Communications minister encourages public to visit cinemas, support local film industry

People wearing protective face masks sit while social distancing before watching a movie at a TGV cinema in Central I-City, Shah Alam July 1, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
People wearing protective face masks sit while social distancing before watching a movie at a TGV cinema in Central I-City, Shah Alam July 1, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, July 4 ― Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah has called on the public to help revitalise the country's film and entertainment industry by visiting cinemas ― albeit adhering to the set standard operating procedure.

He said moviegoers need not worry as cinema companies were ready to adhere to strict guidelines for the safety of the audience, such as maintaining social distancing and the sanitisation of seats.

Saifuddin said he was also satisfied with the compliance-level of the SOP at cinemas based on reports received in the three days since they were opened to the public.

“The important thing is not just for the cinema operators to comply with the SOPs, the audience should come too. There is no point in opening cinemas without having an audience. I hope Malaysians take care of their health and safety...and that we support the film industry,” he said.

He was met after visiting a cinema here to review its compliance with the set standard operating procedure and guidelines in conjunction with the reopening of cinemas during the recovery movement control order (RMCO).

Saifuddin said strict action would be taken in a particular area if the number of cases there went up or if new clusters were found.

“There were night markets that were previously allowed to operate during the RMCO, but as the SOP was not complied with, the town councils (involved) took decisive action by closing down the markets.

“We don't want that to happen at cinemas and so on, so my advice is that on one hand, the cinema operator should come up with a strict SOP, and we, as the audience should be self-disciplined and follow the SOP,” he said.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin said his ministry was aware of the financial impact of the MCO and Conditional MCO on the film industry.

“In this regard, in the next six months, we will utilise the funds provided through PENJANA (National Economic Recovery Plan) as well as any other available funds, as best as possible,” he said.

The ministry is set to assist local production houses to produce more movies and dramas in the next six months through soft loans totalling RM100 million under Penjana.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin expressed satisfaction with the SOP compliance-level of film crew including actors, technicians and make-up artists during a working tour of a film set at Taman Pudu Ulu here yesterday.

Also present were National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) chief executive officer Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri and Finas chairman Zakaria Abdul Hamid. ― Bernama

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