The national anthem "Negaraku" should not be replaced just because some people have questioned its authenticity, said Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
He said the national anthem was something which could not be changed simply, as all states including Sarawak had agreed on the Negaraku as an expression of national identity and as such, it should always be maintained.
"If the national anthem (Negaraku) has been agreed upon, accept and respect it. Do not ridicule it by saying that the song is not an original composition and so forth," he said after opening the 3rd What About Kuching (WAK) Festival and 6th Borneo International Beads Conference in Kuching today.
He was commenting on the proposal by Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan that the national anthem should be replaced as the song lacked originality as it was adopted from a popular melody titled "Le Rosalie" written by French musician Pierre-Jean de Beranger.
Abdul Karim added if anyone felt that Sarawak did not enjoy rights as equal partners in Malaysia, they should air their grievances through more appropriate platforms instead of disrespecting the national anthem.
"They can demonstrate their displeasure during the elections instead of showing their disrespect when the national anthem is played or when the Malaysian flag is raised," he said.