Those familiar with the Malaysian literary scene will know Mandarin Chinese is very much the second language, along with English, when it comes to publishing, with Malaysian Bahasa the main and official language among over 130 indigenous languages spoken in the country.

That inevitably means there is a lot of interest in China and its culture, so this week’s news that China Radio International (CRI) has partnered with Malaysia’s Institute of Language and Literature (DBP) to publish books on Chinese culture and history in the official Malay language will come as no surprise.

Abang Sallehuddin Abang Shokeran Director General of DBP, explained,

Malaysia and China have had a long-standing cooperation. We hope the people will get to know more about the arts and culture of the Chinese people because we have a very close relationship.

For CRI Selina Dong Xiaoping, CRI’s Malaysia representative, said,

We want to find an approach that is accessible to the public through publishing books, magazines, and videos on tourism or culture especially for Malaysians. Nowadays many people use social media and a lot of information is available. So we want to play a role in fostering mutual understanding between China and Malaysia with books of our own work.

China’s XinhuaNet has more details and images.

It’s not clear if these books will be published both in print and digital, but given the recognition of social media’s role it seems safe to presume there will be digital versions.

Malaysia will end this year with 80% of its population – 26.3 million people – online.