Key Note by YB Datul Seri Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili, Minister of Science, Technology And Innovation

By ANIMATION XPRES... | 21 December, 2009 - 16:41

I would like to congratulate the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) for putting together a conference of this nature and magnitude that would certainly elevate Malaysia's digital content industry.

The conference marks another milestone in Malaysia's digital content industry as we come together at this inaugural conference. I commend MDeC for this exciting initiative as MDeC, as an agency under MOSTI, has over the years supported the Government's effort to develop the ICT industry locally.

MDeC was mandated to lead the growth of the ICT industry in Malaysia and it has placed a strong focus on participating in relevant global and local creative industry development programmes.

This is in line with the objective of the Government and MOSTI, to catalyse the Malaysian creative multimedia industry so as to attain global recognition as well as to make it a sector that contributes to the growth of the economy. This is also in cognizance of the growing influence of entertainment content and digital media technology in the business of entertainment, media, lifestyle and education.

To date, the entertainment industry comprising animation, games and computer generated visual effects, is worth almost 1.5 trillion US dollars. Malaysia intends to be a significant player in this market because we believe that we can be a meaningful and substantive contributor via creating content for the world.

The Government believes Malaysians are capable of big things and are a creative lot, and given the right opportunities are able to create meaningful and impactful content. There is so much raw talent among Malaysians that is just waiting to be tapped.

But although we see the immense potential this industry has in store, there is also much room for development. I am confident that this conference will bring the Government and MOSTI's vision for the industry a little closer to reality.

The Government of Malaysia is committed to drive the development of Malaysia's digital content industry through strategic and tactical interventions in the areas of talent development, access to funding, and access to markets to ensure that our enterprises will be able to develop innovative and immersive content, both internally and in collaboration with global partners.

This commitment is underlined by the special attention given by our Honourable Prime Minister Dato' Seri Mohd. Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak in supporting this industry. In 2007, the Prime Minister was instrumental in supporting the creation of the MSC Malaysia Animation and Creative Content Centre, which is now in operation in Cyberjaya.

The Korean creative industry is a model that has rightly impressed the Prime Minister and he wants Malaysia to emulate the Koreans. Theirs is a model based on strong Government support, with a strategic focus based on building strong local companies that are able to create the most engaging Intellectual Property of not only world-class status but with multiple uses. The Koreans have been successful in building their outsourcing capabilities in games and animation through co-productions and that is the way Malaysia is going.

The Prime Minister's presence during the MSC Malaysia's delegation to MIPCOM 2009, which is a global content market held in Cannes, France annually, was undeniable proof that Malaysia is set to make the digital content industry a key component of its economic structure.

This commitment was further stressed at the recent National Information Technology Council Meeting for 2009, where the Prime Minister stated that the NITC is looking into the development of the creative content industry as a sector to be included in the new economic model.

The Government has embarked on a new path of accelerated development, based on a new economic model intended to propel Malaysia even further up the high-value chain through our focus on high-value added industries such as entertainment, media and education.

The new economic model would thus be one based on the infusion of innovation and creativity into Malaysian enterprises and most importantly, it would be dependent on a new breed of Malaysians who are creative and innovative. Thus, it is timely and more critical that Malaysia take on an even more active role in the global creative industries.

Given that initiatives must be put in place to accelerate the development of the creative industry in Malaysia, the Government has come up with several measures to enable the industry to thrive further. The Honourable Prime Minister announced the measures during the tabling of the proposed 2010 Budget, which are:-

    a. Formulating a comprehensive Creative Industry Policy for development of the industry. The policy will help define the economic framework that looks at both the regulatory and economic infrastructure that will help guide the development of the industry and ensure that necessary resources are put into place to support the development of the industry per-se. The formulation of the policy is underway where multiple ministries and agencies are gathering input from stakeholders and practitioners alike to ensure that the policy is comprehensive and relevant to the industry.

    b. Establishing a RM200 million Creative Industry Fund to finance activities including animation and local content development, which will be facilitated by the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture.

    c. Establishing Tabung Kebajikan Penggiat Seni to provide for the welfare of artistes. For this, a launching grant of RM3 million will be provided.

In line with the focus on the creative content industry as one of the new sources of economic growth, the Malaysian Government is including the development of the industry in the planning for the 10th Malaysia Plan. Inputs in the form of issues and proposed initiatives and policies are being gathered from various parties including public agencies and industry players.

On the part of MOSTI and MDeC, under the 10th Malaysia Plan, we are focussing on developing the capability and competency of our enterprises to further develop engaging and innovative content of global quality.

We are looking into expanding the reach of Malaysian themed or Malaysian made content into the world market through collaboration with local and international partners to ensure that the stories of Malaysia's culture and diversity are shared with the world based on world class story telling techniques and production methodologies.

This will entail serious investment in the development of human capital that operates within the digital content sector and at the same time, access to the right kind of project financing to enable our enterprises to effectively participate in world class projects to enhance our content creation capabilities.

MOSTI has also been managing the eContent fund, initiated during the 9th Malaysian Plan to facilitate the development and growth of Malaysian made digital content and Malaysian content creation companies. The fund, which totals at RM 106 million, is provided as incentives to fund projects which are innovative and social based, with high commercial value. This year alone (up till November 2009), MOSTI has approved eContent funds for 31 projects.

To date, the MSC Malaysia creative multimedia content industry comprises approximately 200 companies mainly involved in post-production, animation, game development, e-learning, mobile and interactive content. These companies have generated over 7,000 high-value added creative jobs with annual revenues of over USD 200 million.

Undoubtedly, the Malaysian creative content industry and ICT industry as a whole has grown from strength to strength, maturing to a sophisticated level where it is today. When the Government announced plans for our very own 'Silicon Valley', many people scoffed and predicted its failure. Today, Cyberjaya is a thriving little city which is home to many international MNCs of the ICT industry, with more planning to set up base there.

This further propels Malaysia's status as an international player to be reckoned with and many are now expecting exciting things to emerge.

However, despite these successes there is still much to be done and much to be learnt. This conference brings together local and international experts of the creative industry with our local talent. This is an avenue for networking with the coming together of the world's greatest creative minds, and I hope this opportunity will be optimally utilised to learn and share knowledge and know-how.

To the international speakers and mentors who are here for the conference and its subsequent mentorship programme, I wish you a warm welcome. I am confident that you will gain new insight into what Malaysians are capable of and see for yourself that our local talents have the standard and quality to break into the international arena.

To conclude, it is my hope that this inaugural conference will become a permanent feature that will once again put Malaysia on the world creative industry map.