Malaysia will lobby for Kuala Lumpur to become the UNESCO World Book Capital in 2020, in efforts to boost the reading culture among the community.
Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) Director-General Datuk Abdul Adzis Abas said if the title was awarded by UNESCO, it would bring a very large impact on the country, especially in the development of national tourism.
“It’s not easy to get the prestigious title. If we are successful in our lobby for the title, DBP will publish many books with content that can have an impact on the community,” he told Bernama when met after the launch of the UNESCO Malaysia Day in Kundasang near here Sunday.
According to Abdul Adzis, the title was awarded to a selected country for a period of one year, where various reading-based programmes would be held throughout the year.
“When we get the title, we will be asked by UNESCO to carry out book promotional activities related to literature, art and culture,” he explained.
Earlier, when launching the UNESCO Malaysia Day celebration, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, who is also Malaysian National Commission for UNESCO president, said Malaysia had achieved much success with UNESCO, including the Tourism and Culture Ministry’s efforts to raise the status of the local heritage under the Intangible Heritage Culture of UNESCO.
Among them, he said, were the ‘Dondang Sayang’ song, the Wangkang Festival in collaboration with the Chinese Government, and ‘pantun’ in cooperation with the Indonesian Government.
According to Mahdzir, with the various successes and accolades Malaysia had achieved through the country’s active involvement in UNESCO, Kuala Lumpur deserved to lobby for World Book Capital title.
Madrid was the first city to be awarded the title in 2001.
A total of 17 cities have been awarded the title since, including three in Asia – New Delhi, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Incheon, South Korea; while Athens, Greece will receive the title next year, and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates in 2019.