THE introduction of a 'Malay language translation' of police ranks, which leaves them sounding almost identical to the original English version has put Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at odds with the Language and Literary Council. Sub-inspector now becomes sab-inspektor, chief inspector becomes cif-inspektor ('c' in Malay phonetics is pronounced 'ch'), assistant superintendent of police becomes asisten superintenden polis and inspector-general of police becomes inspektor-jeneral polis. A police official said the old English abbreviations would be retained so that inspektor-jeneral would still be IGP. The director of management, Jamil Johari, said the public was more familiar with the English abbreviations of ranks than the literal Malay translations. For example, the term ACP, for Assistant Commissioner of Police, was 'more well understood by the public' than the Bahasa Melayu penolong pesuruhjaya polis. The use of Malayanised English words is not uncommon but Malay traditionalists take strong exception to such usage. The director-general of the Language and Literary Council, Abdul Aziz Deraman, said the police action had undermined the use of Bahasa Melayu, the Malay language, as the national language. It 'showed disrespect' for the National Language Act, which established Malay as the country's pre-eminent tongue. But Dr Mahathir, who has responsibility for the police force as Home Minister, said Malaysia should adopt terminologies which foreigners could understand. 'For example, professor is not a Malay word but we still use it as a term which is accepted worldwide,' he said. 'If we use the Malay word pendita [scholar], the world will not know it.' He said the police had expressed their desire for the change. Dr Mahathir said the Language and Literary Council had itself created Bahasa Melayu terminology from English words in the past. 'And this is what is being done by the police now.'