Government Invests RM20mil in Arts & Culture
TL;DR – The Cultural Economy Development Agency (CENDANA) was launched recently to promote and develop the cultural economy. Prime Minister announced the government has allocated RM20 million for CENDANA. CENDANA aims to be inclusive and relevant and will add value to the wider economy.

The Cultural Economy Development Agency (CENDANA) was launched recently to promote and develop the cultural economy. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak declared the ‘cultural economy’ as a new asset, and announced the government has allocated RM20 million for CENDANA. In his speech, Najib said the industry can provide jobs for thousands of Malaysians and could have a positive impact on the economy. “I hope to see the culture and arts industries become an impactful sector with high returns for the people and the country.” He explained the government is ready to look into suggestions to strengthen and improve existing procedures, which he notes has to be done through concerted efforts.

“Culture and arts is the last component of our transformation journey for Malaysia. If we can develop this sector successfully, we have accomplished what we set Malaysia out to be, which a developed nation is.” He added CENDANA will be led by its own players and not politicians as well as bureaucrats, to promote and lead the development of a vibrant cultural economy. Under CENDANA, he said, efforts will be put in place to bring about an upheaval of the ‘cultural economy’ across all fronts, with the Klang Valley as a staging ground. There are plans to energize the landscape via stimulating demand for the arts, empowering the communities by not only improving circumstances for individual artists and arts groups, but also on a larger scale by refining existing policies and making investing in the arts more attractive to corporations.

“Culture and arts is the last component of our transformation journey for Malaysia. If we can develop this sector successfully, we have accomplished what we set Malaysia out to be, which a developed nation is.”

Research will also be continuously conducted to have an evidence based approach, and improving the arts and culture ecosystem. Speaking at the launch of (CENDANA), the CENDANA founding CEO, Izan Satrina Mohd Sallehuddin, said arts and culture are recognized as important assets to the nation, but have not been nurtured to its full potential. She said, “Research has shown that both developed countries and developing invest between RM9 to RM23 in the field of arts and culture for every citizen, while Malaysia only invests RM3 per citizen in this field.” She explained, “CENDANA aims to be inclusive and relevant and will add value to the wider economy by focusing efforts in performing arts, visual arts and independent music in small, medium and public spaces. We have exceptional vision for how CENDANA can aid in scaling up our artists and shape our communities.”

“CENDANA aims to be inclusive and relevant and will add value to the wider economy by focusing efforts in performing arts, visual arts and independent music in small, medium and public spaces. We have exceptional vision for how CENDANA can aid in scaling up our artists and shape our communities.”

Speaking to MALAYSIA SME, Izan said apart from larger corporations, SME’s can work together with CENDANA in supporting the cultural scene in Malaysia. “The Cultural scene in Malaysia needs support from all levels. SMEs can work together with us in many different ways. They don’t necessarily have to give monetary contribution like the larger corporations; instead SMEs can provide spaces for artists, opportunities in book keeping and legal matters for the artists.” An International Advisory Panel has also been formed to further strengthen international networks for the benefit of Malaysia’s arts and culture export and to ensure CENDANA considers potential new collaborations with the international cultural communities.

CENDANA is governed by an Executive Advisory Committee (EAC) to oversee the development and implementation of corporate strategy and ensure the delivery of the agency’s objectives. Chaired by communications advisor to the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Farid Ridzuan, the EAC members include prominent public and private stakeholders such as MyCreative Ventures chief executive officer Johan Ishak; Hasanah Foundation managing director Shahira Ahmed Bazari; Bursa Malaysia chief operating officer Datin Azalina Adham; and Astro Malay Language Business vice-president Datuk Khairul Anwar Salleh.

To ensure inclusiveness and relevance, CENDANA’s Industry Advisory Panel includes the nation’s most experienced practitioners in the cultural sector, who are tasked with providing independent advice and recommendations on the implementation of CENDANA’s strategic and tactical activities. The panel members include Hands Percussion founder and artistic director Bernard Goh, who will give inputs on performing arts; Yayasan Budi Penyayang chairman and Kitakita founding partner Nori Abdullah (crafts); the Livescape Group Director and Artist Rahul Kukreja (music); artist and curator Nurhanim Khairuddin (visual arts); Seni Pusaka managing director Pauline Fan (culture); and Badan Warisan Malaysia vice president Elizabeth Cardosa (heritage).

Source : Malaysia SME, September 30 – 13 October

By Maalinee Ramu maalinee@malaysiasme.com.my | Pics by Chu YC – chuyc@malaysiasme.com.my

Photo credit : CENDANA

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