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Thursday October 4, 2007

Rasa Sayang is Malaysia’s folk song too, says Rais

KUALA LUMPUR: The call by Indonesian lawmakers for action against Malaysia for using the Rasa Sayang folk song – which Indonesia claims to be its traditional song – in its Truly Asia tourism campaign is unrealistic, said Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim. 

The Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister said the issue should not have arisen as the song, like other folk songs such as Jauh Di Mata, Burung Pungguk and Terang Bulan, were songs of the Malay archipelago inherited by the people from their ancestors. 

“I think Indonesia or other parties will not be able to prove who the composer of the song (the Indonesian version being Rasa Sayange) was,” he told reporters at the breaking of fast organised by his ministry here on Tuesday. 

He was commenting on Indonesia’s House of Representatives member Hakam Naja, from the National Mandate Party, calling on his government to sue Malaysia over the use of Rasa Sayang in its tourism campaign. 

Chairman of the Golkar Party faction at the House, Priyo Budi Santoso, was also reported to have said the government needed to determine whether Malaysia was using the song without Indonesia’s permission. 

Rasa Sayange is believed to have originated from Maluku, Indonesia, where it was sung for generations by people of the island. 

“Malaysia can also say that some songs sung and recorded in Indonesia originated from this country for which it has not received any royalty payment,” argued Rais. 

Hakam also accused Malaysia of having claimed ownership of traditional Indonesian handicrafts like batik and wayang kulit puppets. 

On wayang kulit, often performed as a traditional form of entertainment in Malaysia, Rais said it had nothing to do with Indonesia as it originated from Hinduism. 

“Indonesia has no right to claim ownership over the wayang kulit as it was brought by the Hindu ruler Sri Vijaya in the seventh century and the performing art spread to Langkasuka (Kedah), Palembang, Batavia and Temasik,” he said. 

“But if Indonesia wants to pursue the matter, it will face a dead end and will also affect Malaysia-Indonesia relations,” he added. – Bernama  

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Rasa Sayang belongs to all


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