I have been besieged with enquiries as to when this entry is gonna be up by good friends in the industry. I believe I’m the last amongst my fellow blog-mates who have published an entry on the proper, even if I had posted two filler entries before this as teasers. I did point out the various responsibilities and commitments I have before this, with blogging somewhere at the back. The advantage my fellow peers have over me is that most, if not all of them, are still swinging singles, so time, as I presume, is basically on their side. But it’s a good thing that more of them are around. At least you’ll get to read different perspectives and interpretations and not wait for mine to be up so soon. So for those who had been waiting patiently for this entry, your wait is over. Better late than never right??? So where do I begin??? Seems like I have to start with a bit of history, being the long-winded storyteller that I am. 🙂

Between the 50s and early 80s, even though I did not experience it, I guess it is safe to say Singapore was the hub of the Malay entertainment industry both sides of the Causeway, thanks in part to the success of the Jalan Ampas era. A lot of household names came from this country or crossed the Johor Straits. It was just sad that when the Jalan Ampas studios closed down, it was also the signal that those good old days had run its course. A shift in power thus began in Kuala Lumpur and naturally our talented musicians, composers, lyricists, actors and producers chose to spread their wings and fly the nest where the grass is greener. Whisper it softly but I strongly believe the Malaysian entertainment industry is where and how it is now, thanks to our people, who have mostly given up their nationalities and made the place their home. If one bothers to do a bit of  history investigating, you would be surprised by the number of movers and shakers there who were born here.

Calm before the storm…

But sadly even in the past when the entertainment scene was booming over here, I believe there wasn’t any form of awards ceremony, most notably in music, to reward and recognise the efforts of these talented people. Even in Malaysia, the very first music awards show to recognise the best songs of the year only began in 1986 (Juara Lagu). The more prestigious Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) event only began slightly later in 1994 to recognise the efforts of the music makers. Right now, they have so many awards shows that I’ve kinda lost track on each and everyone of them. They can afford to have that many seeing how big their industry is, with a consumer base about four times more than our total population. Making a full-time career out of the industry is also feasible. Over here, it is difficult to do so. Most of our artistes are doing it part-time and having day jobs to sustain a living. For those doing it full-time, I really take my hat off to them for having the will, faith, patience, perseverence and belief to succeed. May their efforts bring them the rewards they so deserved.

Thanks to Anugerah Planet Muzik (APM) and the efforts by Mediacorp Radio‘s Warna 94.2FM & RIA 89.7FM, over the past nine years we have seen a renaissance of sorts, with more local acts coming to the fore and being brave enough to venture where most wouldn’t have dared in the past. The birth of Singapore Idol in a way, also provided a platform for young upstarts to showcase their talents. For those who did not succeed in their Idol journey, some have disappeared, while others have built on their existence, adding colour and to the growing industry. And so, it was definitely the right time to have our very own music awards ceremony, albeit it took a long time to materialise, and break away from having to latch onto the APM franchise, which has mostly been dominated by the other regional acts. Seeing how difficult it was for it to even begin in the first place, with the postponement of the event scheduled to be held last year, I certainly did not have high hopes nor expected too much out of it. Even this year’s event had its own pitfalls and obstacles to overcome, but am just glad that it finally took off.

No prizes for guessing who they’re rooting for…

The month leading up to the event, mini controversies arose as I observed quite a number of dissenting voices from the various artiste fan clubs on why so-and-so were nominated when their albums were released in 2008 but still qualified, when the press release clearly stated and I quote from it, “Nominations are open to singles, EPs or albums that were released in Singapore from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2009.” Then there were also unhappy voices on why certain artistes were nominated under the Best New Artiste category when they have been around for years in the local entertainment industry. There were also artistes who have had hit singles in years past being included in their albums released in 2008 / 2009. I took the opportunity to ask the good people at Suria and also RIA 89.7FM‘s Programme Director, Mr. Hassan Salleh, as to why such dissent could arise in the internet forums, with all the mudslinging being bandied about. More or less what was answered were quite satisfactory in my opinion.

