Yayasan Sime Darby hosts its first ever Arts Festival


The Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival, launched by Yayasan Sime Darby chairman YABhg Tun Musa Hitam. Flanking him in the picture are Sime Darby Chairman YBhg. Dato’ Abdul Ghani Othman (second from left), Yayasan Sime Darby Governing Council Member YBhg. Datuk Adeline Leong (second from right).The dignitaries were joined by Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival Producer Ian Chow (far right) and Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival Director Callen Tham (far left).

KUALA LUMPUR, 29 MAY 2014 – Lovers of the arts and heritage will be in for a royal treat from now until September with the launching of the inaugural Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival.

The Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival, taglined “A Malaysian Community Project” is produced in collaboration with The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) and will feature Malaysia’s varied traditional and contemporary arts. Specially tailored pre-festival activities for all age groups will also be held in the run-up to the two-day finale taking place on the 13thand 14th of September.

Yayasan Sime Darby chairman YABhg Tun Musa Hitam said the celebrations, featuring the rich and traditional heritage from all over Malaysia will be the first ever arts festival organised by the foundation.

Speaking after the launching of the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival at klpac, Tun Musa said: “The Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival is going to provide the public with the rare opportunity to immerse themselves in the very best of our traditional and contemporary arts, and cultural heritage from around the country.”

“We want this event to be a catalyst to set the bar high for the arts scene in Malaysia. Though we are rich in our diversity, tradition, arts and heritage, not much attention is paid to promote this segment. We hope that through the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival, we can invoke the interest and support of the masses and give recognition to those who put their hearts and souls into the arts,” Tun Musa added.

The launching ceremony at klpac, which will also be the venue for most of the events including the two-day finale. The event was also graced by Sime Darby Chairman YBhg. Dato’ Abdul Ghani Othman.

From now until September, the public will be encouraged to participate and be players, protagonists and partners instead of being mere passive spectators.

“We want this festival to be significant and reflect the undying perseverance and talents of our fellow Malaysians to conserve our rich history and heritage while developing new modes of expressions for the current times and generation,” said Tun Musa.

A roll out of several community projects drawing on the talents of everyday Malaysians is also on the card. This will include a painting competition for schoolchildren in and around the Sime Darby Plantation estates, a photography competition for university students, and a drum painting and mask making project. The drum painting project will culminate with a drums parade which will be held during the last two days of the festival in September. Other activities include a series of theatre workshops for trainee teachers and a dance project for senior citizens that will revolve around YSD’s five pillars of support; Education, Environment, Community & Health, Youth & Sports and Arts & Culture.

Meanwhile, the last two days of the festival will feature an exciting array of performances, workshops and activities across all genres featuring hundreds of artistes. One of the key highlights will be a traditional showcase specially curated by PUSAKA, the cultural centre for Malaysia. This showcase will bring together the best of what Malaysia has to offer on the traditional front from each state and render a rare opportunity to watch authentic and captivating performances such as the Kuda Kepang from Johor, Boria from Penang, Wayang Kulit from Kelantan and the Sumazau dance from Sabah, to name a few.

Dato’ Faridah Merican, klpac’s Executive Producer, said: “It is an unprecedented move for a corporate foundation like YSD to initiate and fully fund an event of this kind and scale. Nowhere else will you be able to experience the breadth and depth of the arts and this is what excites us. The engagements from now until September holds much promise and the best part of it all, is that it is 100% accessible to everyone, with no admission fee.”

Callen Tham, the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival Director, added, “Imagine, you can watch a rock band on the main stage, head over to the experimental stage to catch an avant-garde dance piece, then stroll out to catch a 100% authentic traditional performance on the Kampung House not before taking in some other cool installations and acts along the way. And all of this will be totally free of charge, thanks to YSD.”

This festival is an illustration of YSD’s commitment towards developing the arts scene in Malaysia. The festival will be in sync with the foundation’s objective to invigorate the vibrancy of Malaysia’s multi-cultural society that encourages traditional heritage preservation. YSD believes that arts is all about crossing boundaries and building cultural social connections, and the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival is expected to be a true testament of this belief.

Arts and culture, one of the pillars of Yayasan Sime Darby’s philanthropy, has seen support for a wide variety of arts organisations and initiatives, including klpac and the National Dance Tour by the ASWARA Dance Company. Other sponsorships include productions like the 11th JB Arts Festival, the 8th Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival, Supermokh The Musical and Tropfest South East Asia 2015. YSD encourages the preservation of historical heritage through its support for the revival of The Royal Press, one of the oldest letterpress printing companies in the world which will soon be turned into the nation’s first of its kind living museum.

For more information on the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival, please visit or

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Last Updated:
04 Dec 2018
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