Monday, 2 May 2011

Consider non-Malay input on DBP dictionary, says group

KUALA LUMPUR: An Indian literary group has urged the Education Ministry to consider the views of non-Malays on the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) Bahasa Malaysia dictionary.

Kayvan Literature Group (Kayvan) president Uthaya Sankar SB said non-Malays also have the right to give their comments and criticisms on the dictionary because Bahasa Malaysia belongs to every Malaysian.

“It is wrong to deny the rights of non-Malays by saying that the DBP dictionary belongs to Malays and should not be questioned by other races,” he said in a statement here.

He was commenting on a report in a Tamil daily on March 31 that the dictionary contained several words that were offensive to the Indian community.

The paper also said that the ministry had replied that the words should be seen from the Malay perspective and not from that of other races.

The ministry reportedly said all races in Malaysia must accept the fact that the Bahasa Malaysia dictionary reflected Malay language, customs and culture.

“There are words used daily that are regarded as obscene by other races but not the Malays.

“There are also words that are considered precious to Malays but seen as insulting by other races,” the paper quoted the ministry’s corporate communications unit as saying.

Uthaya said the ministry’s statement contrasted with a protest in December 1956 against the Oxford Junior Encyclopedia for touching on the sensitivities of Malays.

(A. Letchumanan, The Star, 29 April 2011)