Malaysia needs more published writers!
By Jude Toyat
The National Book Development Foundation (YPBN) urged educators in Sarawak to get involved in writing and producing books to help raise the standard of living and education.
Its chairman Hasan Hamzah reasoned that educators and teachers were well-positioned to write as they are constantly exposed to a wide diversity of people from different social backgrounds.
“Starting 2016 to 2020, we encourage members of the public, especially teachers and fellow educators at all levels to compose books, either printed or online, to achieve the target of 30,000 copies of new books for the whole country.
“At least from Sarawak we will be able to produce 2,000 to 3,000 copies of books of various genres that will be uploaded to our website and for those books that are really good, we have printed for sale,” he said during a press conference on the Malaysia Book Expo held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching on March 14.
Hasan mentioned that the sales revenue from books selected for print will also be divided among writers, authors and publishers.
The country produces at least more than 50 per cent of the recommended number of books for its population of more than 30 million people according to the conditions set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Nevertheless, YPBN has observed that book publications have been very low since 15 years ago.
As such, it needs greater cooperation among non-governmental organisations, private sectors and state government to strengthen their efforts to achieve better results.
Hasan also encouraged members of the public to visit the Malaysia Book Expo that will start from March 15 to 20 in conjunction with the school holidays.
YPBN in collaboration with the National Writers’ Affiliation, Book City Corporation and the Malaysian Institute of Translation & Books has brought in more than 500,000 books at the expo.
“This expo will help to create the awareness for all parties to initiate steps to write and publish their own books in addition, apart from giving up to 90 per cent discounts on books here,” he said.
Hasan also revealed that according to UNESCO standards, to achieve a more developed country, for every one million people of the population, at least 1,000 books must be issued per year.
Among the activities organised during the expo include the Sarawak Book Awards ceremony, the announcement of Top 10 Finalists for the National Book Award: Telenovela Award to be held at Dewan Merdeka, Putra World Trade Centre on June 3, World Book Day celebration and ‘Perhimpunan Memperkasa Sasterawan Sarawak’.
Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s wife Toh Puan Datuk Seri Ragad Kurdi Taib will be presenting several awards including the ‘Anugerah Penjilid Buku’, ‘Anugerah Pengarang Prolifik’, ‘Anugerah Buku Popular’, ‘Anugerah Tokoh Buku Sarawak’, and ‘Anugerah Tokoh Penulis Sarawak’ to the winners at the Sarawak Book Awards to be held at BCCK on March 16 from 2.30pm onwards.
More than 50,000 visitors are expected to visit the five-day expo at BCCK.
Also attending the press conference was Yayasan Pembangunan Buku Negara Sarawak Branch director Jalil Abdul Rahman.