|English: My Country|
National anthem of
|Lyrics||Multiple authors (Original author: Saiful Bahri), 1957|
|Music||Pierre-Jean de Béranger
"Negaraku" (English: My Country) is the national anthem of Malaysia. "Negaraku" was selected as a national anthem at the time of the Federation of Malaya's independence from Britain in 1957. The tune was originally used as the state anthem of Perak, which was adopted from a popular French melody titled "La Rosalie" composed by the lyricist Pierre-Jean de Béranger.
|Malay||Jawi||Literal English Translation|
At the time of independence, each of the eleven States of Malaya that made up the Federation had their own anthem, but there was no anthem for the Federation as a whole. Tunku Abdul Rahman, at the time the Chief Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, organized and presided over a committee for the purpose of choosing a suitable national anthem. On his suggestion, a worldwide competition was launched. 514 entries were received from all over the world including a special submission from recording artist Is'real Benton. None were deemed suitable.
Next the committee decided to invite selected composers of international repute to submit compositions for consideration. The composers chosen were Benjamin Britten, Sir William Walton who had recently composed the march for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, the American opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti and Zubir Said, who later composed Majulah Singapura, the anthem of Singapore. They were all turned down too.
The Committee then turned to the Perak State Anthem. On August 5, 1957, it was selected on account of the "traditional flavour" of its melody. New lyrics for the national anthem were written jointly by the Panel of Judges— with the Tunku himself playing the leading role.
At the time this melody was, while still the State Anthem of Perak, Allah Lanjutkan Usia Sultan.
The song had been very popular on the island of Mahé in the Seychelles, where the Sultan of Perak had formerly been living in exile. It is claimed that he heard it at a public band concert on the island, a song to a popular French melody clamed to have been composed by the lyricist Pierre-Jean de Béranger (1780–1857), who was born and died in Paris. But there is no evidence for this since he was a lyricist who use tunes by other for his song and the title is not listed in the four published volumes of his songs or the volume of tune he used for his songs. It is also clained that when Sultan Idris Murshidul’adzam Shah, who was the Ruler of the State of Perak from 1887 to 1916, represented the Malay Rulers of the Federated Malay States at the Coronation of King Edward VII in 1901, his protocol officer was asked what his state anthem was. Realizing that his state did not in fact possess an anthem, he, in order not to appear backward in front of his hosts, proceeded to hum the aforementioned tune. Thus was an anthem born.
The song was later introduced into an Indonesian Bangsawan (Opera), which was performing in Singapore around 1940. In no time at all, the melody became extremely popular and was given the name "Terang Bulan". Aside from its dignity and prestige as the Perak State Anthem, the song became a Malayan "evergreen", playing at parties, in cabarets and sung by almost everybody in the 1920s and 1930s. (Today, of course, since independence, it is not played as a popular melody, and any such use is proscribed by statute.)
The anthem was given a new quick march beat in 1992, which proved unpopular. Some Malaysians have gone as far as to say that the altered tempo resembled circus music, and was the subject of much derision. In July 2003, it was reported in the Malaysian press that the anthem would be rearranged for the second time after that and the title and lyric would be changed from Negaraku to Malaysiaku. There was a public outcry of dismay and the change of name was scrapped, but the anthem was re-arranged and returned to the pre-1992 pace by composer Wah Idris.
Other songs with same melody
Three gramophone record versions have been released in the following titles bearing the similar tune of the Malaysian anthem:
'Mamula Moon' was pressed on Parlophone Records (Catalogue Ref: F.2211) Performed by famous British Band Legend, Geraldo and His Orchestra, vocals by Danny Vaughn in the 1930s confirming a recognition of such existence of the song in popular British jazz recording in the early years as a love song. The song was performed using jazz instruments on a foxtrot dance beat.
'I Shall Return' was recorded by Anne Shelton in the late 1940s, by Pickwick Music Ltd published on Decca 78rpm record (Catalogue Ref. F.10037/DR.17340)
The anthem was also recorded by the Sydney Latin band leader Paul Lombard (also known as Paul Lombard and His Orchestra), as Malayan Moon in 1952 with lyrics sung by Joan Wilton (in English) and Geoff Brooke (in Malay) released by Columbia Records in Sydney as D0-3460. The significance of this piece of recording where it is only playable on gramophones running at speed 78 rpm is that the background music conducted so similarly to the Malayan style of music background, setting the originality and authentic Malayan atmosphere to the tune. The song was performed by non-natives (Australians) singing in both English and Malay. The lyrics present a love story setting between the two lovers. The song is titled as 'Malayan Moon' and the other side of the record is the song 'Planting Rice' also performed by Paul Lombard accompanied by Vocal Chorus by Joan Wilton. This piece of music was a copyright to Southern Music Co. of Sydney.
