Sunday 12 June 2011

Artiste Day: 'Rais blew half year's budget in 1 day'

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has slammed minister Rais Yatim for splurging RM100 million, or half the annual budget for creative projects, on a poorly attended one-day arts event that local artists reportedly dubbed an "instant noodle project".

rais yatim pc 020709 01Lim said a fraction of that amount, or RM2 million, would have gone a long way in funding the internationally-rated month-long George Town Heritage Festival in Penang.

“Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim (right) must explain the rationale of wasting RM100 million for the 2011 Artistes Day on May 29 that received a lukewarm response from art activists.

“DAP is shocked by a Bernama report that RM100 million was allocated for the event that was criticised by art activists,” said Lim in a statement today.

According to Bernama, Najib had in his 2011 budget speech allocated RM200 million for “purchase of creative products, such as high-quality locally-produced films, dramas and documentaries”.

NONELim (left) asked if the Bernama report was accurate in citing the massive amount spent on the allegedly mediocre event.

“DAP suspects that the Bernama report is false and Rais should explain the actual amount spent.

“It is difficult to believe that the government can be so reckless as to allocate RM100 million for the 2011 Artistes Day event when 27 million ordinary Malaysians are hurting from rising prices caused by BN's subsidy cuts,” said Lim.

'Hey big spender...'

“If Rais Yatim is sincere about promoting arts, then he need only allocate RM2 million not for a one-day event like Artistes Day but a month-long event in the George Town Heritage Fest beginning in July by international and local artists,” the DAP secretary-general and Bagan MP continued.

penang world heritage town 140708 01After all, he said, the event was significant internationally and was held to commemorate the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site status that was granted on July 7, 2008.

Artiste Day was initiated in 2005 and set on May 25 in memory of local film legend P Ramlee.

Arts activists reportedly snubbed the event as an "instant noodle project".

A perplexed Rais was reported in Star on Jun 1 scratching his head why the country's “artistes” had not shown support for the event saying they had to step up to “steer” the arts industry.

Star reported the minister advising artists to use up “the remainder of the Creative Industry Funds provided under the 2011 Budget by the end of this year”.

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