What is our goal?

The goal of this organization (Organisasi Bahasa Melayu di Bangsa Filipina) is to facilitate the teaching of the Malay language (Bahasa Melayu) in the Philippines.

What is our proposal?

Our proposal is that Malay be taught to elementary children for 2-3 grades (in addition to, or instead of, Tagalog), and that Malay become an elective for High School and College students.

Why Malay?

  • Malay is one of the world's major languages, unlike Tagalog. It is spoken by about 300 million people worldwide and is one of the 3 fastest growing languages in the world according to a 2004 study authored by David Graddol in the eminent scientific journal Science.

  • Malay has a very long history as the lingua franca of traders and the marketplace in south east asia, including the Philippines. Malay inscriptions have been found in the Philippines from the 9th century AD, and Magellan used Malay to communicate with the people in Lapu-lapu's area, before meeting his death at the hands of Lapu-lapu himself. Malay is already used as a lingua franca in parts of the southern Philippines today.

  • Malay has historically NOT been associated with any one dominant group, unlike such languages as Javanese and Tagalog, This makes it particularly suitable as an adopted language for a diverse nation where the imposition of the dominant group's own language (e.g. Tagalog) might be viewed with resentment by other people in the country.

  • Malay is the major or one of the major languages for many of our neighbors in South-East Asia. It is the major language in the Indonesia Archipelago, Malaysia, Brunei, and East Timur (where it is a working language) and its use is growing quickly in places like Singapore (where the impetus to make Singapore's non-Malay citizens conversant in Malay has gained ground). There are minority speakers of Malay in such places as Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam, and many Australians also understand Malay from their High School studies. Beyond these countries, Malay is studied by more than 100,000 students worldwide as a foreign language, including by Filipinos who travel to Malaysia to learn the language.

  • The adoption of the Malay language proclaims our pride in our strong Malay roots. Indeed, the national hero of the Philippines, Dr. Jose Rizal, is justly lauded as the "Pride of the Malay Race".

  • Malay is much much easier to learn than Tagalog or English.

    As an example, unlike Tagalog and English, whose verbs change tenses by changing word forms, Bahasa Melayu does not:

    Aku pergi ke sekolah (I go to school)

    To denote tense, just use:

    sedang - to denote a continuous present action
    sudah - to denote a past action
    akan - to denote a future action

    Aku sedang pergi ke sekolah (I am going to school)
    Aku sudah pergi ke sekolah (I went to school)
    Aku akan pergi ke sekolah (I will go to school)



  • Malay and Filipino languages have many common words

    Because Malay is related to most of the Filipino languages, there are many common words shared between them. Some examples:

    Bahasa Tagalog - Bahasa Melayu

    • ako - aku (=Saya)
    • kami - kita/kami
    • puno - pohon
    • mata - mata
    • sayang - sayang
    • pili -pilih
    • bili - belih
    • basa - baca
    • panik - naik

    • dalawa - dua
    • tatlo - tiga
    • apat - empat
    • lima - lima
    • anim - enam
    • isang libo - seribu

    • langit - langit
    • buwan - bulan
    • kidlat - kilat
    • hangin - angin
    • kuting - kucing

Will Malay replace Tagalog?

This organization does not necessarily intend to supplant the use of Tagalog with Malay, although it feels that such a result would be beneficial to the nation in the long run.

This feeling is rooted in the belief that the Philippines needs to rid itself of things that impede the progress of our nation. The adoption of Tagalog as the national language (although thinly disguised under the name of "Filipino") is arguably one thing that has impeded the creation of a truly united state.

It can be argued that people who are not Tagalogs, including and especially those from the center and south of the nation, do not want to embrace the Tagalog language because they associate it with dominance from the Manila-based ethnic group of the same name. Thus, Tagalog contributes to the fracturing of our society, and does not unite it, except in the most superficial ways.

The adoption of Malay instead of Tagalog, which is what this organization believes should have been done in the beginning, will mean a further DEMOCRATIZATION of the nation in that a TRUE lingua franca with no strong historical ties to a dominant or colonial ethnic group will be used - instead of one that is a contributing factor to disunity in the country.

Additional Reading