Bahasa Malaysia and Newspaper

"Bahasa Malaysia newspapers are being controlled to a greater extent" 

Sipping hot kopi-O early in the morning after a piece of roti canai, it's time for spiritual breakfast. Ah the aroma of freshly printed paper, newspaper can be a linguistic learning tool...

• That cost you little money compared to books and magazines or even free if you read online newspaper.

• That is most updated when you read a daily newspaper.

• That reflects the cultures related to Bahasa Malaysia.

• That provides a wide range of vocabulary.

• That requires you to be self-motivated.

Hence, it is a good sign when you get a newspaper. However, if you think newspapers in Malaysia stink, consider this fact:

Relative 'Freedom'

Official Secrets Act, Sedition Act, Defamation Act and the Internal Security Act which provides for detention without charge or trial are among laws that can be used against members of the Malaysia press.

There's still one more Printing Presses and Publications Act empowering the Minister of Home Affairs to issue permit for the operation of a newspaper. By the way, the permit is valid for only a year. The Minister also has the authority to revoke the permit and confiscate the printing press if he deems that ' unlawful' news items have been published.

It is common knowledge that major shareholders in the mainstream newspapers have close ties with the government. However, among the three major languages of newspapers, Bahasa Malaysia newspapers are being controlled to a greater extent in comparision to Chinese and Indian press, observed the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Censorship is more on political issues while non-political ones are open to debate. According to journalists, freedom fluctuates with the $ , i.e. when the economy is doing well, there is not much to worry about but when things are going badly, the press is shut out. This means thinking readers have to read many papers to get a full, fair picture.

Political Neutrality

I want to make it very clear first that I am NEUTRAL since most newspapers tend to be politically if not, commercially inclined. I would prefer to highlight the newspapers' value in helping you with learning Bahasa Malaysia and all preferences displayed are strictly personal.

Use Your Discretion

Ultimately it is you who will form your own views based on the information presented. So don't get excited too easily...:). Try to read between the lines, be objective, if possible listen to both sides of a story and check the credibility of the sources.

Selamat Membaca!


Bernama The Malaysian National News Agency is a sample of Bahasa Malaysia news"paper"...that is, if you have seen fax papers rolling furiously in most press offices of Malaysia subscribing to Bernama's service. As an authorized body set up by an Act of Parliament in 1967 and started operation in May 1968, it is obviously pro-you know who-lah! Sometimes, "kisah benar" can turn into "cerita burung".

Harakah My favourite source of learning to tease mercilessly but tastefully in Bahasa Malaysia. Harakah is a Bahasa Malaysia newspaper published by the fundamentalist Parti Islam SeMalaysia or PAS. At times when there are too much "cerita burung" in the mainstream papers, readers flock to Harakah.

Malaysiakini The english translation can be easily confused with another news portal "Malaysia Today". A regular recipient of the wrath of the Minister of Home Affairs, however still exists due to the policy that creates the Super Multimedia Corridor.

Berita Harian Malaysia  " Malaysia's Daily News" is the first Romanised Malay language newspaper, started as the Malay translation of the New Straits Times.

Utusan Malaysia  The Romanized form of Utusan Melayu.  Unlike its Jawi predecessor, Utusan Malaysia is more of a power player acting as a mouth piece of UMNO.

Utusan Melayu  Malay language newspaper written in Jawi alphabet.  Its editors chased away policemen, criticized and even boycotted the ruling Prime Minister!  Transition of Malay writing from Jawi to Roman alphabets gradually put Poor Utusan Melayu out of circulation.

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