With the movement control order (MCO) in effect, the local showbiz scene has taken a hit, with all manners of filming and performances temporarily stalled.
"All of us are affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Artistes are no exception. Whether you're a singer, actor, TV or film production crew, all our activities have been postponed or cancelled," singer Tomok wrote in an Instagram post ahead of the prime minister's economic stimulus package announcement on March 27.
"With that in mind, I hope the government will not overlook artistes."
Other artistes like singer Black Hanifah and comedian Shuib also shared a similar view.
But netizens did not agree, with many lambasting them for living lavish lifestyles and failing to exercise financial prudence during the "good times".
They believe there are more needy individuals who should receive government aid.
"When you were able to do so many shows back then - where's all that money now?" a netizen commented.
"You've got a big house, a big car and other possessions like clothes and watches. Why don't you sell them?"
Shuib later clarified his views on Instagram: "What Black, Tomok and I were trying to do was, we were trying to use our voice to request for financial aid meant for those working behind the scenes such as directors, scriptwriters, make-up artists, wardrobe and props designers."
"I'm talking about aid for art practitioners who have no jobs at all. I'm talking about those who are really in need. I'm not talking about artistes who own businesses."
Shuib added: "I know some of you have also questioned the contributions the art community has made to the country in the past and why they warrant the government's help now.
"All these time, it has been the artistes who sing, who tell jokes, who entertain you with shows. It has been the directors and scriptwriters who come up with films and dramas for you to watch when you're bored. "
Black reiterated Shuib's point of view in an interview with mStar. He also lauded the new move to defer all loan repayments for a period of six months beginning April 1.
"That is also a form of aid our community has been hoping for. That will help those who don't have a steady income."
Meanwhile, actress and singer Zulin Aziz suggested another solution for art practitioners facing financial difficulties.
"Why don't we as artistes collect funds to help other artistes, whether those working in front or behind the camera, who have really lost all sources of income?" she offered in an Instagram post.
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