Rais Yatim urges Malays to don the Songkok to reflect identity


Negri Sembilan Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Tan Sri Rais Yatim (left) during the Negri Sembilan Bersatu Tanjak-wearing tradition programme in Seremban September 16, 2019. — Bernama pic
Negri Sembilan Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Tan Sri Rais Yatim (left) during the Negri Sembilan Bersatu Tanjak-wearing tradition programme in Seremban September 16, 2019. — Bernama pic

SEREMBAN, Sept 16 — Negri Sembilan Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chief Tan Sri Rais Yatim has urged the Malays in the country to wear the songkok (headdress) to reflect their cultural identity.

“We are proud to see the Malays wear a destar, the tanjak and the tengkolok. The Malays in their heydays wore songkok and fought for the independence of Malaysia clad in one.

“Wearing the songkok will provide a very broad symbol. Apart from the destar and the ketayap (skull cap) which we are fond of putting on, wearing the songkok is synonymous with our characteristics.

“The Arabs do not wear the songkok, the only people who wear it are the Malays in Malaysia and the Archipelago (Indonesia, Singapore and South Thailand). So, this will give a strong sense of cultural identity to our people and to the population of nearly 400 million, “he told reporters after the closing ceremony of the Negri Sembilan Bersatu Tanjak-wearing tradition programme organised by Armada, the youth wing of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia here today.

He added that wearing a songkok could contribute to a sense of belonging, a Malay identity and a mark of respect.

“These days, most of us wear the songkok when we meet our King and Sultan. So, what is wrong with dressing up in songkok like how the English folks used to wear hats,” he said.

Meanwhile, in his speech at the event, he said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be launching a heritage and cultural charter at the Islamic Arts Museum, Kuala Lumpur on Sept 20.

“In this regard, we are asking the Prime Minister to protect the cultural heritage of our homeland, the basis of the Malay culture. About 20 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will participate in the event.

“This means that as we celebrate Malaysia Day, the Malays do not forget their culture and heritage. What we hope is that the Malays will not lose their identity.

“It is not about wearing beautiful Malay attire, but a way of life and we want to create high standards for ourselves,” he said. — Bernama