The lyrics to our national anthem, Negaraku, are engraved in our minds ever since we started singing them during our morning assemblies. Some however, sang it quite differently than us.
Last week, a viral video of a Chinese vernacular school students singing the national anthem in Mandarin caused quite a commotion, opening up an investigation by the Ministry of Education (MOE).
According to News Straits Time, the 1 minute and 23 seconds video showing a classroom of Year Five students singing Negaraku was recorded on the 19th September 2019 at a school in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan.
The Negeri Sembilan Investment, Industrial, Entrepreneurship, Education and Human Capital Committee chairman Dr Mohamad Rafie Ab Malek said the incident involving 20 Year 5 students at the Chinese public school should not have happened. However, he justified that there were reasons behind such occurrence.
“The investigation found that the teacher had translated Negaraku into the students’ mother tongue to help them understand the national anthem better,” he said.
A statement by the MOE on the 6th December also concurred that the aim of the translation of our national anthem was meant to improve the students’ understanding of the meaning behind the lyrics.
Source: Ministry of Education
Education director-general Amin Senin said in an official statement on the 6th December that, “the conduct only took place during classroom lessons that were meant to improve understanding towards the meaning, purpose, and conventions when singing the national anthem Negaraku by citizens in this country.”
“It was not done in any of the school’s official functions. Nevertheless, the Education Ministry reminds all schools to exercise discretion when using any national symbols including the national anthem during classroom lessons, so it won’t be misunderstood by any party.” He added.
Armin reminded schools that the national anthem may not be altered in any way when sung during official functions and must adhere to the National Anthem Act 1968.
Netizens however were quick to condemn the action as irresponsible and disrespectful.
More recently, three videos showing students singing the national anthem in different languages have also surfaced.
Each video lasted between one minute to one and a half minutes and was believed to be sung by students from religious schools and primary schools. While police are still investigating the source of the videos, the exact locations of the recordings are still unknown.
What are your thoughts on this? Should Negaraku be allowed to be sung in any language?
By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya