CM: Sarawak to develop `Songket Keringkam’ industry, hopes for Unesco recognition

Abang Johari in a photo with Khalid (fourth left), Mazuki (third left) and members of National Heritage Department and Persatuan Penggiat Seni & Kebudayaan Malaysia Kuching.

KUCHING, April 26: The people of Sarawak definitely welcome the nomination of `Songket Keringkam Sarawak’ to be recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) under the Representative List Convention 2003.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg highlighted this during an interview by the National Heritage Department in his office at Wisma Bapa Malaysia, here, on Monday (April 22).

The nomination was an initiative by the department and assisted by Persatuan Penggiat Seni & Kebudayaan Malaysia Kuching.

“The state government views Songket Keringkam as part of Sarawak’s heritage, which has generations and generations of history of the local community,” he said.

He stressed that the Songket and Keringkam had potentials to be internationally recognised because the cultural values featured in the Songket Keringkam had high impacts on the local community.

“For this purpose, the state government is committed to help the local community and the Sarawak Songket Keringkam industry to progress as well as introduced and promoted domestically and globally,” he added.

Through the committee that has been formed, Abang Johari said the state government was prepared to allocate funds to develop the Songket industry, apart from introducing motifs and designs on Songket with indigenous features.

“Songket Keringkam Sarawak also has different kinds of designs from that of other states in Malaysia,” he explained.

“As such, the Songket Keringkam industry will be developed by giving training and skills to local Songket Keringkam producers or makers and other passionate Sarawakians who are interested to explore this craft and industry.”

The collaboration between Centre of Technical Excellence (Centexs) and Old Kuching Smart Heritage (Okshe) together with University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) and Teachers Training Institute Tun Abdul Razak Campus will be responsible in preparing training for the community and producers to enhance Songket Keringkam Sarawak.

It is expanded through technical Songket weaving and Keringkam embroidery training in Centexs and other weaving centres.

Meanwhile, Persatuan Penggiat Seni & Kebudayaan Malaysia Kuching will continue to promote information and the uniqueness of Songket Keringkam in the international level.

The department’s director, Khalid Syed Ali, and the association’s president, Mazuki Tambi, were present. — DayakDaily