Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) has promised to remove the world "Keling" from its online dictionary, following an uproar.
"The online dictionary will be updated. The word 'Keling' will be replaced with 'India' (for definitions), in line with the more recent dictionaries published by DBP," its executive director Abang Sallehuddin Abang Shokeran was quoted telling Malaysiakini.
Netizens recently expressed shock and disgust with the term, deemed derogatory towards Indians, used in DBP's online dictionary reference site Kamus Pelajar, when a search for the word "tambi" is conducted.
The search result returned this: "panggilan untuk orang Keling yang lebih muda daripada kita", while a secondary definition says it is used to address an office boy, or "peon". The definition in the fouth edition of the main Kamus Dewan, meanwhile, is "panggilan untuk orang India yang berpangkat adik."
Besides netizens and activists, opposition politicians, including DAP's Charles Santiago and Kasthuri Patto, questioned why an outdated definition still remained on an online dictionary.
In 2003, a legal challenge was mounted to remove "Keling" from Kamus Dewan, but the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that the word could be retained as it was not malicious to any parties.
Photo source: Malaysiakini
Tue Mar 23 2021