Najib launches Cendana to drive arts, culture development


PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Najib Razak today announced the establishment of the Cultural Economy Development Agency (Cendana) and an initial allocation of RM20 million for the agency to spearhead arts and cultural development in Malaysia.

Najib said at a recent meeting with arts activists, many said that the arts and cultural sector needed a shot in the arm to develop it as a vital component of the nation.

“We have seen arts and culture as a component with potential which we have not developed to its optimum level.

“Therefore, I declare cultural economy as Malaysia’s new asset,” Najib said at the official launch of Cendana here today.

Also present at the event were Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak and Chief Secretary to the Government Ali Hamsa.

Cendana, set up by the government through MyCreative Ventures, is guided by the vision of developing the country’s cultural economy into a fast-growing and inspiring sector.

Cendana is administered by an executive advisory committee which monitors the development and implementation of its corporate strategies and ensures the objectives are achieved.

The committee is chaired by communications adviser to the Prime Minister Ahmad Farid Ridzuan. Its members include MyCreative Ventures chief executive officer Johan Ishak, Yayasan Hasanah managing director Shahira Ahmed Bazari, Bursa Malaysia chief operations officer Azalina Adham and Astro Malay Business Division vice-president Khairul Anwar Salleh.

“We have cultural values that must not only be preserved, but also be continuously developed as a source of our strength and pride as Malaysians,” Najib said.

He said the establishment of Cendana must be different from that of other bodies in that it should not necessarily be led by politicians or bureaucrats, but by people involved in arts and culture.

Najib said the arts-culture sector was the last transformation component towards making Malaysia a developed nation.

“We want Malaysia to be seen as a nation that is rich in heritage, but heritage alone is not enough. We need to develop it…then only will our nation have a new source of inspiration,” he said.