Datuk Rahman Shaari, president of the Malaysian Poetry Association (Penyair), has been named the 15th National Laureate (Sasterawan Negara), the country’s highest literary honor.
Senior Minister of Education Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin in a press conference recently said that nine panel members who participated in the selection of the 15th national laureate, have been meeting since September 2021 to decide on the 12 nominations, three of which were shortlisted and Rahman was ultimately selected.
Radzi said the 15th National Laureates Awards Ceremony will be chaired by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on a date to be announced later.
The Malaysian Government Prize is awarded to literary personalities who write in the Bahasa Malay language and continuously make outstanding contributions to the country’s literary development through their high-quality creative works, critical thinking and literary pursuits.
Rahman will receive the Warkah Penghormatan Negara, a cash prize of RM60,000, in addition to a sponsorship of RM500,000 to publish 50,000 copies of his works which will be purchased by the government for distribution to schools, libraries, ministries and agencies governmental.
He will also receive a living allowance of RM5,000 per month and be entitled to free first-class medical service at any hospital and government facility. The allowance is also an incentive for him to write and publish literary works as well as to translate suitable works into foreign languages.
Rahman, currently a freelance writer, was born in Kampung Gial, Mata Ayer, Perlis on September 5, 1949 and was previously a teacher, language officer and lecturer at a public institute of higher learning.
He has also written 16 academic books, 10 novels and participated in the production of dictionaries, book compilations as well as script writing for theater and TV dramas.
Rahman had won first prize in an essay and critical writing competition organized by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka in 1977, the Malaysian Literary Prize in the poetry category in 1976, 1982 and 1986, and the Poet’s Prize of the Federation of National Writers Associations of Malaysia (Gapena) in 2013. – Bernama