Nancy steps in to help battered entertainment industry

The entertainment sector is among others that were heavily affected by movement restrictions under the partial lockdown imposed in mid-March.

PETALING JAYA: Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Nancy Shukri has pledged to facilitate the revival of live entertainment in pubs, nightclubs and other venues crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nancy said she would bring the SOPs proposed by the Malaysian Artistes’ Association (Karyawan) to the notice of the National Security Council.

She said she was glad that Karyawan had developed the SOPs instead of leaving it to the authorities.

Nancy Shukri

The government, she said, was also keen on reviving the nightlife economy and had not underestimated the challenges faced by the industry.

“The coronavirus pandemic is not over, and the reopening of businesses has to be done with cautious optimism.”

She said the government sympathised with the dilemma of entertainers and businesses and was aware of the financial shock on stakeholders.

Nancy’s comments followed her discussion yesterday with Karyawan president Freddie Fernandez on the battered sector.

At the meeting, Fernandez spoke of the realities on the ground and the road ahead for live entertainment in pubs, nightclubs and hotels, as well as event and showbiz promoters and suppliers.

He also submitted guidelines for a “cautious return” in stages, in a controlled and regulated environment.

“While a return to normalcy remains far off, we will ensure everybody adheres to strict rules,” he said.

Karyawan had, in a letter on May 18 to Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob, requested that the government allow partial reopening of entertainment spots.

Indoor busking was allowed two weeks later under the ongoing recovery movement control order which ends on Aug 31.

Many entertainers and establishments have received zero income following movement restrictions for more than three months.

Freddie Fernandez

Freddie said tens of thousands of people have been brought to their knees since the movement control order on March 18 forced the closure of entertainment outlets and the cancellation of events.

He said many of the 7,000 members of Karyawan and scores more from other organisations had had to sell their vehicles, musical instruments and other belongings to make ends meet.

While some were desperate for medical help and food, he said, others were evicted from their homes after failing to pay their rent.

“Karyawan’s funds are drying up and we are hoping to get a bit more financial assistance for those in dire straits,” he added.

There are some 3,000 pubs, nightclubs and other entertainment venues in the Klang Valley, with another 5,000 nationwide, he said, adding that Karyawan has various plans to re-energise the entertainment industry and ensure regular income, especially for musicians and deejays who depend on gigs to survive.

Fake or not? Check our quick fake news buster here.