KUCHING: Malaysia and Sarawak are aggressively formulating their digital strategies that attempt to develop and strengthen the application of arts and its relation to the community.
“By merging digital and creative industries, the diversity of Sarawak will fuel cultural activity, create jobs, as well as contribute to social inclusion, cultural diversity, and in return building digital creative industry for the benefits the community,” said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan whose text-of-speech was read by Assistant Minister of Industries and Investment Malcolm Mussen at the launch of the Fifth International Conference of Applied and Creative Arts (ICACA) 2017 yesterday.
Awang Tengah, who is also Second Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources as well as Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, said Sarawak has been actively contributing to the Malaysian digital economy.
“It would not be elusive to see efforts in digital creativity such as eRezeki and eUsahawan.”
The eRezeki programme is designed to encourage B40 households to be independent and find new ways to earn through non-financial asset ownership.
eUsahawan programme aims to develop a local generation of talents that embrace digital economy by incorporating digital entrepreneurship skills via Sarawak’s Tegas innovation hub.
“To achieve the aimed result, we believe that research and education are both vital in making digital economy viable. For this, Unimas and the Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts are playing a crucial role in this transformation and development effort. For instance, Unimas is spearheading the higher education realm by providing curriculum of Technical and Vocational Education (Tvet) to nurture future skilled workers.
“The government has also been fostering local creative industries through various agencies such as the Ministry of Science, Technology and Information and the Malaysia Design Council.
“The involvement of private sector operators and service providers has made it possible for Malaysia to become a hub for creative and digital industries which is as good as or at par with that in the United States, South Korea, China and India.”
Awang Tengah pointed out that some initiatives on the state-level included the first Malaysia Blue Ocean Entrepreneur Township (BUET) – Borneo744, for artists and creative entrepreneurs.
The fifth ICACA 2017 carries the theme ‘Strengthening Communities through Arts and Cultural Practices’, with Petronas its main sponsor.
The conference is a forum for educators, researchers, designers, policy makers, implementers, artists, students and community leaders to meet and discuss various issues concerning public arts.
Unimas vice chancellor Datuk Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi, Petronas Sarawak regional manager Shamsur Taha, Saradise Gallery chief executive officer Dato Chris Chung Soon Nam, Institut Seni Indonesia (ISI) Padangpanjang Rector Prof Dr Novesar Jamarun, Unimas Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts Dean Associate Professor Dr Wan Jamarul Imran Wan Abdullah Thani, and ICACA 2017 chairman Dr Ahmad Azaini Abdul Manaf were also present at the function.
Duringthe function, delegates witnessed the exchange of two memoranda of understanding (MoUs).
The first was between Unimas and Institut Seni Indonesia (ISI) Padangpanjang, which is one of the centres of Malay Cultural Development in the Indonesia Archipelago that concerns itself with the development and conservation of traditional art, and excels in performing arts for research or performance.
The second MoU between Unimas and Saradise Gallery aims to promote local culture, arts and design, aiming to be a platform to showcase ‘Sarawakiana’ creative works by renowned local artists and designers, and young emerging talents of Sarawak.