Arts as Priority in the National Agenda

Proposer:

June Tan

Affiliations:

ReformARTsi

Policy Code:

2a Freedom of Expression

Problem Statement / Issue:

Arts and culture in Malaysia is not a priority and is not seen as an essential part of the national agenda. From the 1971 National Cultural Policy, there has been no update or new policy for the arts. In addition, Arts and Culture has always been coupled/placed with other ministries (Youth, Sports, Tourism, Information). This has led to irregular, incoherent and haphazard development of the arts and artists in Malaysia. As a result, our arts and artists have not been nurtured, and our society has not fully benefitted from the constructive aspects associated with the arts such as community-building, critical thinking, creative thinking, personal development and others.

Value(s) and Belief(s):

The Arts should be an essential part of personal, community and national development.

Proposal of Solution and Call to Action:

We demand that arts be placed as a priority in the national agenda and is recognised as an important element of national development, and not merely utilised as an economic tool (tourism, real-estate, retail and others) This would entail:

• Developing a contemporary Arts and Cultural policy and roadmap based on inclusive, diverse consultation with a broad range of stakeholders including but not limited from the arts, civil societies, education, and others; and the accountable implementation of the policy via effective programmes and incentives.

• Funding support for both public and private institutions involved in the development of the arts and culture (including community projects)

• Funding support and mechanism to provide for the social security of freelance artists; and the need for the national registry of artists.

• Allocation of resources (funding, training) to expand arts education in the national education system (from primary to tertiary)

• Recognition of the rights of artists and the protection of their freedom of expression.

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