Jakarta, InfoPublik – Indonesian Education and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy opened Indonesia International Book Fair (IIBF) 2016 at the Jakarta Convention Center, Jakarta, Wednesday (9/28). Malaysian Education Minister Dato Seri Mahdzir Khalid was also present as guest of honor.

In his speech, Minister Muhadjir thanked the Association of Indonesian Publishers (IKAPI) for organizing the event.

"It is our responsibility to support the book publishing events and cooperate seriously with various parties, because readers are the heart of literacy world," he said.

Reading interest, he reminded, is more important than books availability. Although there are many books, people will not read books if they have low reading interest.

"Similarly, there is no point of a great number of readers if there are no books. That is what we are going to push, because our literacy level is so low. Based on recent data, our reading interest is five years late," he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Education Minister Dato Mahdzir said that he felt honored to be invited to the event. He hoped the cooperation with his counterpart would bring a positive impact in increasing reading interest.

As neighboring countries, he said, Indonesia and Malaysia has a very close relationship. In a book entitled “The Politics of Indonesian-Malaysian Relations”, the two countries relationship is like a brother and sister or bitter sweet relationship.

"Cultural similarities between the two countries can be found in almost all regions. The old saga told that the Malay region was including Malaysia and some part of Indonesia," Mahdzir concluded. (Translator: Wilda Stiana)