KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 — The Malaysian Association of Advertising Filmmakers (MAAF) asked Putrajaya to allow them to work as their business is “hanging on a thin line.”

In an open letter to Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, the minister of communications and multimedia, the association said its members are “running out of money to support our employees… if we have no shoots, they have no food.”

Under Phase One of the National Recovery Plan, only essential economic activities like food, logistics, telecommunications, education (online) and several others are allowed to operate but with limited numbers and strict SOPs.

The association said it was not asking for a lifeline in the form of a handout from the government, but asked that its members be allowed to find their own.

“Allow us to resume shooting, we will strictly follow SOPs. Please…” 

The open letter also included statements of support from the presidents of the Malaysian Advertisers Association and the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As).

The advertising industry in Malaysia was a thriving one and many of those who cut their teeth working in shooting TV commercials — the late Yasmin Ahmad and Ho Yuhang, just to name two — went on to become award-winning film directors. 

Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns to try and “flatten the curve” have been devastating for the industry with advertisers slashing budgets, and many advertising agencies and advertising filmmakers struggling to stay afloat.