Communications Ministry to look after welfare of local arts and creative industry, says Saifuddin

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said various efforts are being made to ensure the welfare of individuals from the local arts and creative sector. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said various efforts are being made to ensure the welfare of individuals from the local arts and creative sector. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — Various efforts are being made to ensure the welfare of individuals from the local arts and creative sector, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said.

He said the ministry was concerned about their situation following the Covid-19 outbreak.

As a first step, Saifuddin said he had met with representatives of associations from the sector on March 26 via video conferencing to understand the problems faced as well as proposed solutions, before bringing the matter up to the Cabinet.

“To help ease their burden, an additional injection of funds has been made to associations identified. The allocation is to assist artists from among the disabled community, the elderly and those who are ill and need medical help,” he said in a statement today.

According to the statement, the government, through the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) is constantly reviewing the implementation of government policies and programmes to help the creative industries sector to grow and develop.

Saifuddin said KKMM would also ensure more job opportunities and creative content could be generated through the Digital Content Fund through agencies such as the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) and the Malaysian Digital Economic Corporation (MDEC).

In order to achieve this goal and encourage more applications, Saifuddin said Finas and MDEC had extended the closing date for this year’s DCF application till May 15.

“KKMM will also reset the release dates of movies affected by Covid-19. I will direct the Finas’ Mandatory Screening Scheme Committee to hold discussions with cinema operators and announce the mechanism for determining the proposal for rescheduled screenings as soon as possible,” he said.

To boost investment in the film sector, the Filming in Malaysia Incentive (FIMI) has been enhanced, with the government lowering the Qualifying Malaysian Production Expenditure — QMPE for local publishers to RM1.5 million.

According to the statement, Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) and the Content Development Division have launched the ‘Sing from Home’ and ‘Music from Home’ programmes to help out singers, including buskers, who have experienced a loss of income due to the cancellation of their respective events.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin said KKMM had also received various requests and proposals to allow filming sessions to be held as well as artists to head out to work.

“While there have been positive developments in the country’s efforts to combat Covid-19, the situation has not yet fully recovered. The lives and safety of all Malaysians should be given priority,” he said, adding that he would hold discussions over the matter with the Ministry of Health and the National Security Council.

Saifuddin also welcomed suggestions and insights from all parties to help the local industry. — Bernama

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