Prioritize Use of Bahasa Indonesia

Kompas, page 11

The use of foreign languages in public spheres in Indonesia’s major cities is uncontrollable. In fact, regulations require the use of the Indonesian language to be prioritized. Public spheres are common learning classes, including for Indonesian language development. The preeminence of Indonesian in the public sphere is a form of lifelong language literacy. Head of Coaching and Language Development Body of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Dadang Sunendar said that there is still a lot of foreign language usage in the public spheres in Jakarta that are inappropriate. Indonesian should be prioritized first as the state language.

The public spaces in question range from names of streets buildings, apartments/hotels, settlements, offices, product information of goods and services, banners/ billboards, to information through the mass media. This is stipulated in Law Number 24 Year 2009 on Flags, Languages and State Symbols, as well as National Anthem in Articles 36 to 30. In Jakarta it is apparent that many names and information are written in foreign language, particularly English.

Dadang acknowledged the many regulations governing the prioritizing of Indonesian in public spheres, ranging from laws to regional regulations. However, he understood there is no sanction or fines for violating the rules in public spheres so the implementation on the ground is weak.  A joint commitment is required to carry out the mandate. Regional administrations could effectively control the use of foreign languages when dealing with business licenses.

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