The Cultural Economy Development Agency (CENDANA) and Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) continue their efforts to alleviate the hardship faced by the Malaysian arts and culture community throughout this COVID-19 pandemic with their Food Aid Programme 2021.
The Food Aid Programme began in May 2020 to assist Malaysian artists and cultural workers especially those from the performing arts, visual arts, independent music and craft backgrounds whose income had been impacted due to the closing of sectors and restrictions during the first Movement Control Order (MCO 1.0).
This year, the Programme continues and a total of 1,500 applications have been received from the arts and culture community. The Programme is supported by YSD with matching funds allocated under the Government’s Perlindungan Ekonomi dan Rakyat Malaysia (PERMAI) assistance package where each recipient will receive grocery vouchers worth RM160 (for applicants who are single) and RM220 (for those with families).
The first phase was rolled-out in June for arts and cultural workers in the Klang Valley area followed by Perak and Penang. The second phase took place in July, covering recipients in Sabah, Sarawak, Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu. CENDANA and Yayasan Sime Darby are now coordinating the final phase of this programme which begins on 16 August 2021, and will be expanded to the states of Perlis, Kedah, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor
The Malaysian Minister of Finance, Tengku Dato’ Sri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said, ““The Government has introduced many initiatives to support the arts and culture sector under the various financial aid and economic stimulus packages such as PENJANA and PERMAI. Yet, there is always room for organisations like Yayasan Sime Darby to contribute towards those affected by the pandemic.”
“For the arts and culture to serve the nation, via MyCreative Ventures and CENDANA, we hope to position the wider creative industries for recovery,” commented Azmi Said, Chairman of MyCreative Ventures.
CENDANA Founding CEO, Cik Izan Satrina shared, “Based on the CENDANA COVID-19 Impact Report on the Arts and Culture Sector in 2020, 92% of cultural arts practitioners and administrative workers have been heavily hit as well as 70% have lost almost or all of their income.”
CENDANA’s programmes and initiatives focus on communities which is quite broad ranging – from artisans, craft makers, craft producers, buskers, veteran singers, technical crew, 3 production workers, actors, dancers, and others. To help identify and disseminate information on this Food Aid Program, associations, and bodies such as the Penang Arts District (Penang), PORT Ipoh (Perak), Society of Performing Arts Sabah, SPArKS (Sabah), Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation Bhd, SDEC (Sarawak), PUSAKA (Kelantan), Duyong Arts Community (Terengganu), and Associations Indera Mahkota Cultural Arts (Pahang) have stepped up to provide support.