KUCHING: The uniqueness of Borneo can be a source for academic writing as well as creative writing, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.
“Apart from the culture, language and wealth of biodiversity, there should also be an increment in biographies of imminent leaders of Sarawak who have contributed to the development of the state,” he said at the opening of inaugural International Conference on Borneo Book Publishing & Borneo Books 2017, while also challenging more people to read and write.
He encouraged everyone to increase the number of book titles about Sarawak, and for libraries to buy books by local writers.
A total of 11 new books were also launched during the conference, including ‘Sarawak Folktales’ by Heidi Munan, ‘Dari Pahang ke Borneo’ by Abdul Halim Othman, and ‘Pantun Melayu Sarawak’ by Mary Fatimah Subet.
Borneo, the third largest island in the world, is rich in culture, language, history, flora and fauna. Sarawak has more than 40 ethnic groups with distinct languages, cultures and lifestyles.
“It will be beneficial if we can write about each ethnic group so that we not only preserve the indigenous knowledge but also, we may be able to understand each other better,” Uggah said.
To increase the number of local books, Unimas Publisher has set a target of publishing at least 30 titles per year.
Malaysia has to publish at least 2,700 titles per year to be on par with countries like the USA, United Kingdom and China. Based on the country’s population, Malaysia should be publishing around 30,000 to 40,000 titles but there are less than 20,000 titles published.