Even though the press release stated as I had mentioned above, the qualification process was actually based on songs being played on air. So if for instance Artiste A released an album in 2008, his / her song would have to be played in 2009 to qualify. I know it sounds a bit confusing, especially since certain songs I know only started airing this year, but I’m not part of the judging panel to dispute. Anyway if I were to look at it in the bigger picture, this is afterall the very first music awards show that the respective organisers had worked hard to realise. Looking at the small industry of ours, we should not be too rigid on our first attempt, which was why I said I did not have too high an expectation on this show. If my memory does not fail me, I thought I remembered reading / hearing Ms. Zakiah Halim saying that those who were assessed for last year’s postponed event would also be able to qualify again for assessment in this year’s event. So I guess for those who are still sore over it, to try and exercise a wee bit of leniency.

I know awards would raise one’s favourite artiste to another level, but at the same time we want the whole industry to have the opportunity not to be left out, which was perhaps why there were quite a lot of nominations, 152 if I’m not mistaken. Even then, some of our local artistes like Aliff Aziz, did not even send their applications for consideration. Maybe for future events, the rules would be tightened slightly. I’m sure they will learn from the experience. For those who think that the experience of co-organising APM all these years would help in producing a better local version, I believe, both are different ball games altogether. So we should not be too quick to rant and cry foul just because we feel that certain things that were done reeked of injustice. We could go on and on debating but at the end of the day, the idea of having an awards ceremony like is to honour the hard work done by our artistes.

Yes, I know there are still voices that complain of having to “invest” $20.00 per application / nomination and wondering what happened to all that money at the end of the day, moreso if the artistes had sent many applications only to see themselves not being nominated in the end. This same complaint has been going on since APM (from what I read in certain blogs) and why it is only restricted to our local acts and not imposed on the regional ones. Truthfully, I’m not in the right position to answer nor defend the allegations made as this is also news to me. Maybe this niggling problem could be discussed through the proper channels. I’m sure with the advent of Malay Artistes Association (MAA), this could be discussed diplomatically between the artistes and the organisers of the awards shows on any problems the artistes might have, especially when it comes to the touchy topic of money. I could be wrong as I’m just an entertainment blogger who blogs based on personal observations. Which is why the MAA has a responsibility to bring up this problem to the relevant authorities to quell the feeling of uncertainty and unhappiness being felt by the artistes.

All these years, I keep on hearing the same thing on trophies awarded should be supplemented with monetary awards, when the artistes had invested so much in producing their EPs, singles or albums. As much as I would like to see monetary awards being introduced and given out along with the trophies, personally my take is that the money they “invested” all these while, could have been channeled to the various administration matters pertaining to the awards show. We also have to be realistic in that we’re not like Malaysia where they can have one telecommunications company sponsoring an event and reaping benefits afterwards. Over here, we might have two major telecommunications companies, but even they are finding it difficult to secure broadcasting rights for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in South Africa, which shows that even with a large consumer base, it is not easy as it seems. On the topic of sponsorship, there are possibly politics involved (again I could be wrong), and I do not want to take up the extra space talking about it.

For now, let’s just set aside our respective grievances and be thankful that we finally have an awards show we can be proud to call our own. Even the Anugerah franchise started off humbly and look how far it has grown with such good prizes being offered to the winners. Let’s just pray that our industry will grow, attract the good sponsors so that we can finally realise our dreams of better-produced shows and better prizes on offer. Right, I guess I’ve blabbered and sidetracked a bit too much than to discuss what I had set out to do. My thoughts on the show as well as captioned photographs of the performances that night will follow henceforth. For the record, the two-hour live show was graced by Mr Raymond Lim, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs

Up for grabs, the trophy which was designed by Meyvi Wedelia, a year 3 Visual Communication student from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). Its design symbolised reverberation – a reflection of sound and echo signifying the awards show’s fluid music expression. Somehow, it didn’t go down too well with me nor my fellow blogmates. Heck I think a lot of people were not that into the design. Cos it looked woodenish, and does not have elements of music or related to the event. At least the Anugerah and Anugerah Planet Muzik trophies were nicer on the eyes. But what do I know??? I’m not an arty farty person in the first place…

