The Origin of Negaraku

Now the Malaysian populace is increasingly vocal and critical. Some voices are definitely matured and factual, while some are…

Among recent controversial issues that were raised are our national flag and national anthem, NEGARAKU. Indonesians made the latter a big issue in 2009. Now some Malaysians themselves made it an (political) issue.

Do allow me to share the Quote from Wikipedia re the origin of our NEGARAKU:

“Terang Bulan is a song adopted from a famous song during the late 19th century in the French occupied territories in the Indian Ocean. The song was composed by Pierre-Jean de Béranger (1780-1857), a French lyricist. It became a popular French melody, and was prominent on the island of Mahé in Seychelles. The song’s popularity spread across the Indian Ocean and reached as far as the Malay Archipelago early in the 20th century. In 1901, it was presented as Perak State Anthem during installation ceremony of King Edward VII. In 1920s, an Indonesian Bangsawan made the first debut of the song while performing in Singapore. The melody soon became very popular among the people and was given the name Terang Bulan (Bright Moon), becoming a Malay ‘evergreen’, playing at parties, in cabarets and sung by almost everybody in the 1920s and 1930s.

Perak State Anthem

The Sultan of Perak, during his exile in Seychelles, was aware of the song’s popularity. 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 installation ceremony 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 becoming the state anthem of Perak.

Adoption as Malaysian National Anthem

The Chief Minister and Minister for Home Affairs of the then Federation of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman settled with Perak State Anthem as the National Anthem of the Federation, on account of its “traditional flavour”. The name was changed to NegaraKu, the lyrics were changed and popular replays of the songs in cabarets and parties were ceased as it is now proscribed by statute. When Malaysia was formed the song remains as the country’s national anthem.

The tune of Terang Bulan was adopted as Mamula Moon song by Felix Mendelssohn & His Hawaiian Serenaders in their album Paradise Isle in 1947.

Terang Bulan (original song)

Terang bulan

Terang di pinggir kali

Buaya timbul disangkalah mati

Jangan percaya mulutnya lelaki

Berani sumpah ‘tapi takut mati

Jangan percaya mulutnya lelaki

Berani sumpah ‘tapi takut mati

Waktu potong padi di tengah sawah

Sambil bernyanyi riuh rendah

Memotong padi semua orang

Sedari pagi sampai petang

Waktu potong padi di tengah sawah

Sambil bernyanyi riuh rendah

Bersenang hati sambil bersuka

Tolonglah kami bersama sama

Terang Bulan by Rudy Van Dalm, one of Indonesian Bands in late 40’s English translation

Moon Shine

The moon is shining

Moon shine reflects on the river

Floating crocodile thought to be dead

Don’t believe man’s word

Dare to pledge but afraid of dying

Whilst harvesting paddy in the field

Singing gaily

Everybody is harvesting paddy

morning past to evening (unnoticed)

Whilst harvesting paddy in the field

Singing gaily

Heart at ease while having fun

Help us together”

For my readers’ indulgence. Tqvm.


  1. #1 by sputjam on September 28, 2011 - 11:27 am

    There are many other great songs that instills patriotism that should have been considered as the national anthem.
    Similarly, out state flags are far more creative and symbolise the local culture than our Malaysian flag.

    We should call for a referendum to change both these national symbols. In my personal opinion,both national anthem and flag were done hurriedly and at the last moment with no feedback from the citizens. It could have been chosen at a moment of drunkeness after a bottle of whiskey. How can the citizens of the country accept something as important as the anthem and flag without taking into account their opinion and feedback.


  2. #2 by Markon on October 1, 2011 - 2:28 pm

    Stupid fool Sputjam.

    Flag was picked after national referendum back in the 50s out of three options.

    Terang Bulan lyrics was administered thru a committee of the 1952 cabinet after the first Malaya elections.

    Your opinions are lame Sputjam.


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