Friday, April 26

Sejarah Melayu text should be rewritten in modern writing style — Rais

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Information Communication and Culture will initiate efforts to rewrite the old texts of the Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals) in modern writing style so that it can easily be understood and used as interesting reading material for students.

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said that in this regard, the ministry would collaborate with the institutions of higher learning, particularly the Institute of Malay Civilisation, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI).

“We should give encouragement so that the Malay Annals can be made as reading material for primary and secondary schools and that the old texts are modernised although we retain the story line in its original narration.

“In this way, we can get a new centre of interest. If the Sejarah Melayu is left in its old form, it won’t grow much,” he told reporters after launching the exhibition on the Sulalatus Salatin Empire of the Melaka Malay Sultanate by Ismail Embong at the Balai Seni Visual Negara, here yesterday.

Asked on the targeted deadline for the ministry to realise the efforts to modernise the old texts, Rais said: “It depends on UPSI. If it can be done, the ministry will provide the encouragement and commensurate contribution. But we need one or two dedicated individuals to follow back the original text in the new language style.”

On the exhibition launched yesterday, Rais said it was the first time that the history of the Melaka Malay Sultanate was narrated in the form of art.He said the creation was most meaningful because Ismail had succeeded in highlighting the various aspects of the sultanate history by using the faces of the modern generation including the face of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in his drawings.

In addition, Rais said the ministry would also produce a special documentary on the contributions of Ismail Embong who had once become an invited artist when the ministry was then known as the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage. Entry to the exhibition, which began yesterday and ends June 30 at Gallery 1A, Balai Seni Visual Negara, is free of charge. The exhibition is open to the public every day from 10am until 6pm. — Bernama