Article 152 states that the national language is the Malay language. In relation to other languages, the Constitution provides that:
(a) everyone is free to teach, learn or use any other languages, except for official purposes. Official purposes here means any purpose of the Government, whether Federal or State, and includes any purpose of a public authority.
(b) the Federal and State Governments are free to preserve or sustain the use and study of the language of any other community.
Article 152(2) created a transition period for the continued use of English for legislative proceedings and all other official purposes.
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The Acts also provide that the official script for the Malay language is the Latin alphabet or Rumi; however, use of Jawi is not prohibited.
There is a controversial issue raised regarding the Teaching and Learning Science and Mathematics in English also known as Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris (PPSMI) when the cabinet decided to replace national language as lingua franca for Science and Mathematics subject for all levels of education.
Also, there is an issue that has been raised in Penang on Oct 2008 by a businessman, Nik Rizman Sapian, 33 and Gabungan Graduan Melayu Muda (GGMM) regarding the multilingual road signs whether the other languages, which is Mandarin in this case, could be used on the public road signs or not.
Both of these issues, have brought a significant impact towards Article 152 and became the most popular issue for debate not only in parliament, among scholars and educationists, but also among the Malaysian public.
These issues exemplifies how Malaysians, especially Malays, are sincerely concerned about maintaining Bahasa Malaysia as our national language. This, however, is not about denying the right of other races in using their respective languages. The main objective is to retain and appreciate what we have based on the sacrifices made by the late Tuanku Abdul Rahman and other previous leaders who had fought for the right to give the Malay language the status it rightly deserves.