Kuala Lumpur, May 30 : Malaysia's film fraternity should be able to outperform Bollywood because of its unique multiracial and cultural diversity, says the nation's Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
"Cultural diversity... the richness is all here in Malaysia. I believe that if the development of the arts in this country is well guided, it will prosper... perhaps this country's performing arts can even be better than India and its Bollywood," New Straits Times Online quoted him, as saying.
"If there is a will, there is a way. It all depends on whether you really want it," he added,
Abdullah said this at the first National Artistes Day held on May 29 to honour local artistes.
The day was chosen for the occasion as it is the anniversary of the death of Malaysian legend Tan Sri P. Ramlee.
"The government has made the decision that this celebration be held on May 29 each year. Its history begins at this meaningful ceremony here today," Abdullah said.
Abdullah said a community was identified by its culture and he hoped the people would not forget their culture and arts.
He said as Malaysia was progressing towards developed nation status, it should also promote culture and arts.
"In this context, the arts create a civilised and cultured society," he said before a gathering of 4,000 artistes.
He also said local artistes should be given greater recognition and encouragement for the sake of development of the arts.
"The government will continue to support, guide and encourage the industry to succeed," he said.