Wanita Umno demands MOE’s stern action on ‘Negaraku’ in Mandarin incident, urges BM mastery

Ida Lim
Wanita Umno chief Datuk Noraini Ahmad speaks during the 2019 Umno General Assembly at Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur December 5, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — The Education Ministry should take firm action over an incident where students sang the national anthem Negaraku in Mandarin, Wanita Umno chief Datuk Noraini Ahmad said today.

Noraini criticised the ministry’s finding that the singing of the national anthem in Mandarin was done during a classroom lesson with the aim of helping students understand the meaning, purpose and protocol while singing Negaraku.

Noraini stressed that students should instead be taught to better master Bahasa Melayu as the national language, if their grasp of the language was lacking.

“If intended to provide meaning, Bahasa Melayu should be taught further and not Negaraku being shifted to Mandarin as the national language is Bahasa Melayu,” she said in a statement today.

“Therefore, Wanita Umno demands that KPM investigate this matter and take stern action as this cannot be considered a simple matter,” she added.

Noraini was weighing in on a video clip that had gone viral online, where students were recorded singing Negaraku in Mandarin.

“If children in national-type Chinese schools (Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) are unable to master the national language, then something should be done to overcome this problem and not to take the easy way out by singing Negaraku in other languages,” she said.

“Whether it is national-type schools or religious schools, emphasis on Bahasa Melayu should be prioritised and not just emphasising on the mother tongue,” she said, again highlighting Bahasa Melayu’s status as the national language.

Noraini also said the law does not allow the modification of Negaraku during official events in school.

In national-type schools or vernacular schools, languages such as Mandarin and Tamil are typically used as the key medium of instruction.

Yesterday, the Education Ministry said it had investigated and found that the singing of Negaraku in Mandarin was only done during a lesson in class in a Negri Sembilan school with the intention of providing understanding on the meaning, purpose and behaviour while singing the national anthem, and that it was not done so during any official events in the school.

The ministry also reminded all schools to be wise when teaching students about national emblems such as the national anthems to avoid being misconstrued by others.

Datuk Seri Wong Sin Fatt, who heads the board of SJK (C) Ma Hwa in Kampung Baru Rasah in Seremban, was reported saying yesterday that the recorded incident was understood to have occurred this September.

Wong yesterday said a trainee teacher was using Mandarin to teach the students what the lyrics of Negaraku meant, but said it was unclear how it evolved to the incident where the national anthem was sung in Mandarin.

Wong said the trainee teacher was conducting the lesson based on a textbook’s content, and that the teacher had recorded the video and uploaded it on Facebook with the video then unexpectedly becoming viral.

Wong said trainee teacher had previously left the primary school after completing training, also reportedly noting that the school was asked to assist in the ministry’s probe on the matter.

According to local daily Sin Chew Daily, other videos had also been found online where Negaraku was allegedly sung using other languages such as Arabic and sign language.

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