Former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi hopes the Arabic language can be practised comprehensively at all stages of schooling and higher learning.
He said learning Arabic was especially important for the Malays, as Muslims.
“I believe learning Arabic will not burden the Malay students because the other races also learn languages such as Mandarin and Tamil,” he said after opening the International Conference on Islamic Civilisation and Malay Identity 2011 (ICICMI 2011), yesterday.
The two-day conference from today has about 150 local and foreign participants. Also present at the opening were Melaka Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam and conference chairman Prof Zakaria Stapa.
Abdullah said although there were constraints, it should not be a problem to make Arabic language an important subject in the national education system.
“The lack of teaching staff and the Malay community’s low awareness of the importance of learning Arabic are contraints which must be overcome. I believe it is not a problem for us to practise the language,” he said.
Abdullah said being able to speak Arabic could help foster closer relations between Malaysia and the Arab nations.