Malaysia allocates RM46m to 81 firms to support creative industry

A total of 81 local production companies have received offer letters for the digital content fund, said minister Saifuddin Abdullah during a virtual notification session held on Zoom yesterday. In the 30-minute long video conference, Saifuddin revealed that approximately RM46 million of funding will be handed out to support the production companies. He also added that the initiative hopes to open up more than 3,175 new employment opportunities in the creative industry. 

According to a media release by National Film Development Corporation (FINAS), the digital content fund 3.0 comprises four categories - film grant, documentary film grant, marketing grant and a TV/OTT programme grant in partnership with national broadcasting company Astro. The grants were received by 60, seven, six and eight different production companies respectively.

Under the TV/OTT programme grant, special slots on national TV station platforms will be open to local production companies to publish their products, such as eight-episode mini-drama serials and supertelemovies. According to FINAS, this will help provide broadcast stations with fresh content for viewers and also increase content copyright ownership for producers for future profit generation. 

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According to a series of tweets on Saifuddin’s Twitter account, he said that the Malaysian government is committed to supporting the creative arts industry by helping producers and production workers through the Creative Industry Stimulus Package (PRISMA) and Creative Industry Economic Action Plan. The digital content fund is the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM)’s short-term initiative through FINAS to increase the production of creative content products, and at the same time stimulate employment opportunities for industry players to regenerate the creative industry that has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saifuddin also added that under the PEMULIH stimulus package, the government plans to allocate an additional RM100 million of financial aid support targeting more than 8,000 beneficiaries from various fields either on the frontline or behind the scenes. 

According to the minister, the digital content fund seeks to enable the creative industry players to optimise the potential of the creative content industry in the domestic and global markets. He added that it also aims to develop competitive creative content as a source of national income in achieving high-income economic status, thereby increasing the production of competitive Malaysian creative content intellectual property, reported Bernama.

Saifuddin added that the digital content fund this time is an extension of the PRISMA package that was launched earlier this year on 5 February to ensure the survival and sustainability of the country's creative industry during the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the KKMM would always assist the country’s arts and creative industry players, including in terms of facilitating bureaucracy in any matter. However, he reminded the companies not to compromise on the quality of the work produced.

When asked how the digital content fund would be beneficial when related activities, including filming, were not allowed during Phase One of Movement Control under the National Recovery Plan (PPN), Saifuddin replied: “At least they can start making plans with the money. When they are permitted to operate, they need not have to wait anymore.”

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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