Thursday, March 01, 2012

Kota Buku (The Malaysian Book City)


Newly appointed General Manager (Pengurus Kanan) of Perbadanan Kota Buku, Encik Razin Abdul Rahman, insists that the function of Kota Buku is to facilitate the growth of private publishers in Malaysia and to not compete with them. Kota Buku’s aim is to oversee  and support the growth of the entire book industry in the country regardless of language. Towards this end, and as its first project,  Kota Buku will organise a monthly three-day-long, Pekan Sari Buku, the first one beginning on 23 March 2012, at Lanai Tuanku Abdul Rahman.  All publishers (traditional, fringe or self), be it in Bahasa, English, Mandarin or Tamil, are welcomed to participate. (The Kota Buku website is still under construction; so those interested in more information should contact the Kota Buku office, Tel:603-83217011, or email razinabdrahman@yahoo.com

Razin says, Kota Buku is looking at several other projects to support the publishing industry including the development of children’s literature, R&D of e-books for use in schools, digitisation of contemporary and classical Malaysian literature with print-on-demand (POD) and digital download possibilities, and others. Towards this end, Razin is willing to listen to all ideas and suggestions.

The idea for the Kota Buku has been up in the air for a while, and it has finally materialised as Perbadanan Kota Buku (Kota Buku) in July 2011. Its chairman is Tan Sri Dr Asiah Abu Samah (formerly DG of the Ministry of Education) and on 3 Jan 2012, Razin Abd Rahman (formerly with ITNM) was appointed as its GM. (He could be appointed the CEO, soon.)

Kota Buku will work with publishers, writers, graphic designers, illustrators and distributors to promote book-related activities.

A six-storey building on Jalan Raja Laut will become its headquarters in two to three years. The building is planned as a place for activities and research. But Razin also sees many activities happening at public venues and not necessarily inside buildings. The Kota Buku is a nationwide endeavour.

Currently, the Kota Buku office is in Cyberjaya, but will move to the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka premises in Kuala Lumpur. Razin is currently seeking to employ multi-racial staff for his budding organisation. (Email above)

Razin’s sincerity is not in question but, as he admits, as much as he would like to be politically agnostic, he cannot ignore the minefields. It would be interesting to see how he negotiates them, what with Faisal Tehrani’s latest book being banned by Jakim, and Pa Samad becoming a poster boy for certain politically incorrect causes (as some would see it).

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