PERFORMING ARTS: Move to disband group augurs ill for Petronas
I CAN'T comprehend the explanation by Petronas media relations department (NST, April 23) about the impending disbandment of the oil company's Performing Arts Group.
It's wonderful that the media department has reaffirmed Petronas' commitment to support the arts. But, the department's elaboration of this "commitment" was totally unconvincing.
It says Petronas is now "moving to the next level" in the preservation of traditional arts, and is seeking a "more comprehensive approach", but what is strange is that these entail the disbanding of the Petronas Performing Arts Group (PPAG).
One would think a "more comprehensive" approach would mean keeping what already exists and extending the efforts on other fronts.
The media department's mention of research and "other means" would constitute the other fronts. But, even the most powerful research and other efforts would yield nothing unless that particular art is brought to life, hence all the more the relevance of the PPAG.
This reaffirmation of the Petronas commitment, should in fact demand PPAG spread its performances nation-wide and not just be associated with Petronas' functions in Kuala Lumpur.
I am bewildered that the decision has been made to disband the PPAG while, as the media department has intimated, Petronas is "in the midst of identifying various options and platforms to continue supporting the preservation, nurturing and promotion of the country's traditional arts and culture".
And, that "Petronas will make an announcement once details are finalised". Does that mean public opinion does not matter at all?
While Petronas as a corporation is a modern and successful global player (and Malaysians are proud of it), I think Petronas should not start positioning itself as an elitist corporation in the country, disdaining the voice of the public.