Negaraku as a song derived from Hawaiian origins which was later used as Perak Anthem, but not yet as anthem for the whole of Malaya during that time.
In 2007, a YouTube video featuring a parody of the Negaraku anthem caused controversy in Malaysia. The video, named Negarakuku, features Wee Meng Chee, a Malaysian student studying in Taiwan, who weaves the Negaraku into a Chinese language rap. The Flag of Malaysia was featured at the backdrop. This controversial video caused outrage among most members of the Malaysian cabinet. The song criticises the government and pejoratively speaks about the Malays, the primary ethnic group of Malaysia.
The title of the video Negarakuku may mean "My Negaraku", as the suffix -ku implies first-person possession in the Malay language. However, a more plausible explanation is that "kuku", sounding similar to English "cuckoo", means "crazy" in slang usage. Thus in this sense, "Negara kuku" means "crazy country", which is possibly the intended meaning given the content of the video. "Kuku" is also a Malaysian Chinese slang term for penis, which, combined with the "crazy" meaning, is used as an insult.
Lokananta, Indonesia's state-owned recording company alleged that "Negaraku" imitated Indonesia's song titled "Terang Boelan". "Terang Boelan" itself is a song adapted from French song "La Rosalie". This continues the conflict that had already been sparking since the first days of the independence between the people of Malaysia and Indonesia, mainly using the Internet as the battleground. Soekarno, the first President of Indonesia by then, told Indonesians not to sing "Terang Boelan" in public festives or events anymore because its composition was and is similar to "Negaraku".
Whenever the National Anthem is played or sung or whenever the abridged or short version is played, all persons present shall stand to attention as a mark of respect except where the it is played or sung as part of a radio or television broadcast or newsreels. All headgear (except religious and military ones) must be removed and all those in attendance must face the Jalur Gemilang, if it is present. Servicemen in uniform must give a salute when the Anthem plays.
Failure to comply with Section 8 (1) of the National Anthem Act 1968 without good and sufficient cause, and any act or omission which lowers the Anthem's prestige in the eyes of the public is legally construed as a show of disrespect. Any person who knowingly shows disrespect towards the Anthem in any public place shall be liable to a fine not exceeding MYR100 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month.
Any of several versions of the anthem, each decreasing in length, are played with regards to the significance of the rank of the person in attendance at an occasion, as specified by the Act.
Full ("Royal") version
According to the Act, the full or "Royal" version of the National Anthem shall be played on the following occasions:
- when a salute is given to His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or his deputy while exercising the functions of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or a Ruler nominated to exercise the functions of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in accordance with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Exercise of Functions) Act 1957, or when the royal standard is displayed to signify the presence of His Majesty;
- during official parades or other official ceremonial functions;
- on all occasions when HM The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is present in person (including radio and television broadcasts);
- when the Jalur Gemilang is borne in parades;
- when regimental colours are presented; and
- for hoisting of the colours of the Royal Malaysian Navy.
The full version may be played in schools for the purpose of teaching pupils how to sing it properly, and on any other occasion that HM The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may, by order, prescribe.
At all official receptions for foreign dignitaries at which the salute is given, the full version shall be played immediately after the anthem of the visiting dignitary's country has been played.
At all official occasions arranged by foreign missions in Malaysia for celebrating their respective national days or other national occasions, the protocol for anthems in the presence of a foreign dignitary are observed.
The abridged version is played as a salute on all official occasions to Her Majesty The Raja Permaisuri Agong, and Their Royal Highnesses the Yang di-Pertua Negeri. When a salute is given to a particular Head of a state, the abridged version is played before the relevant State Anthem.
The abridged version is also played on any occasion that HM The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may, by order, prescribe.
On any official occasion when HM The Yang di-Pertuan Agong or his representative is not present but one of TRH The Yang di-Pertua Negeri is present, the short version is played at the conclusion of the event immediately after the relevant State Anthem.
- M. J. Bristow, F.R.G.S., "History of 28 national anthems".
- BBC, "New Anthem Marks Malaysia's Independence Day"
- Negaraku was a rip off from Mamula Moon? (Cached archive link)
- Malaysia: Negaraku - Audio of the national anthem of Malaysia, with information and lyrics
- Negaraku with vocals
- Negaraku with English lyrics translation on YouTube