STUDENTS must read all types of books and not just their text books.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said reading books on a variety of subjects would only broaden their knowledge.
“Read in as many languages as you can understand, ... it can be in Bahasa Malaysia, English or any other language.
“It helps to improve our grammar and the way we write and speak,” he said at a ceremony at the National Library on Monday after he had been appointed a National Reading Icon.
He is the third icon to be appointed after Angkasawan Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor in 2009 and actress Datuk Michelle Yeoh in 2010.
Dr Mahathir said reading was much easier these days as people no longer had to depend on “real” books.
There is no reason why we should not read as we can also do so from our tablets and phones, he said.
Dr Mahathir, when asked later about the number of books he had read so far, said he had lost count.
“I usually read about three books at any one time,” he added.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Dr Mahathir was appointed as a national reading icon as he was a voracious reader.
“Reading has certainly helped in making him a leader with vision and knowledge.
“Although he was trained as a medical doctor, he is always brimming with ideas in various fields including economics, politics, law, culture and technology,” he said.
Muhyiddin who is also Education Minister, said the Education and the Information, Communications and Culture Ministries should work together to enhance the role of libraries and resource centres in schools.
He proposed that both ministries work on a joint strategy to upgrade the function and role of libraries and resource centres.
“As of today, there are a total of 12,382 libraries nationwide. Of the total, some 9,721 are resource centres in schools.
“I believe that these resource centres have great potential to improve the quality of their services,” he said.
Muhyiddin said that to be a developed society, the reading standard of the people had to be on par or better than those of developed countries.