Malay issues

Translating English to Bahasa Melayu

A good samaritan had took the liberty to translate my previous article into Bahasa Melayu and had posted it in his blog. Translating English to Bahasa Melayu or vice versa can be a difficult feat to accomplish. One must have good grasp of both languages to successfully interpret the article without losing its intended meaning. Kudos to the writer for taking the initiative to do this.

Here’s an excerpt of the said piece;

“Artikel ini saya ambil daripada dan saya olah ke Bahasa Melayu supaya antara kita yang penguasaan bahasa inggeris agak kurang boleh memahami mesej yang tersirat di sebalik apa yang tersurat. Terdapat sedikit sebanyak ada olahan, pertambahan dan pengurangan ‘perkataan’ saya buat supaya aliran mesej tidak kaku dan sesuai dengan pemahaman kita. Ada sesetengah perkataan yang tidak dapat saya ubah kerana ianya sukar diterjemah secara terus ke Bahasa Melayu…

…Di negara ini, (antara sedar atau tidak) setiap kali antara kita mengecap orang lain sebagai ‘racist’ (orang yang mengamalkan sifat perkauman), implikasinya amat buruk, tidak kira si pengecop dan yang dicop. Semestinya ada sebab musabab dan rasional yang menjadi provokasi kepada sesuatu yang sensitif dikalangan masyarakat negara kita. Terdapat tiga perkara yang sensitif yang seharusnya setiap rakyat Malaysia awasi. Malahan, sebenarnya ia telahpun bersebati didalam amalan budaya hidup kita setelah 50 tahun kemerdekaan dan tidak lagi menjadi sesuatu yang leceh mahupun satu keanehan. Ia telah pun menjadi salah satu asas toleransi di dalam konteks masyarakat majmuk Malaysia…”

Can be further read at

Due to the possible flip flopping in reverting the teaching of Maths and Science from English to Bahasa Melayu, I hope this translated article will be beneficial to the monolingual Malay students in years to come.

P.S. : Studies had shown that monoglots (inability to speak more than one language), are more susceptible to senility as compared to bilingual people. Just a thought.


24 thoughts on “Translating English to Bahasa Melayu

  1. Is that a wry sense of humor I detect in you, JMD?

    That thin line between wit and sarcasm which can create an incision within a reader’s perception of things……

    Hang on, we’re not speaking of politicians now, are we?

    P.S. I’ve always thought it’s easier to transliterate than to translate. Guess there is a difference in knowing and comprehending.

    JMD : 🙂


  2. ha ha monoglots… i thought mongoloids which either case always refer to something senile….

    Lets just say that I met with Pak Lah yesterday and suddenly i became very brave and faced him and utter “I put it up to you that you were lying!!”
    the monoglots Pak Lah would then said “You have been misinformed and you should apologised for uttering those words!!”. So i said sorry and went on my way…
    Little that the monoglots knew that if he translated that to Bahasa Malaysia it means
    “Nanti aku taruk engkau , pasti engkau terbaring!!”. he he.


  3. Perenggan terakhir anda telah menggeletek saya merah jambu.

    Phew. Now can cross off early senility from my list of worries 😉

    Thanks JD.

    JMD : 🙂


  4. first of all, thanks to JMD for allowing me to tranliterate/translate. Kind worried if the interpretation far off from JMDs original ideas.

    Anyway, one purpose of the purposes will be towards future Malays. But, back of my mind I have another group of readers that i’m targeting at – for those malays who forgot that they are malays by nature. And perhaps, an idea of preserving JMDs article in our own Bahasa Melayu.

    Some of us have the Tuah, Jebat, Lekir, Lekiu and Kasturi’s spirit and Tun Perak’s mind…but some have Pak Pandir, Mat Jenin, Pak Kaduk characteristics…hehehe

    JMD : Thank you for the kind effort. Really appreciate it.


  5. JMD, you might want to consider an article on ‘Bahasa Malaysia’ and ‘Bahasa Inggeris’ for Maths and Sciences that is currently debated by many. An apt topic for translation/transliteration!

