KOTA KINABALU: A uniquely Sabah approach and the grassroots participation will turn the Sabah creative industry into its future dynamic sector.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman is confident that the creative industry can grow in both urban and rural Sabah if the local development of the creative industry focuses on the various strengths and advantages that the state has in terms of creative resources.
“Today’s seminar is relevant, especially when the success of our State’s development efforts today partly hinge on grassroots participation,” said Musa, whose keynote address was delivered by Datuk Seri Panglima Teo Chee Kang, at the Nurturing Sabah’s Rural Creative Communities Seminar launch in Tanjung Aru here on Thursday.
“Sabah is well recognized as culturally diverse with vast resources in the fields of performing arts, visual arts, film and handicraft. The State also has a substantial pool of creative talents who have consistently proven their abilities at national level, as well as actors and film-makers currently involved in the screen industry locally and nationally.
“Sabah is also an internationally-established tourist destination, particularly in nature tourism. Our assortment of world class natural attractions, abundance of flora and fauna and unique wildlife also makes Sabah an attractive destination for documentary projects and commercial photography, apart from film-making.
“The three main niche areas Sabah could focus on are Cultural Heritage, Performing Arts and Creative Media. This “Uniquely Sabah” approach will provide the best prospect for us to position the State in the national and global creative industries market,” he added.
Musa said although most measures surrounding the development of the creative industry were centered in urban areas, most of Sabah’s creative assets are ‘rural-centric’ and particular key ‘creative place’ strengths that exist in rural areas can attract creative workers.
“Rural innovations could be driven by ‘urban demand’ and the creative industry often disperses a range of creative products, services and experiences that have been pioneered in urban areas but are new to the economy of many rural places.
“Developing creative industries in rural areas generates potential for sustainable high-quality enterprise and employment opportunities and contribute to rural diversification. Growth in such products and services correlate with rising levels of disposable income and better education.
“The role of the creative industries in rural areas needs to be more widely acknowledged and better understood by local governments in order to pursue innovation policies and plans aimed at rural development.
“In particular, policy should routinely integrate the creative industry in plans for town centre re-development, as well as tourism strategies and marketing initiatives to help attract and retain skilled and creative individuals.
The Chief Minister emphasized the development of government institutional support could be driven by groups in the creative industry.
He stressed this includes the positive and encouraging work through the Creative Industries cluster under the Working Committee on Nurturing Human Capital in Sabah co-chaired by Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Sabah and Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA).
“The first multipurpose community theatre or Black Box Theatre in Sabah has been established and is gaining popularity among Sabahans and tourists alike,” noted Musa.
“In addition, the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) which is expected to be completed by next year will include a world standard Performing Arts Centre to cater for regional and international concerts and events.
“There is an increasing number of creative events such as the ongoing community awareness project, Sabah Glow, which was successfully organised by IINSCAPE recently,” he added.
The seminar was organized by IDS (Sabah) in partnership with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and in collaboration with the Society of Performing Arts Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (SPArKS).
IDS (Sabah) chairman Datuk Seri Panglima Clarence B Malakun, IDS (Sabah) executive director and CEO Datuk Mohd Hasnol Ayub, senior research associate cum organizing chairman Richard T Koh, SPArKS president Roger Wang and Tan Sri Herman Luping were also at the launch.