Did you know that every government agency in Malaysia has their own theme song? Kinda like how every school has an anthem, but much more cringey kickass. So grab some popcorn, sit back, relax, and let our poor intern who had to sit through. Every. Single. Song. take you through some of the best, the worst, and the lesser known agencies as told through their music.
1) To start things off, here’s our favourite that we managed to dig up
The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries (full lyrics here) famously remained non-partisan during GE-14, a feat we here at Cilisos applaud (and try to follow!). More importantly, it launched a task-force in August 2018 to keep local chilies competitive in the global marketplace, a move that helped keep our Cilisos and Soscili spicy and relevant. And for that, we’re eternally grateful.
The song ‘Legacies and Duties’ is fresh among the departments, starting strong with a unique string track that reminds us of the crickets that ring every time our jokes fall flat (so basically every time we open our mouths). The agriculture ministry certainly lives up to its name, with a lively backing track clearly inspired by alpine yodelers such as Die Woodys and Takeo Ischi. We really enjoyed this one, even humming the tune in the toilets and we’re surprised this one didn’t gain any traction, but that’s a hoe other story.
The Lit-o-meter: Interestingly enough, this is one of the few songs with a bridge (complete with CGI bees to rival the Bee Movie), perhaps illustrating the importance of bridges in connecting the agrarian economies of rural Malaysia and the urban centers. If we had to pick a song to listen to while doing field work, this would be it. 10/10, 12/10 with rice. Can feels the fields, rise with the rice, groove with the groves.
When it comes to producing good music, however, the agriculture ministry isn’t the only one with the produce…
2) Here’s a pretty catchy one – The fish song
The Department of Fisheries Malaysia (full lyrics here) is serious business. Last year they oversaw the crackdown of illegal fishing amidst worries about depleting fish stocks in Malaysian waters. To be fair, Malaysian fishing has come a long way, doubling in size in only 10 years. So what does the department do? Nothing too fishy, they basically manage fish stocks and fishing rights. So if you’ve always wanted to try fishing, here’s their line.
Song wise, ‘Towards Change’ is fairly decent by itself, but what really got us hooked was the amazing singing by the people at the department, with bright smiles and color-coordinated garb making it the most wholesome government video on the Malaysian net by far. While the lyrics were a little too bland for us, the tune scaled well with the message of cheer and collective success. That said, we had to dock a few points for the weird animations and because of how it ended, the fin really could have used some meat to it.
The Lit-o-meter: There’s a very fine line between something bland and something safe but interesting. We think the people at the fisheries department barely made it interesting by getting their people out of their shells and into the video and our hearts. While the tune is nothing special, the people really do stand out, adding a touch of sofishstication to the whole thing. 7/10 What do you think? Let minnow below!
3) Guess which Ministry no budget for video even?
The Ministry of Finance – We couldn’t find a video for this one, but the MP3 and lyrics are available >>>> here
Look, what can we say? Without a video, the presentation of ‘Amanah’ is a little lacking. We suppose it’s a good thing that they’re spending prudently. Either that or the MoF has been pretty busy dealing with the 1MDB scandal, renegotiating the deals with China, patching up income holes created by PH’s promises and working with SST. Still, couldn’t they at least have told an intern to make a lyric video? And don’t get us started on the audio. While orchestral tracks are amazing when done right, they have to be done right, unlike the garbled mess that we got from the MoF…
Okay humor us for a second. Here’s what we think happened;
Media supervisor: Hey, an editor edits videos right?
Media supervisor: But no budget for video la, got anyone who can edit audio ah?
Intern: Eh, got! An audio editor is just an AUDITOR right? And we got many of them boss!
Media supervisor: Perfection!
The Lit-o-meter: Seriously, it’s messy and full of noise – like it was recorded on a flip phone. Production quality aside, the singing is all right, well enunciated if a little emotionless. The lyrics were decently well written as well, with a regular rhyme scheme and meter to boot. Seriously though, even if you don’t listen to the audio, cheque out the lyrics, they’re pretty cool with big statements like “Semangat murni, kegagahan pertiwi“. 5/7 without video, we should crowdfund a video for them…
4) The song to move people
The ‘Valiant Immigration Song‘ (full lyrics here) is a classic among the agencies. The immigration department received major upgrades and new tech in 2018, and it showed, as over 45 thousand illegal immigrants were arrested. Over a thousand employers were also caught hiring illegal foreigners. Numbers aren’t everything though, as the department also scored quite a few awards, achieving the World Best Airport Immigration Services Award, ISO 37001 anti-bribery accreditation and getting the highest achievement score among agencies under the home ministry. The latest version of the Malaysian passport also won the Best ID Document Award (Passport Category) at High Security Printing Asia. Well done lads!