The theme for the night was “Rock Nation” and it was only apt that they began the show singing Lovehunter‘s old pop rock hit back in the 90s, “Berpindah Minda“, with a hip-hop twist of its own performed by advocates of the genre in Sleeq, Roze Kasmani, Afwan of Juz-B, Zul Mystroe and Daly of now-defunct Ahli Fiqir. They were ably backed up by Styles From Beyond, or at least a few of its members whom I recognise from the dancers on stage. Though I liked the fresh arrangement and updated lyrics to suit the occasion and hip-hop performers, I could not help but notice that everyone was trying to outperform the other, making it a mish-mash of sorts. Being part of the live audience, I initially thought Syarif, Afwan & Roze had forgotten their lyrics. However upon watching the repeat telecast, I realised it was due to the music being a bit too loud and drowning their voices in the process. Still, due credit should be given to all for opening the show with much-needed zest and energy.

Fauzie Laily & Fiza O – Hosts for the night’s event…

The accompanying live band being orchaestrated by none other than Mr Indra Shahrir

And the back-up singers consisting of Anugerah 2009 alumnus Ize SulimanNani Sulaiman, Afiqah and Azhar Raz

Presenters of the first two awards of the night – Nity Baizura of RIA 89.7FM & Art Fazil

Revalina shocked many when they won the Anugerah Duo / Kumpulan Baru Terbaik (Best New Duo / Group award). Industry observers had picked Diorama for their fresh and stable musical direction whereas yours truly had gone for The Sallys. This win showed that we had underestimated the potential this trio have as a unit. However, they need to work hard to establish the promise that comes along with winning this award. They can do it since Ross (centre) & Shah (right) are credible music writers in their own rights as seen by their showing over the past two years’ Rentak Singapura, where the former won for best composition (“Novela Cinta“) in 2008 and the latter coming in second for “Setia Menanti” at last year’s event.

As expected, Sarah Aqilah won the Anugerah Artis Baru Terbaik (Best New Artiste award), staving off stiff competition from dark horses Zaibaktian and Hyrul Anuar. She needs to build on her singing career fast while her Anugerah 2009 win is still fresh in our minds and polish the rough edges away if she hopes to create a name for herself in the industry across the Causeway. She has to maintain a disciplined level of consistency in her performances and most importantly eradicate her knack at forgetting lyrics to the songs she sings.

It’s always nice to see faces seldom seen on stage, especially on television, being given their opportunities to remind us of their existence and Salma is one such artiste. That night she sang “Irama Rindu” from her album…

If there is hope yet for a female singer to soar and dominate over this male-dominated industry of ours, personally I feel Nana has the right credibilities to sweep the mat off the floor, given the right support and astute direction. She has always been a feisty performer and when she sung her hit “Lafaz” that night, the hairs were still standing for a good 10-15 minutes after she had left the stage. That’s the impact she had on me and perhaps those who were in the audience as well…

The ante was upped a bit higher when Hanafie Warren and Yantzen, two legendary rockers from these shores came on stage to perform “Rintangan Hidup Dunia” & “Sampai Bila“. They were ably accompanied by the Anugerah Band All-Stars line-up consisting of Putra‘s Aliff, Helven‘s Romey, Cucu Datuk Merah‘s Anis and X-Tech‘s Shahril bringing the house down with their excellent musicianship.

Mawar Berduri & Moliano were tasked to present the awards for Anugerah Penulis Lirik Terbaik (Best Lyricist award) and Anugerah Komposer Terbaik (Best Composer award)…

The award for Anugerah Penulis Lirik Terbaik (Best Lyricist award) went to Erza of Diorama for the group’s song “Anti-Romantis“. Other than the award which Revalina won, this was another surprise of the night as Aqmal was heavily expected to win this. Kudos to Erza for a job well done and may this young songwriter continue to produce more quality lyrics for the group as well as sharing it with other aspiring singers / bands out there. 