    JMD : Hmm.. what else can we say? The so called many experts on education had gone on record that the move to teach english in maths and science was a mistake or mismanaged and insinuated that Tun had made an error of judgement. Very good fodder to belittle Tun in the upcoming Umno general elections.

    They would say, Tun had turned his back on Bahasa Melayu and made the Malay kids lag further behind. I don’t know about you but to me, when Tun mooted the idea, he was the PM. Basically, he charted out the policy.

    It is then up to the people working under him to deliver the policy through good implementation and properly charted course of action. It is up to them to keep the machinery well oiled. More so when all of the cabinet ministers at that time had agreed to this policy. When a policy had been deliberated, it needs to be implemented by hook or by crook. If not, they will find themselves guilty of flip flopping. And nobody had accused Tun for flip flopping during his tenure as PM.

    If the ministers in charge, the administrators and the educationists see there are weaknesses, they need to review and find solutions for it. If they think that the teachers may have difficulties in teaching english, then retrain them. If they think the english syllabus is not dynamic enough to get our kids to learn english better and faster, then change the syllabus and make it more robust. If there are not enough focus and emphasis on the usage of english among the kids, then by all means, impose in each school ‘English Week’ or equivalent to it.

    But to say only after 7 miserable years that the policy does not work and they should revert back to teaching Maths and English in BM is total bollocks. The kids that started to learn them since secondary 1 in 2001 had even graduated from college by now. And yet, they just realised that there are weaknesses only now?

    And what irks me was when a journalist asked the Professor about the need to retrain the teachers, he had this to say:

    “Would it have made a difference if the teachers had had a better command of English?

    A: That will take 10 or 20 more years then…”

    10 to 20 years just to retrain teachers in English?

    Dear professor, how could any Malaysians, who had learned English as a subject from standard one, all the way to secondary 5 (span of 10 years) could still not be proficient in English? Are the graduate teachers in Malaysia that slow witted?

    It is not the problem of Tun when most kids still could not master English as a second language. We could not expect him to go to the ground and train every children the English language now could we? It was not his job. He manages thing strategically. All the micro level management should be done by the people like the minister of education and the people like this professor.

    What have those people done? Sleeping on the job and shouting rhetorics? The Malays can’t cope with English so lets revert back to the Malay language. As they all say, we Malays hate challenges and hard work. Is that what they are saying?

    To revert back to Malay would be confusing and too simplistic of a solution. Maintain the teaching of English but also increase the level of teaching English to them. Introduce back English literature and English week in schools and make them mandatory. Issue out directives that all teachers should cooperate in promoting English and any teachers who criticise the move as ‘un-Malay’ or ‘disrespecting Bahasa Melayu’ should be shown show cause letters.

    Above all, the PM should stress that this policy is good for the nation in the long run and stresses the importance of English. No more flip flopping!


  6. “I put it up to you that you were lying!!”

    “Nanti aku taruk engkau , pasti engkau terbaring!!”. he he.

    that was a good one, I was laughing myself silly. TQ


  7. JMD,

    – another attempt to undermine the status quo by applying to one sense of fairness and justice. By demanding fairness, a system not based on race or creed, rewards base on merits, would sound well and dandy to most younger generation that is void of historical perspective and grasp of real life situation. This led them to buy into the mantra promoted by DSAI PKR.

    Maybe you might want to comment!

    JMD : Will probably comment on this in my next post yeah. Thank you.


  8. The “nanti aku taruk engkau…” joke is funny but its the reality of it. Its like telling a monoglot malay “engkau bodoh” in english while smiling and he’ll probably say thank you.

    I was mystified at how easy it was to convince the “new malay” about the idea of Malaysian Malaysia. How much will a person know what is really going on if you read and speak only in malay and your knowledge came from tv3 news while waiting for Akademi Fantasia concert. I went through the comments in some of the blogs and I dont think the malays know what names they had been called. Funny how these commenters called the malay as racists but its even funnier when some “new malays” simply angguk-angguk.

    What you dont know wont hurt you. Not this time. Its gonna hurt the malays real bad.


