PUTRAJAYA: President of the Association of Malaysian Poets (Penyair) Datuk Rahman Shaari has been named the 15th national laureate.

Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin in a press conference here today, said nine panel members who were involved in the selection of the 15th national laureate, met since September 2021 to decide on the 12 nominations, where three were shortlisted and Rahman was finally selected.

Radzi said the 15th National Laureate Award Ceremony would be officiated by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on a date to be announced later.

The award from the Malaysian government is presented to literary figures who write in the Malay language and make outstanding contributions continuously to the country’s literary development through their high quality creative works, thinking and literary activities.

Rahman will receive the Warkah Penghormatan Negara, a cash prize of RM60,000, in addition to sponsorship of RM500,000 to publish 50,000 copies of his works which will be bought by the government for distribution to schools, libraries, government departments and agencies.

He will also receive a living allowance of RM5,000 per month and be entitled to free medical service in the first-class ward in any government hospital and facilities to write and publish literary works as well as translate suitable works into foreign languages.

Rahman, currently a freelance writer, was born in Kampung Gial, Mata Ayer, Perlis on Sept 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 had been involved in the production of dictionaries, book compilations as well as script writing for stage and television dramas.

Rahman had won first prize in an essay and critical writing competition organised by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka in 1977, the Malaysian Literary Prize in the poetry category in 1976, 1982 and 1986 and the Federation of National Writers Association of Malaysia (Gapena) Poet Award in 2013. - Bernama