By GABEY GOHbytz@thestar.com.my
KUALA LUMPUR: It is critical that the creative eco-system be strengthened through increased engagement between not just government agencies and industry players, but to include educationists, policy makers and other stakeholders as well.
"We've said this before, the Government does not know best and we are asking the industry to participate in the innovation process," said Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, CEO of Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC).
He said that while all parties don't always see eye to eye and have may different agendas, the goal remains the same - increase the nation's creativity and innovation.
"The solution is there, we're just trying to facilitate the process and through that stakeholders have the power to recommend changes whether it is in policy, intervention, strategy or programmes to assist the creative ecosystem," he said.
Badlisham admitted that the lack of engagement between the relevant parties is a longstanding issue.
However, the introduction of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) has changed the game, accelerating what were previously incremental engagement efforts.
He was speaking at the first day of Kre8tive.Asia, a three-day international event for executives and professionals in the creative industries that is now in its third year.
The MDeC chief had noted that during the first year, the focus of Kre8tive.Asia had been on more exposure for local talent, i.e. enabling young creators to benefit from the experience of international industry experts.
With this year's edition, the participants have expanded to include the non-traditional players.
"In the past, this industry was dominated by those purely from the entertainment line but these days you have young people who have no such background but they are social media and Internet-savvy, doing things in the entertainment space," Badlisham said.
He also shared that MDeC was looking at shifting some of its funding from pure production and allocating that toward other points in the creative process, such as market access programmes, intellectual property creation and monetisation initiatives.
Last year's Intellectual Property Creators Challenge hosted by MDeC saw the disbursement of RM1.83mil to 47 projects, and RM62.1mil to 13 approved companies for co-production projects.
In terms of short-term goals, in addition to tracking the continued growth of the creative content industry, MDeC will continue stitching together the gaps, such as the one between industry and education.
The agency also hopes to strengthen and facilitate via dialogue sessions, industry associations and guilds in framing both the challenges faced and their recommendations for change.
"My vision is that one day we'll reach the stage where you don't need us, and we'll just be hovering in the background tracking things," said Badlisham.
MDeC is caretaker of the MSC Malaysia initiative, which is aimed at turning the nation into a knowledge-based economy.