Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, the Minister of Information, Communications and Culture recently launched the Artistic Scholarship and Excellence Research Centre of Aswara (Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan). He also commended the post-graduate programme introduced by Aswara, saying that this could churn out more arts activists among Malaysians which will in turn further develop the creative industry of the country.
Rais said that the programme would provide post-graduate courses in arts and cultures that will enable students to study the arts at the Masters and PhD levels and it would be an ideal way forward for people with a degree and artistic ideas. He also said that financial aid is available for students wanting to continue their studies through Aswara where they can obtain RM10,000 and RM20,000 for Masters and PhD degrees respectively.
He added that there must be ample research carried out in arts and culture so that activists and practitioners of this sector could be more recognized and respected. He also launched the P Ramlee Chair, which was recently approved by the government with an RM3.5 million allocation and will be used to help young Malaysian artistes gain recognition and momentum in the highly competitive market. The reason why P Ramlee was honoured was because he is a legend and icon in Malaysian arts and one who fought for Malaysian culture to be recognized where he left behind a legacy of a wide body of the arts which would be impossible for the newer generations to emulate.