THE Cabinet has issued a directive for five ministries to work together to create a reading culture, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mahadzir Mohd Khir.
He said representatives from the Education, Housing and Local Government, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Culture, Arts and Heritage and Information ministries will meet to discuss ways to make reading a habit among Malaysians.
Mahadzir said that the Education Ministry had proposed better library collections in school resource centres, which would be manned by permanent library officers.
Local Government Department deputy director-general Mohd Sabri Yusoff would like developers to provide libraries in big housing estates and community halls for smaller ones.
The Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry sees itself playing a role in encouraging Malaysians to read through poetry recitals and cultural performances (such as mak yong and wayang kulit).
In fact, there was already a plan to incorporate these ideas into the ministry's cultural programmes like Citrabudaya, said its rural development and international relations assistant secretary Ezlan Mat Lajis.
Mahadzir urged the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to study the feasibility of reducing book prices, both imported and local.
“Perhaps, foreign book titles could be printed here, and import tax on printing presses and papers could be lowered,” he said at a function at the National Library Malaysia to launch reading month on Monday.
A survey on the reading profile of Malaysians would be conducted soon in collaboration with the Statistics Department, he added.
”If possible, we want advertisements for the National Reading Month to be on prime time television, and perhaps television and radio stations can come up with programmes on reading.” – Bernama
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