Indonesia, Malaysia agree on making Malay the official language of ASEAN

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smail Sabri Yaakob, Joko Widodo
Prime Minister of Malaysia Ismail Sabri Yaakob after meeting with President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, Friday (1/4).(BPMI Setpres/Laily Rachev)

Jakarta, IO – Indonesia and Malaysia reached an agreement to make Malay the official language of ASEAN. This means that it will be used as language for communication at international conferences held by the association of 10-member Southeast Asian states.

This was conveyed by Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob after meeting his Indonesian counterpart President Joko Widodo on Friday (1/4).

“We would like to thank President of Indonesia for agreeing with Malaysia to increase the use Malay, which has common roots for us,” said Ismail, as reported by Kompas, Monday (4/4).

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He said that Malay is widely used in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, southern Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines. In the 14th century, Malay was widely spoken as a lingua franca used by some 300 million people living in the Southeast Asian archipelagos.

According to World of Buzz, Indonesian national language, which has its root in Malay, was originally spoken by 7% of Indonesian population when it gained its independence in 1945. Then it was designated as the language of unity, and is now widely spoken by around 1,340 ethnic groups across its vast territory. (rr)