CM sees creative industry potential

KOTA KINABALU: Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman has expressed confidence that the creative industry can grow into a dynamic sector in the future.

The Chief Minister said this sector has an important role to support the needs of the community in both urban and rural areas, and that its growth is the hallmark of a maturing society which values its creative roots and culture.

In his speech at the launch of a seminar on ‘Nurturing Sabah’s Rural Creative Communities’ at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort here yesterday, he said the development of the creative industry locally needed to focus on the various strengths and advantages that Sabah has in terms of creative resources.

The text of his speech was delivered by Special Tasks Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang. “Sabah is well recognised 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,” he said.

And, he also said Sabah was also an internationally-established tourist destination, particularly in nature tourism. Sabah’s assortment of world class natural attractions, abundance of flora and fauna and unique wildlife, he said, also made the state an attractive destination for documentary projects and commercial photography, apart from film making.

The Chief Minister added that the three main niche areas Sabah could focus on were 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 said.

Musa added that although most of the measures surrounding the development of the creative industry was centred at urban areas, most of its creative assets could be considered to be ‘rural-centric’ and particular key ‘creative place’ strengths that existed in rural areas could attract creative workers.

Rural innovations, he said, could be driven by urban demand and the creative industry often dispersed a range of creative products, services and experiences that had been pioneered in urban areas but new to the economy of many rural places.

Musa also said developing creative industries in rural areas generated potential for sustainable high-quality enterprises and employment opportunities and would contribute to rural diversification.

Growth in such products and services, he added, correlated to rising levels of disposable income and better education.

“Hence, the role of creative industries in rural areas must 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.

“In tandem with this, the development of government institutional support can be driven by groups in the creative industry.

“Some of the strategic measures of the government to develop the sector have taken off such as in creating a talent pool to support the sector successfully.

“And, this includes work through the creative industries cluster under the Working Committee on Nurturing Human Capital in Sabah co-chaired by IDS and SEDIA which has progressed positively and shown encouraging results,” Musa said.

According to him, policymakers have been interested in the creative industry given its size and growth and that its impact had been clearly demonstrated through its contribution to economic growth of certain countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.

This industry, he said, had also been identified as the cornerstone in the transformation of economies in places like New Zealand, South Korea and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, he said the seminar was relevant, especially when the success of our State’s development efforts today partly hinge on grass-roots participation. This will be an opportune time for the government, private sector and related stakeholders to work closely to intensify sharing of knowledge, thoughts and insights on how we can continue to enhance our efforts and resources towards the development of an exciting and potential new growth sector for Sabah.

He also said the first multipurpose community theatre or Black Box Theatre in Sabah had been established and was gaining popularity among Sabahans and tourists alike.

In addition, he said the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC), expected to be completed by next year, would 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 on-going community awareness project, Sabah Glow, which was successfully organised by IINSCAPE recently”.

Yesterday’s seminar was organised by the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Sabah in partnership with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and in collaboration with the Society of Performing Arts Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (SPArKS).

Also present were IDS chairman Datuk Clarence Bongkos and chief executive officer Datuk Hasnol Ayub as well as the president of SPArKS Roger Wang.

Source : New Sabah Times