Bandar Seri Begawan - The Director of Arts and Literature Bureau Dr Mataim bin Bakar urged students, teachers, parents to respect the Malay language in line with its position as Brunei`s official language as outlined by the Brunei National Board.
He told a religious public speaking competition among secondary schools and colleges at the Sayyidina Ali Secondary School in Kuala Belait.
"It was brought to our attention that a large group of students and youths are abandoning the use of quality and correct Malay language to the extent that the language is not practised in their daily lives.
"The matter is worsened when parents themselves encourage their children to use foreign language within the family circle and this is an unhealthy phenomenon and is a worrying trend in the country."
The chief guest said the religious public speaking competition is an activity that produces students with smooth deliberation skills, who are conversant and self-confident.
Without such characteristics, participants are unable to present good, logical, pragmatic and rational contents.
Awg Ahmad Zulwaqar bin Suhaili from Mahad Islam Brunei Tutong School emerged as the champion in the male category. His talk touched on the impact of drugs on the youth and nation. He obtained 91 per cent.
In the female category, Dyg Siti Khairunnisa binte Mohd Rosli from Sayyidina Ali Secondary School won first place. She talked on being kind to parents in religious terms. She obtained 92.5 per cent.
The guest of honour presented trophies to winners and certificates to participants.
Meanwhile, the event`s chairman Awg Abd Ghani bin Hj Abd Kadir said the competition was jointly organised by the Religious Section, Curriculum Education Department at the Ministry of Education and Sayyidina Ali Secondary School Kuala Belait.
The 19-year-old competition aimed to expose talented students to public speaking, motivate and activate the students` mind to debate and gain courage in delivering a talk before a crowd.
This year, 20 government schools and colleges, four schools under the Ministry of Religious Affairs and four private secondary schools participated.
Some 22 male and 24 female participants competed in the preliminary rounds on May 3.
Source: www.brudirect.com (12 Juli 2007)