More historic buildings, longhouses will be preserved as they are important part of Swak’s unique identity, past

Karim touring the gallery displaying photos of places and people of Sibu.

SIBU, Sept 3: More colonial heritage buildings including longhouses in the State will be preserved because they embody Sarawak’s values, cultural identity, community’s heritage and character, and historic past.

Highlighting this, Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Art Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said a number of old heritage buildings throughout the State had been gazetted so as to preserve and protect them.

“In the span of the last two to three years, the Ministry has gazetted quite a number of old buildings with most of them being forts such as in Kapit and Kanowit.

“Apart from the forts, there are also old buildings such as the Post Office in Kuching and Old Kuching Courthouse. All those are gazetted as historical buildings,” he told reporters after launching the Sibu Heritage Photography Contest today.

Abdul Karim emphasised that the Ministry is committed to continue such work, especially to gazette old buildings in order to preserve and protect their identities as well as helping in the restoration or maintaining the buildings.

“I am not sure how many gazetted buildings there are in Sibu but if there are old buildings even if they are still occupied by people, families, and all that, if they want them to be gazetted, you can.

“That (gazetting the building) will help to preserve the identity of a certain place and also the building itself,” he said.

For renovation and repainting of old buildings, Abdul Karim explained that the Ministry will first have to seek clearance from the State Museum authority.

On longhouses, he said there have been a few longhouses being gazetted as heritage buildings and if mistaken, include the Melanau longhouse which is the oldest Melanau longhouse in Mukah.

“It is not something that we are not doing anything about. When it comes to helping heritage buildings, it also covers longhouses,” he added.

Ministry permanent secretary Hii Chang kee and The Photographic Society of Sibu president Peter Lee Pui Wen were also present. — DayakDaily