The Jakarta Post
A new regulation signed by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo makes the use of Indonesian the obligatory official language in a broad range of activities, ranging from school lessons, official documents and the naming of buildings to speeches by state officials in both international and national forums.
Jokowi signed on Sept. 30 a new Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No. 63/2019 on the use of the Indonesian language, replacing a previous regulation issued by his predecessor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, which particularly regulated the use of Indonesian in official speeches by the president, vice president and state officials both at home and abroad.
The new regulation stipulates that Indonesian is now obligatory as the official medium in all educational institutions in the country, from kindergartens to universities.
Article 24 of the regulation stipulates that international schools that cater to foreign students may use Indonesian in teaching activities, however, they must use the language when delivering the subjects of Indonesian language, religion and civic education.
The Perpres also reasserted the previous regulation obliging the president, vice president and other state officials to use Indonesian when they make their speeches both in international and national forums inside and outside the country.
Article 16 of the regulation also emphasizes that such provisions are applicable in global forums conducted by international organizations, including the United Nations.
“If it is deemed necessary to make clear and emphasize a statement, the president or vice president can deliver the speech […] verbally in a foreign language and follow up with a transcript of the speech in Indonesian,” Article 19 of the regulation states.
The national language must as well be used by state officials engaged in public services, although the use of local languages and foreign languages, including English, may also be deemed necessary to ease service delivery.
“Indonesian should also be used for names of building, apartments or residences, offices and market complexes that are built or owned by Indonesian citizens or Indonesian legal entities,” according to Article 33 of the regulation.
These include hotels, airports, stations, business places and entertainment centers. However, if the buildings or compounds have historical, cultural or religious values, they may use names derived from local or foreign languages.
Other points in the Perpres stipulate that Indonesian should be used in documents ranging from official state documents and memorandums of understanding to scientific papers. (vny)