My son is in standard 6 this year. He got back his Bahasa Malaysia paper 1 (One), which is on Tatabahasa.
I disagreed with the school on one question, which I thought was quite fundamental and straightforward.
The sentence was given (below) and students were asked whether it was correct or wrong:
"Mereka berdua sungguh amat bertuah kerana terpilih sebagai calon angkasawan negara."
For those of us Malaysians reasonably well versed with our national language, which I think I am, would you agree with me that the sentence (immediately) seems wrong. That is because there are two kata penguat being used consecutively, making it repetitious and redundant. I was very sure of this.
I even obtained some reference and advisory from Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka on the net, which confirmed that "sungguh amat" adalah salah kerana darjah penguat tidak boleh hadir beriringan (2010).
His BM teacher even provided me with a copy of the relevant page from the book. Which reads:
Dua unsur penguat boleh juga hadir berderetan sebelum kata adjektif contohnya, sungguh amat merdu, terlalu amat pedih , sangat kurang sopan.
I was flabbergasted. Undaunted, I searched for contact details of the 3 authors of the book. I found one, Professor Hashim Haji Musa.
I dialed his number and he picked up on the first ring. I introduced myself, my situation and asked him if he could confirm the matter. He was obliging and asked me for the page number.
What did I expect? He co-wrote the book, right?
So he said, ah yes, that is an exception whereby you are allowed to use sungguh amat and terlalu amat together and that would be considered correct. He reminded me, only these kata penguat may be used together.
My quest to defend what I believed to be the right answer ended here.
(image from wikipedia.org)