agrees to remove offensive, inappropriate and misleading example for
the word “kecinaan” in the Kamus Dewan which portrays the DAP in a bad
by John Chung
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): I welcome the decision by Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka (DBP) to remove the offensive, inappropriate and misleading example for the word “kecinaan” in the third edition of the Kamus Dewan which portrays the DAP in a bad light.
I had yesterday received an official reply dated 10 September 2003 from the DBP Director General Dato’ Haji A. Aziz bin Deraman to my protest note dated 14 August 2003.
In my protest note, I had called on the Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka to explain the example cited in the Kamus Dewan for the word “kecinaan” which portrays the DAP in a bad light.
In the Kamus Dewan, the meaning of the word “kecinaan” is given as follows:
“yg berkaitan dgn orang atau bangsa Cina, yg mementingkan (memperjuangkan hak dan kepentingan) bangsa Cina sahaja”
The example of usage for the word “kecinaan” is given as follows:
“Dr. Syed Husin Ali memberi alasan wujudnya parti pembangkang (DAP) yang memainkan sentimen kecinaan membuat pengundi Cina tidak memangkah MCA; akhirnya timbullah perasaan kecinaan dan keindiaan.”
I had contended that the use of such an example in the Kamus Dewan is distasteful and offensive as it portrays the DAP in a bad light and insinuates that the party plays up Chinese sentiments and champions only the rights and interests of the Chinese which is not only mischievous but also dishonest and untruthful as the DAP is in essence a multi-racial party that upholds the rights and interests of all races.
I had further argued that such a depiction of the DAP is misleading and would give rise to a negative perception of the party amongst the users of the Kamus Dewan and that DBP should be more professional and refrain from using political examples.
I also drew attention to the exclusion of the word “India” from the dictionary when “keling” is included and pointed out that the argument that the Kamus Dewan cannot list every word should not be used as an excuse not to list important words such as “India”, “Iban” and “Kadazan”, especially when both the words “Melayu” and “Cina” are listed in the dictionary. Surely the Kamus Dewan can and should also list these words to show that Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka respects the fact that Malaysia is made up of a plurality of ethnic groups.
In his official reply to me, Aziz Deraman said that the DBP had agreed to remove the use of the example cited above for “kecinaan” and replace it with a more suitable sentence in the fourth edition of the Kamus Dewan which is in its final stage of editing having taken into account my views. He also remarked that DBP would include names of race/ethnic such as “India”, “Iban”, “Kadazan” and others in the new edition of the dictionary.
I welcome this positive reply from DBP as well as the apology tendered by them for the confusion that had arisen from the use of the controversial example for “kecinaan”. DBP’s proactive attitude in responding to my protest and correcting the misperception caused is indeed laudable and should be emulated by all government agencies and ministries.
As DBP completes the final process of editing for the fourth edition of the Kamus Dewan, care should be taken to ensure that there would not be any more usage of similar examples that are offensive, inappropriate and misleading. In the meantime, I wait in eager anticipation for the unveiling of the new “clean” edition of the dictionary.
* John Chung, DAP National Publicity Bureau Assistant Secretary