What was impressive about this win by Taufik Batisah for Anugerah Komposer Terbaik (Best Composer award) was not the category in which he won, but his winning speech which left me astounded. We all know when he first took baby steps after winning the inaugural Singapore Idol competition, one of his challenges was to speak and converse in Malay fluently. More than five years down the road, he has exceeded all expectations and went beyond what he had set himself. His words were deep, they were inspiring and truly nobody should begrudge him of all his wins that night. An example to follow for sheer hard work and determination paying off big-time.

It was heartwarming to know that someone as talented as Allahyarham Haron Abdulmajid deserved his posthumous accolades at

The unsavoury part was the fact that Elfee Ismail, who has a reputation for forgetting his lyrics, was chosen to pay the late lyricist the perfect tribute. As those who had watched the show live would note, he opted to slyly look at his palms for the lyrics. The difference between him and Sarah Aqilah is that he has years of experience under his belt and should by now know what is the meaning of professionalism. For a tribute segment, I’m sure a lot of people would agree and if it’s not too strong a word to use, his performance was downright “rude”, even if his voice suited the songs, “Dalam Kenangan” (made famous by Wheels) and “Dulu & Sekarang” (popularised by Black Dog Bone), he sang that night…

Hafeez Glamour & Ann Hussein presenting the awards for Anugerah Duo / Kumpulan Terbaik (Best Duo / Group award) and Anugerah Artis Terbaik (Best Artiste award).

As I had correctly predicted, Sleeq walked away with the Anugerah Duo / Kumpulan Terbaik (Best Duo / Group award). They deserved it for not only establishing themselves in the scene but composing for other artistes as well…

The recipient of Anugerah Artiste Terbaik (Best Artiste award). Was it any surprise to us all???

Sezairi Sezali in his first television appearance after his Singapore Idol win last year. He gave a good account of Art Fazil‘s “Merindu Kepastian“. Nice job, even though I detected some tiredness in his voice…

Nice to see the forgotten young man, Aliff Aziz, again. He sang his current hit “Cinta” that night. Looks like his National Service stint has been doing him some good judging by his buff body…

Nana and Eiss were given the honour of performing the songs that were made nominees for Anugerah Lagu Terbaik (Best Song award). Their chemistry was irresistably sizzling and my word, some of the songs they sang were much better than the original versions, with all due respect to the original singers…

Presenting the Anugerah Lagu Terbaik (Best Song award) were RIA 89.7FM‘s Aura Shai and one of my favourite local singers, Zubir Abdullah

Another prediction I got right that night was this win by Hady Mirza for “Angkasa“. Need I wax more lyrical on the song which has just won the top spot on RIA Chartz for a record 20th week in a row??? A well-deserved win for Hady most definitely.

Sarah Aqilah was given the honour of paying Rahimah Rahim the tribute for Anugerah Primera, the special award which was established to recognise individual(s) who have made significant contributions and impact to the local Malay music industry. She sang “Hati Yang Rapuh“. a song made famous by the veteran diva. Sarah was also guilty of forgetting her lyrics and she would do well to know that this reputation of forgetting is going to cause her more harm than good if it’s not nipped in the bud sooner rather than later. During the Anugerah 2009 competition when she forgot twice, they were forgiven as she was still raw. Now that her status has been elevated, she must cut down on these niggly problems.

She has had an extremely distinguished career in the entertainment industry as a singer, actress and host, and is well respected on both sides of the Causeway. Rahimah Rahim, or otherwise known as “Kak Girl”, is undisputably the correct recipient of the Anugerah Primera award.

Quite a few people were surprised at how slim Hetty Sarlene was that night. Here she’s seen presenting the popular awards categories with Warna 94.2FM‘s TG

Another feather in the cap for Taufik as “Nafasku” was cast as one of the top 3 popular local songs on RIA Chartz in 2009. His other song “Kepada-NYA“, a duet with Hady Mirza, also bagged one of the other two remaining spots..

The other popular local song was bestowed upon Didicazli‘s collaboration with Sleeq through the song “Impianku“, a song which for the first half of 2009 received a lot of airplay…

The awards presentation for the Anugerah Lagu Paling Popular (Most Popular Song award) preceded the performances by the artistes for their respective winning songs.