  9. Hi JMD,
    I don’t know about others respond, but I got mad when I read that professor’s comment about switching back teaching Maths & Sciences from English to Bahasa . I agree with Lemow’s comment, especially the 2nd last paragraph……just because some teachers aren’t well trained shouldn’t be the excuse. just because some students can’t cope or result wasn’t good shouldn’t be the excuse either….oh my god, just because he can’t see result after 7 yrs he’s suggesting that we should swith back to Bahasa ! Tak sabar langsung !!
    I’m not against Bahasa M’sia, and I’m definitely NOT a racist, but when I go to bank and see most of the Malay bank officers who can’t even speak simple, every-day English, I rasa malu.


  10. Politik kebencian adalah ‘Selera’ utama orang Malaysia. Terutama ‘Melayu’.

    Bila Anwar benci UMNO, ramai mengikut. Bila Ismail ‘benci’ Koh & Dr. Khir menulis aggresif, ramai yang bersemangat semula sokong UMNO.

    Politik Malaysia lahir daripada Politik benci panjajah. Itu tak pernah berubah- politik kebencian bermagnet.

    Cuma beberapa pemimpin terbilang yang mampu mengubah ‘politik kebencian’ kpd “energi maju’ kedepan, berbakti dengan megah, jati diri, keaslian pemikiran dan semangat Malaysia.

    Malangnya Paklah bukan orang seperti itu.Formula Malaysia perlu diselamatkan segera.

    Kini Anwar = Anwar sebenar yang huru-hara, Ismail= Ismail,Utusan= Harakah. Dap apa lagi?

    Politik kebencian perlu ditamatkan. Sebelum membiak parah.

    Mengapa tiada Clinton vs Bush, Obama Vs Cain di Malaysia dimana penerimaan kpd Politik kebencian adalah minimum?

    Untuk menilai orang bijak kata2, mulut tidak boleh dijadikan panduan. Seperti di akhirat, nilaikan amalannya.

    “Kebencian itu datang dari hati yang rosak” bersihkanlah segera.

    JMD : Macam lari dari tajuk sahaja komen ini. Tapi tidak mengapa kerana isu ini adalah penting juga dan tidak lari dari isu isu semasa. Termia kasih.


  11. JMD,

    As per you reply to Lemow, I’d say you’re spot on! Was actually waiting for you to do a piece, but I think your reply is sufficient. The NST interview seemed to me more like a “chance at Dr M-bashing”, than anything else.

    As you’ve said, it’s been 7 years since the first implementation. And if they still can’t get it right, the problem is not with the students, it’s with the educators and implementors.

    If Pak Lah reverts back to teaching in BM (if he is still PM at that time), it’ll be flip-flop big time. And nothing would ever get done.


  12. Dear sir,

    i had the opportunity to mix around with numbers of people from numbers of different background coming from different levels of education level. some of them, the pakcik and makcik are actually coming from pre and post merdeka ‘English School’, and some of college graduates coming from sekolah kebangsaan. i must say, i was very impressed by the level of English these pakcik and makcik possess eventhough they don’t graduate from college. their proficiency even better than college graduates. what can i say? maybe good education in english must be implemented right from the young age, so at the later age these people wont have trouble critising Developed Countries policy regarding globalisation… in English.

    i can only see that TDM action to introduce teaching math and science in English are actually meant to benefit Malays, but TDM himself was heavily criticised due to his effort. maybe you are right JMD, some Malay are to timid and affraid to take real challenge. they prefer the easy way to earn living, rather than taking extra effort to improve their ilmu. what they dont realised, with ilmu, even sky is no limit to their ability. but yet, they still reserved to atttitude.. ‘tak apa lah. dah nasib’.

    i read somewhere, TDM has many times reminded the Malays of the importance having good knowledge and sense of curiosity. one of his speech at UMNO assembly sometimes ago quoted :

    ” ..If the Malays were asked to describe mosquito, they will come up with only a sentence, or maybe two at most. for them, there is not much to say about this useless insects. But if the Germans were asked the same question, you will find volumes of books about this insect, their breeding ground, the disease it carries and its prey and hunter. without this attitude, how can we know about malaria, denggi and their relation to this insect…”

    if they still reluctant to improve the level of their english where they can have direct access to books, references and scientific journal which most of them were written in english, then i weep for the Malays. if they still want to rely on translation, then we will waste time to translate materials to Bahasa Melayu, compare to having direct access to this materials. eventually they will be left further behind. the race is falling and falling and falling in this rising knowledge-driven economy.

