Efforts by the National Culture and Arts Department to popularise Malay songs among international students in the country should be emulated in upholding the national language, said Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim.
He said it was a unique way to encourage the use of Bahasa Malaysia.
“Its easy for us to popularise art through songs and music and this will become an icon, in my opinion, soon,” he said after attending the 2011 International Malay Songs Competition finals in Angkasapuri last night.
He emphasised that the competition needed to be continued annually so it could became a tradition locally and abroad.
Shehaladdin Gahal Hael from Yemen emerged the winner in the men’s category and Sa Pily from Cambodia in the women’s.
Runners up were Bambang Sulistiono and Annissa Armarosa, in the men and women categories respectively.
While third place went to Raja Reza Fahlevi and Syafiza Armeda, all from Indonesia.
The champions took home RM10,000 and a trophy, second place winners received RM8,000 and third place RM6,000.
Among the countries which participated were Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Yemen and Kazakhstan.