KL vying to be named World Book Capital

The KL Book Run was held together with the KL Car Free Morning event to gain support for the city’s attempt to be World Book Capital in 2020. — AHMAD ZAMIR/The Star

WHO knew books and running could be connected in the same event?

KL Book Run 2018 was part of a campaign to support Kuala Lumpur’s attempt to be named World Book Capital by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in 2020.

Held alongside the KL Car Free Morning event, it was organised by Permodalan Guru Malaysia Bhd and supported by OCBC KL Car Free Morning, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the Federal Territories Ministry at Dataran DBKL in Jalan Raja Laut.

Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin said the run, which drew 2,000 local and international participants, was a show of support by KL-ites who signed the declaration of support at the event.

“Being a world book capital will be good for the book industry and tourism as tourists and book lovers will visit the chosen capital, as what we saw in previous capitals like Bangkok and Athens.

“We will organise events leading up to 2020 and Unesco will be publicising the events to the world,” he said.

Abdul Wahab said the KL International Book Fair attracted two million visitors annually.
Abdul Wahab said the KL International Book Fair attracted two million visitors annually.

National Book Council of Malaysia director Abdul Wahab Ibrahim said the Education Ministry, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, National Book Council of Malaysia, and DBKL were pushing for Kuala Lumpur to be the world book capital.

He said some reasons why Kuala Lumpur should be chosen was that there were 27 public libraries in Kuala Lumpur and the KL International Book Fair attracted two million visitors annually.

Dr Amin said the culture and diversity of Malaysia was a unique point to be considered, too.

Athens in Greece was chosen as this year’s world book capital and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, was selected for next year.

The chosen city for 2020 will be announced by June.

A participant at the run, Norashida Sairan, said she looked forward to visiting the upcoming KL International Book Fair.

“I will buy some novels, and books for my children,” said the 34-year-old medical assistant from Cheras.

Speaking about the OCBC KL Car Free Morning, its implementation committee co-chairman Datuk Naim Mohamed said the objective was to promote unity, healthy lifestyle, family bonding and saving the environment.

It is open to the public for free.

“This is the fifth year we have organised the event, held every first and third Sunday of the month.

“We were contacted by organisers in Kuantan, Melaka, and Putrajaya, and three years ago, Singapore, who want to organise their own car-free events,” he said.

He said that while the public was encouraged to take public transport, most still preferred driving to the event.

“It is more about raising awareness. Since we began in 2013, we received increasing support from the public.

“Rapid Rail, the operator of Rapid KL’s LRT, monorail and MRT services, also supports the event by allowing full-sized bicycles on board the Rapid KL LRT on days when the KL Car-Free Morning is held,” he said.

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