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Arts and culture should not be left out from development, Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik (Back 6th from right) said. Pic by NSTP/DANIAL SAAD

Pix: Danial Saad

GEORGETOWN: Arts and culture should not be left out from development, Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said.

Despite not being given priority in the 2019 Budget, he said both sectors also need due attention and allocation to ensure continued growth not just within the creative industry but also to promote it to a wider audience.

He said arts and culture, being part of the creative economy, have the potential to generate income and create job opportunities for the country due to its varied activities.

"This is to encourage the development of more talented people, while at the same time enhancing arts and culture related activities to promote the country.

"However, we hope that more attention will be given to these sectors in the next 2020 Budget," he said after launching an art exhibition at Penang Art District today.

Although no announcement was made on the two sectors, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng did provide some goodies for the tourism sector which included turning Pulau Pangkor into a duty free zone, and some allocation for duty free facilities to encourage cruise tourism in Penang.

In welcoming these, Bakhtiar said both areas also need infrastructure improvement to cater to the increasing tourism activities and numbers.

"It will be great if the airstrip in Pulau Pangkor can be upgraded to cater to this and at the same time attract more people to the island.

"As for Port Swettenham, such move as announced by the minister will open new opportunities for Penangites. While for Langkawi, we plan to increase more flights to the island in line of this.

As for the proposed levy on all passengers who travel overseas via air routes, he said the move was timely and will encourage domestic travel.

In another development, Bakhtiar said the application to include Royal Belum National Park as part of the heritage list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), was still being studied.

"It is currently at the information gathering stage and Unesco will decide if the rainforest makes the cut."

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