Friday August 22, 2003

Cabinet opts to retain original anthem


PETALING JAYA: Plans to rename the national anthem to Malaysiaku have been scrapped as Cabinet ministers have opted to retain the original Negaraku.
A senior official of the Information Ministry confirmed this, saying, “The Cabinet decided it was wise to stick to the original name.”
He also said there would not be much changes to the anthem.
The ministers made the final decision at its meeting yesterday after listening to several variations of the song submitted by the RTM orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra and the police and army orchestras.
“The only change, if you can consider it as such, is that the pace of the song will be slightly slower than the 1992 version which was done in march style,” said the source.
“In fact, the ‘new arrangement’ sounds almost like the 1957 version. The only difference is in the last line - Raja kita, selamat bertakhta - which will end in a crescendo,” he said.
“I think everyone will be happy after they have listened to it. And I can assure you there will be no reason to sensationalise the issue,” he said.
Plans to unveil a new version of Malaysia’s national anthem came about following complaints that the 1992 upbeat version failed to induce patriotic feelings among Malaysians.
However, the suggestion received mixed response from Malaysians who felt that the original Negaraku should be retained.
Some even wrote to newspapers and called radio stations to protest against any changes to the anthem.
The ministry plans to air the revised anthem at the stroke of midnight on Aug 31.
Negaraku has been the national anthem since 1957, being chosen by the first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, from more than 500 contenders.
The tune is based on the state anthem of Perak, which borrowed its melody from an old Malay song of the 1930s, Terang Bulan.
History has it that Terang Bulan (Bright Moon) was a popular song from the island of Mahe in the Seychelles, where a former Perak sultan was exiled by the British.
A French band used to play the tune on the island.
The song was later given Malay lyrics and made into a love ballad.
Though there are no records of the origins of the melody, it is believed that the real composer was Pierre Jean de Beranger, a well-known 19th century French poet and composer.