It’s always a joy seeing Nurul Aini being paired up with Najip Ali. They will always poke fun at each other without fear of upsetting one another…

Taufik Batisah, Hady Mirza & Didicazli – the award recipients for Anugerah Artis Paling Popular (Most Popular Artiste award). While the first two were expected, the third could have come as somewhat of  a surprise since Sleeq were on third place right up till the voting lines were closed.

It was truly a historic night for Taufik Batisah as he grabbed the Anugerah Album Terbaik (Best Album award) to complete a double hat-trick…

Young child star Mujahid, who stole the hearts of the audience, was a welcome addition to the stable of hosts on the show. But it would be better if his script was fine-tuned or at least briefed beforehand on words he should use and should not use, so as not to sound crude. The word “kencing” could definitely be softened by the usage of the softer-sounding phrase “buang air kecil“. Some of his “innocent” antics should also not have been done. This was one of the risks that the producers had to take when they tasked someone so young for a big occasion like

They could have had a better finale than just inviting the winners on stage and subjecting them to clapping and waving to the cameras / audience for a good three to five minutes. It was so bland that I felt it didn’t do the show a lot of justice since they had such a resounding start to the show. Hopefully future similar awards shows would close with a bang or at least have some sort of proper finale to it…

And so, the first and inaugural local Malay music awards show was realised after much dreaming and hoping for years. Though it wasn’t as spectacular as how some of you might have hoped for, nor were the list of winners a source of surprise, at least it brings hope that the industry is able to look forward to a more thriving one in the years to come with more composers, lyricists, bands and individual artistes coming to the fore. As I had mentioned before, we do not have dearth of talents. It’s just that our own people, the consumers, tend to place those that do not come from these shores on the pedestal more than look at our own acts as quality ones they should be supporting.

The wins that night showed that the pop and R&B genres are very much the in-thing here, even though the artistes championing the rock genre deserve some mention for jobs well done on their parts. Yes this was our first awards show and I know that certain quarters are a little uneasy on Taufik‘s dominance. Perhaps the awards could be tweaked in future and separate the categories through genres and in due time through genders as well. Seeing Salma, Nana, Sarah Aqilah and Roze Kasmani performing that night gave me good vibes that with concerted support by music lovers here, the female singers would give their male counterparts a run for their money. Give the girls a chance people, they too are equally talented as the boys. They just need your time and support.

Congratulations to all the winners of the respective categories. You guys deserved it for all your hard work and for those who did not win nor get nominated, it should not dampen your spirits to add more vibrancy to our growing industry. A big thank you also goes out to the combined efforts of the organisers of namely Mediacorp Suria, Mediacorp Radio‘s Warna 94.2FM & RIA 89.7FM and Composers & Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS). It was a commendable start and hopefully in years to come, we would be able to honour more acts in our industry. With more success, hopefully the sponsors would come in and inject much-needed boost to the awards…

Author: Pujangga Malam™

Well-known on RIA 89.7FM as a controversial and sensational critic able to invoke thought-provoking and sometimes, fiery responses from fellow listeners. Have since evolved into a distinguished blogger of reputable claim with takes on the Malay entertainment industry and football-related matters. Brutally honest and believes in only reporting the truth as I see, hear or experience it. Self-styled critic who does not mince his words and is definitely a non-conformist.

One thought on “ Review…”

  1. hey! thats a very insightful review you have there, especially in all fairness. While some quarters are unhappy about Taufik’s dominance in the awards, there is no doubt that he deserves every single one of it. I overheard organisers mentioning at the post recept that Taufik has given quality works, of which should be used to set as a bench mark for the local acts out there, and thats probably why he won. Not that the others cannot match his ability, but there are definitely cases whereby good artistes dont have the previlige of having good production support behind them. Or good production is wasted on those who do not treasure it. Taufik didnt win the jury awards cos of his huge fan support, but with his hard work and committment to releasing good music. No denying that Taufik has his talents and musicality that has revived the vitality local malay music scene since the 70s-80s. We shd be proud to have him to carry on this spark. And other artistes should appluad and take him as an example or a goal to achieve, rather then ranting sourness in every channel they can get right?

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