7 national laureates to receive RM5,000 monthly living allowance

Six of the national laureates (front row) with Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Port Dickson MP Anwar Ibrahim and other officials at the finance ministry today.

PUTRAJAYA: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today announced a RM5,000 monthly living allowance for seven national laureates, saying their contributions should be recognised.

He said new national laureates will be included in the list as and when they are nominated.

“The monthly allowances is to ensure they continue to contribute to the community,” he said at a press conference to announce the contribution.

Lim said the allowance is also to show their recognition in their role in promoting the Malay language as a national language to unite the nation.

The seven are A Samad Said, Prof Muhammad Salleh, Noordin Hassan, Anwar Ridhwan, Ahmad Khamal Abdullah, Zurinah Hassan and Baha Zain.

The National Laureate or Sasterawan Negara, introduced in 1981, are individuals awarded for their contributions to Malay literature and is seen as the highest recognition for literary works by the government.

The inaugural award went to Kamaludin Muhammad (Keris Mas). Shahnon Ahmad won it the following year.

Usman Awang received the award in 1983, followed by A Samad Said in 1986.

Port Dickson MP Anwar Ibrahim, who was present at the press conference held at the finance ministry, said writers need to be recognised for their creativity.

“Some of their works have been translated to English and other languages. This should be encouraged,” he said

Anwar, who said he has a keen interest in literature, urged the people to understand and enjoy the creativity of the nation’s laureates.