Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

KUCHING: Youths in Sarawak who want to go higher in the fields of arts and music can now apply for financial assistance from the Sarawak Youth Venture Fund.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the Sarawak government had allocated RM5 million for the purpose.

The fund is meant for youths aged 15 to 40 years, be they individuals, teams or associations specialising in any discipline of arts and culture.

“It is not for doing business. It is purely meant for arts, culture and innovation, to help youths who have the talents in arts and culture, especially music and theatre to improve themselves.

“This is one of our efforts to create Kuching City with the soul.

“That is why we have a centre for performing arts. We want to build a theatre and performing arts in Sarawak to create an affluent community who can appreciate arts and theatre,” he told reporters after chairing the Sarawak Youth Development Committee meeting here yesterday.

He added that the proposed formation of Sarawak Youth Venture Fund was mooted and announced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg after he saw a performance by a young local pianist at the TedX seminar at the old DUN in November last year.

He said he had told the chief minister about several categories of people with talents, but did not know how to assist them.

He noted it was easy because the Sarawak government had an entrepreneur unit, from where they could seek fund.

“But, those with interest in music, arts and culture, do not have a place to go if they want to go higher in their field of interest.

“After we have conducted the lab and discussed the categories of people eligible for assistance, I am proud to announce today the opening of the fund to the public,” he said.

Those interested in getting the fund, which may start from as low as RM5,000 are encouraged to fill the forms that are available at his ministry.

The application will be processed by a two-level committee in the ministry – the Special Committee, and the Technical Committee of Sarawak Youth Venture Fund.