Seniman on Budget 2021: Channel funds to associations, prioritise welfare

THE funds allocated for the creative industry should be channeled directly to registered associations who are managing local artistes and producers.

Speaking to FocusM, Persatuan Seniman Malaysia (Seniman) said the associations would know better on who in the creative industry requires urgent help due to the economic slowdown.

“While we appreciate the RM15 mil allocation give under Budget 2021, we hope the Government will come up with the right mechanism to help those affected,” said its president Rozaidi Abd Jamil.

Yesterday, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz tabled Budget 2021 at the Dewan Rakyat, worth RM322.54 bil.

The expansive budget was an addition to the six stimulus packages worth over RM300 bil announced this year, aimed at reviving the economy and push assistance towards those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the budget, the Government had announced a RM15 mil allocation to help the local creative industry affected by the pandemic. The grant will be handled by the Cultural Economy Development Agency (Cendana)

Rozaidi, popularly known as Zed Zaidi, urged the Government to allocate more of the funds for the welfare of local artistes instead of focusing on boosting the industry.

“In the previous budgets, Cendana used the allocations given to provide loans, with low interest, to local producers to create movies or dramas.

“Now due to the pandemic, there is very little work to be done so the livelihoods of local artistes are affected. So, their welfare should be prioritised.

He cited an example of musical concerts, where the crowd would be the ones generating revenue for the singer.

“But due to pandemic, even if you can hold a concert, there will be little revenue because there will be no crowd. So, this is what I mean by saying you need to focus more on the artistes’ welfare rather than boosting the creative industry,” said Zed Zaidi.

As check and balance, Zed Zaidi said the associations that received allocations from Cendana can be tasked to submit periodic reports on how the funds were spent.

“So, I hope Cendana will come up with a mechanism soon on how they will use the allocation given so that we will know how to go about it,” he said. – Nov 7, 2020

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