KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian National Writers Association (PENA) has urged the Chief Secretary to the Government (KSN) to reiterate the directive on the use of Bahasa Melayu through circulars, in the official affairs of all agencies, government-linked companies (GLCs) and public institutions of higher learning (IPTA).

Its president Dr Mohamad Saleeh Rahamad said it was to ensure the use of the national language was not neglected apart from emphasising the need for strict enforcement against all parties without any compromise.

"The Language Audit carried out by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) before does not seem to be effective because it is not followed up with appropriate action, this is because no party is authorised to take punitive action against those who ignore the instructions.

"The results of the language audit monitoring should be followed by action so that the effort is not wasted," he said in a statement today.

Earlier, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob criticised the current trend which saw programmes organised by the private sector, even government-linked companies (GLCs) and government agencies not using Bahasa Melayu.

He was quoted as saying that agency and GLC meetings also use English, in fact, the use of non-Bahasa Melayu names for companies, housing projects and product brands has become commonplace.

"PENA hopes that the government under the current leadership will be serious on this matter as Bahasa Melayu, whose sovereignty is enshrined in Article 152 of the Federal Constitution, is declining in value in the eyes of the people of this country.

"Now the neglect of the Malay language by the relevant parties has become rife as if Bahasa Melayu has no value anymore while the government circular has clearly stated its mandatory use, " said Mohamad Saleeh.

In addition he hoped Bahasa Melayu empowerment activities would be carried out more actively at the international level by DBP through the various programmes under the Education Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.