KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 -- The Ministry of Information Communication and Culture hopes that the launch of Dataran Merdeka as Dataran Budaya (Cultural Square) Kuala Lumpur can bring together various aspects of the arts and become a social corner capable of putting forth widely the concept of 1Malaysia.
Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said the activities at Dataran Budaya, put together from a combination of various aspects of art from foods to heritage arts like handicarfts, textiles, music and vocal art, can be a seen as unity and cooperation of all races to gather at one place in harmony and therefore reflect culture united in diversity that is the pillar for the country's development.
He said the Dataran Budaya, in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad building, can accommodate stalls for food, textiles, music material, artefacts, handicrafts and renowned books and would operate every Saturday from 10am till 10pm.
"The introduction of Dataran Budaya is a continuing struggle to instill national spirit and direction which can be indulged in by all levels of society and represents a combination of various aspects of culture to reflect the cultural values of Malaysian society.
"In the effort to bringing together various aspects of art from food to vocal art the ministry has asked for an allocation for the purpose of setting up an area to have cultural activities that can be participated in by all races and this can show the unity of races to come together in a harmonious atmosphere in the concept of 1Malaysia practised by the government," Rais told reporters after the launch of Dataran Budaya Kuala Lumpur 2009 and the 1Malaysia Self-Defence Arts Gathering at Dataran Merdeka here Saturday.
Some 2,140 adults and 1,140 children from various self-defence organisations, like Silat Gayong, Silat Cekak, Persatuan Okina-wan Shorin-Ryu Seibukan, KarateDo, Taekwondo and Silambam, took part.
He said the programme would be continued until the first evaluation was made by the ministry in August next year to see if it needed to be continued or if its form and approach needed to be changed.
Rais said the stalls at Dataran Budaya were open to all and those interested would only be imposed conditions and a minimum fee as the programme was to promote Malaysia and not to make profits.
Beside that Rais also said the programme at Dataran Budaya would be able to reduce the culture of 'lepak' (hanging-out) and the 'mat rempit' (illegal racers) as they took would be given the opportunity to participate in a healthy manner.
He said these groups had to be given space to express their feelings in their own way and to them motorcycles and music was an important element in their lifestyle and they must be given space so that they did not feel sidelined.
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