KOTA KINABALU: Luyang assemblyman Phoong Jin Zhe has urged the government and private sector to invest in young talents for the creative industry in Sabah to flourish.
Phoong also called on the State Government to maintain the Youth Talent Fund he created during his tenure as the Youth and Sports Minister of Sabah to support youths in developing their talent and potential.
He said Sabah has an abundance of young talents, but they lacked the resources and support to achieve their aspirations.
He said these youths were struggling to survive, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“They have a lot of creativity and talent. They are trying very hard to produce good content but they lack support.”
Hence, Phoong said it was high time for the government and private sector to invest in young Sabahan talents for them to succeed.
He said this when officiating at a kick off ceremony for the filming of Borneo Culinary Adventures, a show that features unique and iconic delicacies in Sabah, here on Thursday.
He added that Sabah offered diverse cultures which the creative industry could tap into.
“Sabah has a lot of interesting content and great stories to tell.
“If we continue to support Sabahan youths, they will be able to sell their content to Astro, Netflix and iQiyi.”
He said many countries, including Japan and Indonesia, have invested a lot of resources into their creative industry and Malaysia, including Sabah, must not lag behind.
He pointed out that Sabah’s economy could not rely solely on the tourism industry because this sector would not be able to recover to its pre-Covid-19 condition in a short time.
“The most important asset in the future will be content and creativity.”
Phoong continued to say that he had approved an allocation of RM470,000 for the Youth Talent Fund during his tenure as the State Youth and Sports Minister between 2019 and 2020 to assist Sabahan youths in achieving their aspirations.
“I hope that the funding would continue to be provided under the new government, particularly in the post-pandemic era.”
Borneo Culinary Adventures, produced by a local production company, Paper Pen Events, will be airing on Astro AEC (HD CH 306) and Astro GO at 10 pm every Thursday beginning August 8.
Filming commences Friday (April 9) following the kick off ceremony on Thursday.
The show is hosted by Stephanie Liew, first runner-up of Astro Star Quest 2010, and Puikei, food enthusiast of Slurpin, who will go on adventures to different parts of Sabah to explore the culinary and culture of our unique local delicacies and cuisine.
Among the food that will be featured in the 13-episode programme are hinava, sinalau bakas, payau, kava meat soup, spring rolls, tapai, linopot, spring noodles of Sandakan and giant grouper.
Director of the show, Chua Soon Min, more commonly known as Katak, said the Borneo Culinary Adventures was different from other food shows in that it sought to tell the stories and cultures behind the local cuisines.
“I believe the show has the potential to promote tourism in Sabah when it airs.”
On another note, he said the film industry was blooming even though the creative industry was gravely affected by the pandemic.
He said the government has taken measures to engage film industry players in an effort to develop the sector.
As such, Chua urged filmmakers to persevere and not give up as he believed that the film industry would continue to grow.
Also present was Borneo Culinary Adventures producer, Chris Chin.