The Book City, which the government plans to set up by end of this year, will provide an avenue for publishers and writers to expand the scope and quality of their work, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.The Book City project was proposed back in 2006, and I had several questions and reservations back then. (And I have to point out, splitting semantic hairs, that a single building is hardly a "city" ...) But I do hope that something good comes of this ...
He said that the project, coordinated by the Education Ministry, would also be an avenue for the country's literary fans to enjoy quality books and spur the country's book industry to greater heights.
"We already have a building in Kuala Lumpur which will be turned into a Teachers' Museum and Book City. We will start the project by end of this year at the cost of RM20 million ..."
He said interested parties could rent a space to display their publications at the Book City.
Muhyiddin who is Education Minister, also said that the ministry was carrying out studies to improve literature curriculum in school.
"We are looking into the types of books to be used and for which level. Literature is taught in secondary school and at university level, so we want to coordinate the curriculum so that there will be continuity," he said.
To a question, Muhyiddin said the government normally would not block the entry of literary works from abroad so long as they did not create problems for the readers.
I am also glad that studies are being carried out on the study of literature in schools. Let's hope for some texts the students can really enjoy and plenty of support for teachers. But I'm not too clear what the Muhyiddin means by saying the Ministry plans to coordinate literature studies in schools with those at the universities :
... to ensure the teaching of literature in schools remains relevant to the aspiration to build a nation that is not only progressive, but united and peaceful ...Can, and even should, literature be looked at in these terms?
It's good that a journalist asked about the censorship of foreign books (yes, keep up the pressure!) but what exactly does "as long as they did not create a problem for readers" actually mean? Vague vague vague!!