KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said Sarawak’s unique cultures and arts should be preserved at all times even though it is now the era of information technology (IT).

He said cultures and arts must be preserved and promoted through IT to the world.

“Through IT, we can showcase our villages to attract people to our culture and that is why the state government is taking these initiatives to develop the Malay villages, where we will develop the infrastructure but still maintain our culture,” he said when launching the Malay Heritage Festival 2018 at Satok Sports Complex on Sunday night.

Part of the development of the Malay villages, he added, covers the area behind Kampung Masjid and Bintangor where a waterfront and a bridge are constructed to become part of the Kuching Waterfront.

“We have our existing old mosque, and soon to be a floating mosque that takes over from the Indian Mosque. We are thankful because the Indian Mosque has produced many religious teachers from among us.

“With the new waterfront, we blend it with the lives of the Malay community in the villages, and that is the reason why we must have the Malay Heritage Festival that has beautiful culture right from the beginning and at the same time maintain our culture because we want visitors to see our lifestyle,” he said.

He added that the state government took this approach to highlight strategic areas as places of interest for tourists.

“Sarawak River can give us good impact especially the musical fountain, and after that we will develop Brooke Dockyard which will be turned into a maritime museum, because Brooke Dockyard is the only engineering institution in Sarawak.

“We also want to have a tourist bus that goes around Kuching City including going to the Malay Heritage area, and the bus is free for tourists and also for the village community who live in this area,” he said.

Two Malay ladies doing Kain Keringkam embroidery.

On promoting another value-added product from Sarawak, Abang Johari said the traditional handicrafts of Malays such as ‘Keringkam’, which is a traditional embroidery work, can be promoted as products from Sarawak like the ‘Pua Kumbu’.

“We sustain and showcase our culture including the ‘Kain Keringkam’, which we can actually market as souvenir. The Malays who live in the city must develop the uniqueness that we have because we are very rich in culture.

“Let us showcase our beautiful cultures, and we hope that Sarawak which is known for its rich and colourful cultures of the Malays, Ibans, Orang Ulu, Chinese, Bidayuh and other ethnic groups can blend these beautiful cultures of the Land of the Hornbills to be our state’s attractions,” he said.

The two-day Malay Heritage Festival 2018 which kicked-off on Oct 27 was held at the Satok Sports Complex.

More than 15 heritage-based activities were held during the festival. Among the highlights was the Malay Heritage and Culture Exhibition, showcasing the history of the villages, selected artefacts from the museum as well as collections of old photos of yesteryears.

Malay Heritage Festival 2018 is one of the Kampung Heritage activities under the Old Kuching Heritage component and it is the first event of its kind in Sarawak and has been planned to be an annual event.

Among those present at the launching of the Malay Heritage Festival 2018 were science advisor to the Sarawak government Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang; Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah; State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi Abdul Ghani; Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali; Deputy State Secretary Datu Sabariah Putit and the general manager of Amanah Khairat Yayasan Budaya Melayu Sarawak (AKYBMS) Datu Dr Sanib Said.

[Source: “Sarawak’s unique cultures, arts must be preserved – Abg Johari” published by Borneo Post]

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