Malaysia: Malay songs with English lyrics banned

20 April 2004

The government of Malaysia has banned songs that contain English lyrics from state-controlled radio and television stations

On April 18th, 2004, a ban on Malay songs containing English lyrics went into effect for state-controlled broadcasters throughout Malaysia. The ban resulted from Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP, the Language and Literature Bureau) criticizing the government for allowing English lyrics to “corrupt the ‘purity and sanctity’ of the Malay language” (South China Morning Post, April 20, 2004).

Read more:

South China Morning Post, 20 April, 2004:
‘English lyrics ban creates discord’

Aliran Monthly, no 5, 2004:

‘Let us enjoy our rojak songs’ – article by ethnomusicologist Tan Sooi Beng

Wolverine Malaya (University of Michigan Malaysian Student Association), 17 April, 2005:

‘Malay songs with a little english banned?’

Malaysiakini, 20 April, 2005:

”I love you’, I so confused’



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