While the agency is high achieving, the song is anything but. Stoic but traditional, the tune hearkens back to the authoritarian days of highschools past, with a bland and loosely-followed trochaic trimeter to boot. The lyrics, though ordinary, clearly emphasize the purpose of the department, which is a plus we suppose.
The Lit-o-meter: The alliteration in the lines ‘susah atau senang’ and ‘kekalkan keselamatan’ serve to break the monotony, suggesting some lyrical talent behind the drabbish exterior. 6/10, would blast over the borders to piss off our enemies.
5) SPR – The People’s Choice
With a poetic title like the Election Commission, you know it’s gonna be good. While the SPR has been mired in controversy – from widespread gerrymandering, international outrage, voter fraud and media bias, you have gotta admit one thing. Their guy can sing. REALLY well.
Malaysia’s very own Phil Collins here reached all sorts of high notes and maintained a strong falsetto, carrying over into the chorus. The melody is catchy as hell, with Mr Phil’s melodious tones ringing in our ears for days to come. Say what you will about the Suruhanjaya and their administration of the pilihan raya, this song definitely managed to berjaya. The song also included a beautiful key change, the only government song so far to do so, perhaps predicting the change in government 2 years before it even happened! *thinking emoji*
The Lit-o-meter: Even if the song failed to win the popular vote (only amassing 989 views as of now), it’s gerrymandered its way into our hearts, and we’ll gladly play it on repeat for the next 4 years. We had to throw out some points because of the amateur-ish lyric video, but those points lived in an urban area so they didn’t really change much anyway. 9/22 We’re still salty that us 21’s couldn’t vote because of stupid technicalities.
6) This song to fight viral songs
‘We Are Ready to Help’ (full lyrics here) by the Ministry off Health is a real contender for epic music in the agencies. Much like the song, the ministry has been pretty epic this past year, from eliminating Mother to Child HIV and Syphilis transmission, banning smoking in open air eateries, and here’s to everyone who proved its okay to talk about mental health and showing others that it’s okay to go through tough times like that.
Song-wise, the lyrics are pretty basic, with a beat reminiscent of Eurovision tunes. As it’s a simple lyric video, there’s not much we can comment about the production. That said, the effort put into the aabb rhyme scheme must be acknowledged, along with the almost perfect adherence to the pentameter. Coupled with the tune, however, you get a real catchy song that’s sure to go viral.
The Lit-o-meter: The song is genuinely wholesome, with a positive message and a catchy, if a bit dated, tune. 7/10 We should spread it like the plague.
7) JAKIM…? You be the hakim (judge)
JAKIM was kind of a weird one, being the only government agency so far that didn’t proudly display their song and lyrics on their website. After some digging, we managed to find this official pdf detailing their song (including notes if you want to play it!) on a somewhat dodgy PDF site. So with an operating budget of nearly a billion Ringgit, what does JAKIM do anyway? We’ve covered the department in depth before here, but they basically codified Malaysia’s HALAL laws and regulate all things Islam (sometimes rather controversially).
There really isn’t too much we can say about this one, it’s tune is catchy, they got some kids to sing it giving it the youthful and vibrant tone, the lyrics faithfully (hehe) follow the aabb and abab pantun rhyming scheme. Overall its a very normal song. Which means we have to give it normal points too.
The Lit-o-meter: Considering the restrictions Islam places on certain musical instruments like flutes and woodwind, the song managed to evoke a bright tune fitting its hopeful tone. As much as we’d like to nitpick, it’s just a normal song, similar to one you’d hear at any school assembly, so it’s hard to take it too seriously. 7/10… Not much to say here really.
8) Here’s one you won’t want to pas out on
The Jabatan Amal (full lyrics here), or as they’re more commonly known, the Unit Amal is PAS’ very own uniformed body for teens and students of all ages to celebrate the joys of abstinence and staying sober. Okay, we know they’re not a government body (on the federal level at least) but this one was too good to let up. We’ve even covered the amazing things Unit Amal did during the first few BERSIH rallies. Regardless of what you might think of them, their anthem is an absolute headbanger which would be right at home alongside similar classocs such as Tunak Tunak Tun and Maher Zain. Incidentally, here’s their super cool 2019 poster.
The Lit-o-meter: Controversy aside, this song is pretty damn lit.
Did we miss out on any of your favorite agencies? Which one was the best? Which song would you like to see us make a 20 hour version of? Do let us know in the comments! It’s time we supported local talent 😉