    Hmm.. so tell me, what’s become my Race?

    JMD : A valid question indeed. Thank you.


  13. Salam JMD,

    I had a discussion of sorts regarding the issue of the English language with my mates from Open Uni M’sia sometime last year. This was because OUM had announced the switch from being a dual language institution to using English totally for its classes as well as exams. Naturally, many freaked out at the announcement. Most said that it would cause much difficulty as they were not proficient in English. Some even called the idea as traitorous to the national language and that knowledge can be learned through any language so what was wrong with using BM?

    I answered the same as peachafiz, so they could have access to so much more knowledge that’s been written in English. Language itself is a branch of knowledge, so what’s wrong with learning an additional one?

    JMD : Thank you for the comment.


  14. Dear JMD,

    This is my first comment in this blog of yours and i have to say you put forth your argument in a very concise manner..easy to understand .just like some one i know..anyway..about this debate in English. i have to say that what tdm did during his time is ( in stressing that English is the language of the future) is brilliant..even i talk to my kids in English every chance i the point of only listening to English radio channels in the car..i know this as i have to converse in English to convey my message especially in my line of work as a civil engineer. this upsi prof or dean or whatever is if may say so a borrowed knife. if only he had not mentioned about mahathirs people then may be we are assured of him being fair minded.. but when he said m people..i think who is he sucking up to?.

    JMD : It is obvious, efforts had been made to discredit the grand old man prior to the Umno General Elections this December. Thank you for commenting.


  15. The Ministry occupies an important role in the administrative structure of Brunei Government.

    As one of the Ministries established when Brunei Darussalam resumed its independence from the British on the 1st January 1984, the Ministry’s importance was underlined when His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah himself become the First Minister of Home Affairs. Dato Paduka Awang Haji Mohd Ali bin Hj Mohd Daud (now known as Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Raja Dato Paduka Awang Haji Mohd Ali bin Awang Haji Mohd Daud) was the first Permanent Secretary of the Ministry.

    When the Cabinet was reshuffled in 1986, the following appointments were announced:

    Minister of Home Affairs
    Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Adanan Bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Haji Mohd. Yusof

    Deputy Minister of Home Affairs
    Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Dewa Pahlawan Dato Paduka Haji Awang Dani Bin Haji Ibrahim

    Permanent Secretary
    Yang Mulia Dato Paduka Awang Haji Idris Bin Haji Belaman

    Permanent Secretary
    Yang Mulia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yusoff Bin Haji Ismail

    Deputy Permanent Secretary
    Yang Mulia Dato Paduka Awang Haji Adanan bin Haji Hanafiah


  16. Pingback: Anti PPSMI - A cover up for ineptitude? « Jebat Must Die

  17. JMD. I am impressed with the depth of your article. I, from the old generation am proud that someone like you is defending tooth and nail the legacy of TDM. Well done. This will ensure future Malays would flourish in this ‘Malay’ country.

    As proof of my appreciation of what you are doing, I have a ‘son’ who was brought up with English as his ‘mother’ tongue. Realising that the Malay educationists are making a mockery of the education system, I used all my savings to send this boy to a Private school where the medium of instruction is English but following the government syllabus. What make me proud is that he scored As in all subjects in the recent UPSR examination!

    My family made this decision for the sake of the boy’s future. Let us face facts. There is no future for him if he does not master English. With this borderless world village, he would be a non performer if his English is just ‘workable’. To be at par, competitive, knowledgeable and many other positive aspects and stand as equal to anybody in and outside the country and make his presence as a Malaysian Malay Muslim, one’s English must be superior.

    To me, let the fighters for the Malay language have their say. It is not important to me. I have made my decision. What is more important to me is to see a future for this boy of mine

    JMD : Thank you for the comment.


  18. Do you think that the problem of baby dumping in Malaysia is being exaggerated, or do you think it needs to be taken more seriously? Why?

    JMD : It needs to be taken seriously and why shouldn’t it be taken seriously? Kids need to learn all the things about hormones, the consequences of premarital sex and dangers of STDs.


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