure they continue to progress and safeguard their language and culture,”
he said.

Speaking to reporters after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting
later, Najib said all the factions in MIC have agreed to respect the
moratorium proposed by him to allow him and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin
Yassin to think of the best way to resolve the party’s crisis.

Najib said MIC is an important component of Barisan Nasional.

“We need an MIC which is strong and which can help us in all aspects,” he

However he declined to comments on whether removing MIC president Datuk
Seri G. Palanivel was among the option being considered.

“We have to look first at what is the best formula.” he said.



 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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