CONTEST......Press Conference Left to Right: Mohd Aziz Mahmod, JAKIM Datuk Amri A. Suratman, Director of Sabah Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JHEAINS).
By : M. IZHAM HASHIM
THE ANNUAL National Nasyid Festival takes centre-stage this year, as 13 nasyid teams across the nation converged in Kota Kinabalu to compete in the finals, which begin today.
Formerly held annually in Kuala Lumpur, the festival and the nationwide competition are taking place on 7-8 December at Wisma MUIS in Kota Kinabalu, thus marking the first venue change since the national competition became an annual event.
" The five winning teams from each modern and traditional nasyid category will advance to the finals this Saturday, at Dewan Saadah, Wisma MUIS," Sabah Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JHEINS) director Datuk Amri A. Suratman told reporters when announcing the event during a press conference here yesterday.
According to Datuk Amri , the top three finalists will be awarded RM10,000, RM8,000 and RM5,000; while an additional RM2,000 cash prize will go to winners of the best performance and lyrics categories.
"Nasyid teams from all over the nation have been gathering in Kota Kinabalu since the 4 December, therefore we'll be organising a dinner to welcome the contestants tonight. There is even a contingent from the Prime Ministers Department taking place in the competition. Amri said Terengganu and Perlis were unable to send their teams because of 'unavoidable circumstances'.
Head of State, Tun Juhar Mahiruddin will grace the final round of active competition, accompanied by Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.
This year, the state government introduced two separate ethnic nasyid competitions featuring Bajau and Dusun performances. This took place last month as a prelude to the main event. According to Dr Amri, both competitions were the first of its kind in Malaysia, and Jheains is expected to submit an official proposal to the national event committee to request for their inclusion in the program next year.
Sabah nasyid teams are strong favourites owing to their outstanding achievement in winning the first prize in almost 10 consecutive years.
Nashid or Anasheed in Arabic is a term used to describe a form of Islamic music sung in a group that closely resembles a choir and is usually accompanied by percussion instruments. (Insight Sabah)