SINGAPORE – This year’s annual Bulan Bahasa, or Malay Language Month, will be officially launched at the Asian Civilisations Museum on Sept 7.

The programme will include performances, exhibitions and contests, and will run from Aug 17 to Oct 13, all with the aim of encouraging the community to embrace and use the Malay language in their daily lives.

It also aims to instill a deeper appreciation for Malay culture and promote the preservation of its heritage.

In a press statement on Friday (July 19), the Malay Language Council, which organises Bulan Bahasa, said this year’s edition will be held in conjunction with Singapore’s bicentennial commemoration.

One of the themes this year is the celebration of the usage and adaptation of the Malay language. The council says the language has served as a “window to knowledge and vehicle to communication”.

Madam Rahayu Mahzam, who is the chairman of the committee in the council organising the commemorative month, said: “It is important for the community to recognise that the Malay language connects us to the people and stories in the Malay Archipelago, and therefore our values, history and heritage.

“While we understand our history, we should also celebrate the development of our language.”

One of the events will be an annual singing contest for primary school pupils called Juara Si Cilik, where students will compete to perform traditional Malay folk songs in creative and interactive ways.

Visitors to the Asian Civilisations Museum during Bulan Bahasa can experience Malay art, textiles and publications as well as artefacts found from the 19th century, in guided tours that will be conducted by students. These tours will be conducted in Malay.

The council on Friday also announced the appointment of three language ambassadors for Bulan Bahasa. They were chosen for their mastery of and affinity for the Malay language.

The three are musician and entrepreneur Nabillah Jalal, singer and songwriter Aqmal Noor and lawyer and community volunteer Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim.

Additionally, five Malay language notebooks will also be put together by Malay teachers and released during Bulan Bahasa.

The books will cover topics like traditional Malay kuih, traditional Malay clothing and speech and body language, and were supported by the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism.

Reflecting on the Bulan Bahasa, Madam Rahayu, who is also an MP for Jurong GRC, said organisers hope that the community continues to find meaning in the use and appreciation of the Malay language.

She said: “The Malay language has evolved from Sanskrit and Old Malay in the seventh century, and remains very much in use in our daily lives.”