PUTRAJAYA - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak recognised arts activists as 'role models' who are influential in spurring the direction of the nation and the shaping of the National Transformation 2050 (TN50).
He said the influence of arts activists could not only shape the national direction in the creative and entertainment industry but also in shaping the face of the nation and an excellent society.
"Arts activists are outstanding role model and par excellence. They shape the generations and lift the national dignity and are the aspirations of the nation," he said at a National Transformation 2050 (TN50) dialogue session with the Prime Minister at Seri Perdana here tonight.
Actor, producer Datuk Rosyam Noor was the moderator of the dialogue session. Also present were the wife of the Prime Minister, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak.
In recognition of arts activists, Najib invited them to the Seri Perdana banquet Hall, which is the venue at the Prime Minister's official residence, where he hosted influential world leaders such as the Saudi Arabian king, King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud, China's president Xi Jinping and former United States president Barack Obama.
Najib said arts activists is an important group which must not be marginalised.
"We must place them in the national premier flow," he said.
Najib regarded the arts activist group as an important component of society who could communicate with the people in whatever performances.
Najib said arts activists were important in deciding the future of the nation and ensuring Malaysia was not disparaged.
"We must ensure Malaysia will become a first rate nation one day, " he said.
Najib said Malaysian arts activists could play a role in branding Malaysia in the arts industry at the international level.
Citing the South Korean entertainment industry which had successfully branded the nation, Najib said he also wanted Malaysia´s name to become famous at the international stage via the nation´s arts figures.
"Such as K-pop which branded South Korea into securing a place at the international level, we also want to brand Malaysia at the international level, " he said.
About 300 arts activists attended the dialogue session and among the proposal suggested directly to the Prime Minister was on taxation, veteran artistes´ welfare, artists´ welfare fund and ways to boost the income of arts activists.
In his summary at the end of the session, Najib expressed his satisfaction at the meeting which he regarded as the biggest dialogue with arts activists to date, although the suggestions submitted were more focused on welfare.
However, he said all the proposals should be thought of together with all parties involved to ensure the welfare of all arts activists were looked after.
"We must discuss how we can boost the welfare of arts activists. Secondly, we must be able to look after and ensure their future, " he said.
He added, groups who were truly talented needed to be worked on until they reached the international level, citing several national artistes who made it to the international level such as Shila Amzah, Datuk Shake and Harith Iskandar.
He said an integrated platform must be set up to raise hidden talents to be show-cased to the international level.
Najib said Malaysian arts must be defined and explained how it could be made use of to foster the spirit of unity and harmony among the multi-racial populace in the country.
"We know, when we mention Korean arts, African arts, we know, we also know Bollywood arts. We want to define what is Malaysian arts..this we need to discuss together, " he said.
Najib said the dialogue was to get inputs from every segment of society including arts activists and would be summarised and the introduction of the products and policies of TN50, or some of the suggestions be entered into the 2016 Budget.