Abd Karim: Sarawak Cultural Heritage Ordinance 1993 to be amended next year

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, Oct 26: With the completion of the new state-of-the-art Sarawak Museum Campus nearing, it is high time for the state government to amend the Sarawak Cultural Heritage Ordinance 1993.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said he would announce the amendment to the ordinance during the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting in May 2019 to ensure that the ordinance would be able to cope with the needs of the Sarawak Museum Department.

“With this new structure, we are moving forward, so the Sarawak Museum Department management needs restructuring also. That is why it will be more progressive in outlook, I would say,” he told reporters during a site visit to the Sarawak Museum Campus here today.

Abdul Karim speaking to reporters during a site visit to the Sarawak Museum Campus in Kuching this morning. With him are (from left) Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Hii Chang Kee, Ipoi and Van de Bunte.
Abdul Karim (centre) and Van de Bunte (white shirt) about to embark on a site visit walkabout at the Sarawak Museum Campus site.

Abdul Karim said since the state government was embarking on something new for its museum and to showcase it to the world, the state government needed a proper law and ordinance to guide and oversee it all.

On the proposed Sarawak Museum Campus, he said the physical building, including the annexe and the campus buildings, was 92 per cent complete.

Citing the briefing by the main contractor, PPES Works Sdn Bhd, he said the physical completion of the new buildings would be by the end of March next year.

However, he explained that it would need at least another year before the new museum would be officially open to the public, complete with access to all its facilities.

The main building of the Sarawak Museum Campus.
The annexe building of the Sarawak Museum Campus.

“It would take a long time to put in the contents (museum artefacts and exhibits) because research and write-ups need to be done to them before they can be displayed,” Abdul Karim explained.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Museum Campus Project and Heritage Trail senior project leader Hans Van de Bunte said the museum campus would be very interactive, where not only its displays and exhibits but there would also be some hands-on activities for visitors.

“Level 2 will be fully interactive, where people can learn to weave. So there will be workshops and hands-on together with the children’s gallery, which is especially for schools and families to go. Level 3, 4 and 5 will be permanent exhibitions of the history of Sarawak and so on.

“So, 30 per cent will be interactive and the rest learning by seeing and traditional exhibitions,” he said.

Van de Bunte said the state-of-the-art museum campus would be very high tech, where the basement would not just be used as storage for artefacts and collections but would also have labs for researchers to not only study and do research on artefacts but also facilities to preserve, fumigate and clean artefacts.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Museum director Ipoi Datan said 106 new staff would be hired and groomed as part of the workforce for the new Sarawak Museum Campus. — DayakDaily