Musicians in East Malaysia claim to be neglected by Collective Management of Copyright Malaysia

File photo of members of the Warisan Sape Telang Usan at last year’s Rainforest World Music Festival.

KUCHING, June 16: The welfare of Sabah and Sarawak’s music composers has been neglected by the current Collective Management of Copyright (CMO) in Malaysia, claims some of those who are in the music industry.

Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi disclosed that back in December last year, a Sabah-born prolific music composer Asmin who had composed more than 200 of the country’s popular hits under his belt including Man Bai’s Kau Ilhamku, Jaclyn Victor’s Gemilang and Fauziah Latiff’s Enggan among others, expressed their disappointment over the current state of royalty distribution in the music industry.

This had prompted Music Rights Sabah Berhad (MRS) dan Music Rights Sarawak Berhad (MRSB) to file a petition, to call for the formation of Sabah and Sarawak’s CMO.

“The nature and music environment in Sabah and Sarawak are distinctive, with thousands of local ethnic songs were composed by native music makers, making it necessary for both states to appoint their own CMOs.

“The move would help protect music composers in both States, besides exploiting optimum rewards possible for music composers from Sabah and Sarawak.

“We have heard grouses from the people involved in the collective bodies before where some people were not able to get their fair share of royalties, leaving everyone in a limbo.

“Therefore, I truly support the setting up of new CMOs dedicated to Sabah and Sarawak respectively to increase efficiency and achieve the intended objectives (better management of royalty collection and distribution),” Nanta said in a statement today.

Having attended a live webinar session titled “Khazanah Muzik Sabah Sarawak. Pulangkan Ke Pangkuan Kami” held in Kuala Lumpur yesterday (June 15), he added that although the setting up of Sabah and Sarawak’s own CMO should not be an issue, however it would need to be thoroughly looked into to avoid any issues that may arise in the future.

Through the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO), an agency under MDTCA which is the nation’s custodian of intellectual property rights, Nanta assured that the Ministry will take a holistic approach to improve transparency and fairness in the royalty collection by the collective management organisations in the creative industry.

These CMOs can only be declared as a collecting body by MyIPO pursuant to the provisions of the Copyright Act 1987.

“By prioritising transparency, accountability and good governance as the core of our policies, we can monitor how royalties and equitable remunerations are managed by incorporating a sustainable revenue stream for the music creators.

“This matter will be raised by my Ministry’s post-Cabinet meeting soon and I hope we can achieve a concrete development by end of this year,” he gave assurance.

Organised by Wisdom Foundation Malaysia, the webinar session was participated by more than 100 music industry players.

The two-hour session also include other panelists such as Sabah Music Composers & Video Makers Association (SCORE) chairman Asmin Mudin, MyLPO chairman Datuk Mohamad Alamin, Armada Anak Seni Sarawak (ARAS) chairman Gibson Rentap, Music Right Sarawak Berhad (MRSB) managing director Juliet Tan Soh Phing and intellectual property lawyer Roger Chin.— DayakDaily