KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 — The essence of the message was the same, but the approach a little different, when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob chose poetry to convey his message of love for the country.

Being the guest of honour at the poetry programme here last night, the premier apologised prior to beginning his poem entitled Keluarga Malaysia, admitting that he was used to delivering speeches, but not so much a poem.

“I’m sorry if there’s any problem (with my poem reading), I just learned from the teacher,” he said briefly before presenting his poem at the main event of the Keluarga Malaysia Merdeka Poetry Tour 2022 which was also attended by Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa.

The prime minister, in his poem, highlighted the importance of people maintaining tolerance, respect and love for the country despite their differences in religious beliefs and culture.

The two-hour ceremony also saw the launch of the Keluarga Malaysia Poetry collection by the Prime Minister and the opening poetry trio performance by Razali Mohd Yusof, Dr Jessica Ong Hai Liaw and Dr Raja Rajeswari Seetha Raman.

The first poem entitled Kita Jagai Merdeka was then read by Malaysian Poetry Association (Penyair) president Datuk Rahman Shaari, who was announced as the 15th National Laureate on June 22.

The poetry tour programme is being organised by Penyair in collaboration with Institut Kepimpinan Kamarzaman (IKK), Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) and the Royale Chulan Hotel.

The first series of the tour kicked off at Universiti Putra Malaysia on Aug 8, followed by Universiti Malaysia Perlis (Aug 13) and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Aug 20).

The closing of the programme will take place at Universiti Malaysia Sabah on Sept 14. — Bernama