Approximately 200 people from various ethnic background attended the International Mother Language Day 2012 celebration on 21 Feb 2012, 630pm-930pm at Dewan Kuliah Angsana, Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, Universiti Malaya. The people had adopted resolutions as follows.
This program was jointly organized by Tamil foundation, LLG Cultural Development Centre, KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall and Faculty of Languages and Linguistics Universiti Malaya. It was supported by Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (Plan of Action Malaysia Coalition) which comprised of 21 NGOs from various background aimed at formulating ideas and ways to tackle social issues beyond racial lines.
Resolutions on International Mother Language Day 2012
21 February 2012, Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, Universiti Malaya
Aware of the fact that at least 50% of the world’s more than six thousand languages are losing speakers and about 90% of the languages may be replaced by dominant languages by the end of the 21st century.
Recalling the principles proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whereby everyone has the right to participate in their cultural life free of discrimination.
Referring to the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity that urges governments to formulate policies and strategies for the preservation and enhancement of the cultural and natural heritage.
Committed to the concept of ‘Mother tongue-based Multilingual Education’ promoted by UNESCO that supports mother tongue instruction as a means of improving educational quality.
We endorse the following resolutions urging the Malaysian government:
1. To formulate policies that recognize, promote, protect and realize multiculturalism and multilingualism as inherent strengths of all communities in Malaysia and dismantle policies that are threat to cultures or languages of Malaysians.
2. To ensure all state linguistic and cultural institutions protect, promote and provide access to the languages and cultures of all ethnic groups, for instance Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Institut Terjemahan dan Buku Malaysia (ITBM) and the others.
3. To ensure all high quality movies, writings, performances and art products produced in Malaysia are equally eligible for the status of national movies/literature/performances/ arts and hence entitled to enjoy the state’s cultural resources, regardless of the language and ethnic background of those productions.
4. To ensure the award of National Laureate (Sasterawan Negara) recognize the literatures of Chinese, Tamil, east Malaysia native languages, English and others languages of Malaysians.
5. To encourage inter-cultural and inter-lingual dialogue by forming a special taskforce comprised of multi-ethnic and respected art professionals and experts under the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture.
6. To ensure the unrestricted development of all schools-national, mother tongue and religious- by equitably allocating resources to them, as well as recognizing non-formal education based on the oral traditions of indigenous peoples.
7. Initiate mother tongue education at the pre-school stage as well as Pupils’ Own Language in the national curriculum for the various minority groups particularly indigenous communities as the first step towards a comprehensive mother tongue education system.
8. Introduce a “National Ombudsman for Linguistic Minorities” aimed at preserving and promoting the linguistic rights of ethnic minorities and indigenous groups.
(from left) Ms. S. Usharani (Organizing Chairman), Mr. Raja Ramalingam (Guest speaker from US), Zaid Kamaruddin (Co-Chairman of Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia), K. Arumugam (Advisor of Tamil Foundation), S. Pasupathi (President of Tamil Foundation), Tan Yew Sing (President of KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall), Dato Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim Al-Haj (Chairperson of National Indian Advancement Team-NIAT), Soeh Miah (Representative of Orang Temuan Banting), Dato Dr Toh Kin Woon (President of LLG Cultural Development Centre), Dr. Chin Yew Sin (Honorary Deputy Secretary General of Hua Zong)